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.

Coyote Jack: Drawing Meaning from Life and Vietnam--A Memoir

Title: Coyote Jack: Drawing Meaning from Life and Vietnam--A Memoir
Author: Jack Lyndon Thomas
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Charles E. Gibbs

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0965984311

Coyote Jack overlays a fascinating exposition of life and death in the most enigmatic of American conflicts with an individual's struggle to free himself from the enemy that stands ready to thwart a full and authentic life. Through Jack, we live in sandbag bunkers, bathe out of wells, and dodge booby traps, as he learns the privations and landmines of his personal life are as complex as the clashing cultures and divisive politics that created, and ended the war in Vietnam.

Thomas was an Infantry Lieutenant who lived and fought with South Vietnamese Regional and Popular Forces.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Thomas, Jack Lyndon

Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline in Iraq

Title: Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline in Iraq
Author: Shannon Meehan and Roger Thompson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Dave Brown

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0745635865

Under the blazing Iraqi sun in the summer of 2007, Shannon Meehan, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, ordered a strike that would take the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians. He thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he was protecting his men. He thought that he would only kill the enemy, but in the ruins of the strike, he discovers his mistake and uncovers a tragedy.

For most of his deployment in Iraq, Lt. Meehan felt that he had been made for a life in the military. A tank commander, he worked in the violent Diyala Province, successfully fighting the insurgency by various Sunni and Shia factions. He was celebrated by his senior officers and decorated with medals. But when the U.S. surge to retake Iraq in 2006 and 2007 finally pushed into Baqubah, a town virtually entirely controlled by al Qaida, Meehan would make the decision that would change his life.

This is the true story of one soldier's attempt to reconcile what he has done with what he felt he had to do. Stark and devastating, it recounts first-hand the reality of a new type of warfare that remains largely unspoken and forgotten on the frontlines of Iraq.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Meehan, Shannon
Thompson, Roger

Second Chance at Life, A

Title: A Second Chance at Life
Author: Brian Huynh Travis
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Kathleen Rodgers

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1450076351

An exciting, memorable, historical memoir awaits everyone as author Brian Huynh Travis releases, through Xlibris, A Second Chance At Life. Readers will dip into the author's life as this book takes them to his amazing journey. A Second Chance at Life is a remarkable historical memoir that represents the life and adventures of the author. In this inspiring account, the author tells about his life--from childhood, to his treacherous boat journey as he and his two older siblings escaped from Vietnam, to beginning a new life in America, and becoming successful. He relates his family, struggles, adventures and misadventures, his different careers, his various experiences at war, public service, and so much more. This is an absolute revelation of how his life travels from one simple step towards achieving a new, healthy, and prosperous life. Through A Second Chance at Life, readers will find inspiration and hope as they travel through life.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Travis, Brian Huynh

No Time for Ribbons

Title: No Time for Ribbons
Author: Craig Trebilcock
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 059549286X/

War-weary Army Sergeant Gus Warden mistakenly kills an Iraqi civilian on his final mission. Returning home to Texas, guilt-ridden and unable to turn off the war, Warden struggles to rejoin a society where he no longer fits. When his manipulative brigade commander uses the shooting to nominate Warden for the Silver Star, Warden is trapped between becoming a fraudulent war hero and betraying the wartime buddies who covered for his mistake.

This thought-provoking novel is built upon the post-war experiences of US Army troops who served in the Iraq War. This is the second installment in the One Weekend A Month Trilogy.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Trebilcock, Craig

Terrorism's Shifting Winds

Title: Terrorism's Shifting Winds
Author: Maurice H. Unger
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 160813413X

Islamic terrorists are running hand-in-hand with powerful drug trafficking cartels in the western hemisphere to launch new attacks against the United States. Terrorism’s Shifting Winds is an action/suspense thriller that takes this collaboration between Mid-East terrorists and drug traffickers and weaves a story of intrigue that entails not only drug trafficking but the smuggling of a weapon of mass destruction into the United States. Jackie Randolph, an impetuous but resourceful ex-special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, is rehired for an undercover role. Toss in the antics of some fearsome, erstwhile Tennessee moonshiners, Mexican drug traffickers and some not so innocent white-collar vacationers at a wilderness retreat, and you have a robust tale about heroes and villains.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Unger, Maurice H.