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.

Dead Men Can Kill

Title: Dead Men Can Kill
Author: Bob Doerr
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Reviewer: Mary Sullivan

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1590957598

When Jim West, a former Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, moves back to New Mexico, his goal is simple: start an easy going second career as a professional lecturer on investigative techniques to colleges and civic organizations. He never envisioned that his practical demonstration of forensic hypnosis on stage with a state university student would stir up memories of an 18 year old murder mystery. When the student is murdered three days later, West finds himself ensnared in a web of intrigue that pits him and the small town's authorities against a ruthless, psychotic killer.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Doerr, Bob

My Air Force Mom

Title: My Air Force Mom
Author: Mary Lee
Genre: Children, Under 12
Reviewer: Richard Barone

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1602473412

A winner in the Children's Fiction Category of the 73rd Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition, My Air Force Mom is unique. This picture book explores customs and courtesies of military culture through a child's eyes. Author Mary Lee takes your child along with her fictional character Susie on a journey of discovery. From military uniforms through a military child's 'rite of passage' full circle to Susie's development of a sense of pride and patriotism in our country. My Air Force Mom shows children that the military offers careers to women as well as men. It gives military moms and dads a book to help their young children begin to understand military life. My Air Force Mom gives civilian parents a tool to explain mysteries of military life to their children. Answers to a child's curiosity are found in My Air Force Mom."

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Lee, Mary

Get Out of the Way

Title: Get Out of the Way
Author: Daniel Dinges
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Joyce Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 161566274X

As Tom Daniels waits to be seen at the nearest VA hospital in 2006, he flashes back to his two years of service during the Vietnam years.

Although he does not support the War in 1968, a "Newsweek" article convinces him that his chances for staying out of combat are good, so he volunteers to be drafted. Just after his first year anniversary in the Army, Tom is ordered to Vietnam, but his Colonel gets his transfer cancelled to keep Tom working as a programmer on base. Tom's best friend deploys instead.
Five months later, after Tom is married, he has a nightmare in which his buddy is wounded in combat. Tom realizes how guilty he feels about his friend shipping out.

Suddenly the reverie is over and it's 2006 again. Tom sees a lone veteran in a wheelchair next to the far wall in the waiting room of the VA Hospital. The vet looks a lot like his long lost buddy.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Dinges, Daniel

Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos

Title: Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos
Author: Thomas Leo Briggs
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0984105948

Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos is a detailed accounting of a CIA program directed by a CIA operations officer that sent small teams of irregulars behind enemy lines in Laos to find, fix and destroy North Vietnamese Army units, capture NVA soldiers or encourage them to defect, intercept NVA radio communications, and recruit NVA soldiers to spy and report on their comrades.

It is a unique contribution to the history of the Vietnam War describing valuable experiences using surrogates to conduct intelligence and combat operations that have little or no adverse impact on the United States government's relations with the peoples and governments of other nations. An important lesson in the post 9/11 world of countering terrorism all over the globe where we do not have enough American troops to get the job done without political consequences.

The book also describes the daring and dangerous rescue of Raven 42, a U.S. Air Force forward air controller shot down while supporting Lao irregular surrogate forces fighting NVA main force units in Laos, attempts to infiltrate Cambodia to collect intelligence on the North Vietnamese in early 1970, the effort to uncover information about a missing Air America crewman captured in 1963, the tragic fatal crash of an aircraft carrying four of the author's best Thai operational assistants, and the uncovering of a mole hidden in a Royal Lao government military headquarters.

Here are intimate details that have never before appeared in print, recounting the planning and execution of a variety of special operations, conceived and carried out behind enemy lines by the CIA using only Lao irregular surrogates.

The CIA employed surrogates in southern Laos to force the North Vietnamese Army to keep combat units there to defend their logistical supply line rather than send them to fight U.S. and allied forces in South Vietnam. For the duration of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War the CIA succeeded in that goal.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Briggs, Thomas Leo

Shuttle Rising; Rendezvous with a Rumor

Title: Shuttle Rising; Rendezvous with a Rumor
Author: Charles Boyle
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Sci Fi
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0965721450

In a stealthy space rendezvous, astronaut Adam MacGregor captures a mysterious derelict rumored to be a tomb. His mission hopes to refute the claim that no cosmonaut ever died in orbit, thus emphasizing that Communists lie, routinely, even about their heroes. At stake are wavering votes for "Open Lands," a UN treaty to inspect for weapons of mass destruction. Russia, returned to Communism, denounces the plan, saying: "Our integrity makes inspection unnecessary."

Moscow detects Adam's mission and warns him to retreat. But he presses on and opens the derelict, discovering Ylena and what the Communists have really been hiding: the tragic failure of an intended spectacular propaganda mission in the early days of space flight. As the Communists attack, Adam fights for his life and for a chance at undying love with his aroused enemy. Gravity will kill this revenant if she returns to Earth. After the battle, both nations, wanting her survival secret, prepare forces to capture the couple who, defying orders to land, desperately seek options for an off-Earth future together.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Boyle, Charles