Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

Mop, The

Title: The MOP
Author: David M. Salkin
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1608363856

Washington, D.C., is a world of acronyms. FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, the list goes on. Unlike the rest, the MOP doesn’t stand for anything. It is simply the name given to the small, top-secret team of American agents within the government that answers to only one man, the Director of the CIA. The Director of the CIA, risking perjury and personal liability, will deny, to his death, the existence of such an organization. Every president of the United States since Reagan knew that there was “something” out there, to be used at the discretion of the Director of the CIA, but none ever asked. There are some things that even the president of the United States of America doesn’t want to know. And so long as you like to sleep safely in your bed at night, you don’t want to know either. When it gets messy, you better get out the mop.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Salkin, David M.

Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa: With E. D. Swinton's "The Defence of Duffer's Drift" , The

Title: The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa: With E. D. Swinton's "The Defence of Duffer's Drift"
Author: Michael L. Burgoyne and Albert J. Marckwardt
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0226080935

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the U.S. military found itself in a battle with a lethal and adaptive insurgency, where the divisions between enemy and ally were ambiguous at best, and working with the local population was essential for day-to-day survival. From the lessons they learned during multiple tours of duty in Iraq, two American veterans have penned The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa, an instructional parable of counterinsurgency that addresses the myriad of difficulties associated with war in the postmodern era.

In this tactical primer based on the military classic The Defence of Duffer's Drift, a young officer deployed for the first time in Iraq receives ground-level lessons about urban combat, communications technology, and high-powered weaponry in an environment where policy meets reality. Over the course of six dreams, the inexperienced soldier fights the same battle again and again, learning each time--the hard way--which false assumptions and misconceptions he needs to discard in order to help his men avoid being killed or captured. As the protagonist struggles with his missions and grapples with the consequences of his mistakes, he develops a keen understanding of counterinsurgency fundamentals and the potential pitfalls of working with the native population.

Accompanied here by the original novella that inspired it, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa offers an invaluable resource for cadets and junior military leaders seeking to master counterinsurgency warfare--as well as general readers seeking a deeper understanding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just as its predecessor has been a hallmark of military instruction, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa will draw the road map for counterinsurgency in the postmodern world.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Burgoyne, Michael L.
Marckwardt, Albert J.

Righteous Rescue: Heroism that Healed a Hurting Nation

Title: Righteous Rescue: Heroism that Healed a Hurting Nation
Author: John L. Rothdiener
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Don Arndt

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1449703852

The year is 2010 and deep in the jungle of Vietnam are six POWs left over from the Vietnam War. They resemble the walking dead, each awaiting his final demise. They no longer had the strength to attempt an escape. After forty years is there still hope in a rescue? Has the American people and the government forgotten them? What plan does the Vietnamese Guard have for these six men? Why has General Yo kept them alive for so long and why were they never released? What has happened to their loved ones at home and do they still wait for them or has all hope of their return died out? And what about their faith in God. Had their unanswered prayers meant that even God has abandoned them?

Righteous Rescue is a gripping account of sacrifice and patriotism, responsibility and conviction. Rothdiener skillfully captures the memories of an unpopular war, and the hope of bringing together a nation after forty years.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Rothdiener, John

Pilots and Normal People: Short stories from a different attitude

Title: Pilots and Normal People: Short stories from a different attitude
Author: Walt Shiel
Genre: Fiction, Collection
Reviewer: Mary Sullivan

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 097465535X

Is it really possible to forget a prejudice ingrained during war? Does death really close the door to life? Can a grounded pilot find another way to return to the sky? Are physical laws the same throughout the universe? Is aviation mostly intellect or mostly emotion? Are criminals just as smart as the law-abiding? Can one man fight back against society's increasing crudeness? Do space explorers really need a spaceship? These and many other intriguing questions are explored in this eclectic collection of short fiction by Walt Shiel, which includes the award-winning "Remember."

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shiel, Walt

The Mailman Went UA: A Vietnam Memoir

Title: The Mailman Went UA: A Vietnam Memoir
Author: David W. Mulldune
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0557025516

Memoir by a Marine who served in Vietnam with the 27th and 7th Marines from May 1968 through June 1969. His book is not so much about the Vietnam War but about the experiences, horror, and tragedy of war, based on his experience, so that others will see the futility of it, unless there is absolutely no other way. He hopes that what he has written will be the next best thing to actually being there, and that it will give a taste of what it is like to go through it, and his hope that it will change the way people look at war as a viable solution. He wants people to see it from the less privileged viewpoint and get a taste of real war. The title, The Mailman Went UA, came from their little song and dance routine that they performed when they didn't receive any mail. Strong language, racial and sexual references. 18 photos, glossary.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Mulldune, David W.