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.

Carolina Roots - From Whence I Came

Title: Carolina Roots - From Whence I Came
Author: Thomas Shytle
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Inspirational
Reviewer: Lee Boyland

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1419695193

The author was a product of a hard hit area during the depression years. He was barely a year old and the great depression was at its peak when his family moved from the cotton mill village where he was born to relocate near Bryson City in the heart of the Western North Carolina mountains. The economy there was worse than it had been on the mill village; and after struggling to survive on a dollar a day his Father made working for FDR's Works Project Administration (WPA), his family held on for six years living in the most poverty stricken area of the country. He was seven when they moved back to the same cotton mill village and to much better conditions than when they left, thanks to the most part for Hitler's war that was raging in Europe. His story is about his experiences while growing up near Kings Mountain, NC followed by twenty-five years in the USAF. The years spent in the military are related in detail from the viewpoint of an Air Force non-com; from the Korean War to an assignment to a covert unit whose cold war mission was to "Develop an unconventional warfare capability that included inserting, supplying, and extracting indigenous partisans, to provide them with refitted small arms, and to design, produce, and airdrop psychological warfare materials into Eastern European countries, and to support U-2 over-flights of Eastern Europe and Russia." Throughout the book you will feel his reverence for his convictions, his devotion to family and an unquestionable commitment to duty, honor, and country.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shytle, Thomas

Within the Walls of Santo Tomas: A saga of captivity and survival in Manila during World War II

Title: Within the Walls of Santo Tomas: A saga of captivity and survival in Manila during World War II
Author: Betty Bryon and Cassius Mullen
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1617773743

'Do you believe that what we do in life comes back to haunt us later?' 'You mean like fate comes along and throws you a curve ball when you least expect it?' 'Yes, exactly.' 'There are so many strange things that happen to people, nothing surprises me anymore.' 'I think life is a mirror. What you do reflects back at you.' Former army nurse Molly Martin has never forgotten her experience in the internment camp at Santo Tomas University during World War II. The horrors she witnessed in her younger days are burned in her brain, along with the memories of the people who walked with her through hell and the enemies who put them all through it. When she sees a picture in the paper of the doctor that committed some of the worst war crimes and got away, she knows it is time to tell her story. It is the last chance for justice. Travel back to 1942, when twenty-eight-year-old Molly Martin's life was changed forever. She and other army nurses and soldiers are taken from Corregidor to Manila, where they are imprisoned by the Japanese within the walls of Santo Tomas University with innocent US and Allied civilians. Molly leads the nurses in establishing a hospital in the former gymnasium, and they attempt to make the best of things. Soon Molly and her friend Clara befriend an ingenious teenage boy nicknamed Scrounger, who uses his skills to make life tolerable for the internees. Over a three-year period, Molly and the internees suffer greatly. Food and medicine are hard to come by, and the commandant becomes harsher. A sinister doctor carries out cruel experiments on selected internees, resulting in more death. Things become even more difficult as the American army draws nearer. But Molly is determined to make it out alive, to make the evil pay for their wrongdoings. Will Molly see justice before her days end? Go Within the Walls of Santo Tomas to find out.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Byron, Betty
Mullen, Cassius

But...What If?

Title: But...What If?
Author: Sandra Miller Linhart
Genre: Children's, Under 12
Reviewer: jim greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0984512721

Homecomings are wonderful reunions but they can be stressful at times. Will Daddy remember me? Will I remember him? Daddy is coming home, but he's been gone a long time. Will he recognize Bean? Will Bean be able to pick Daddy out in a sea of soldiers? Being deployed is a fact of life for soldiers of all military branches. Humanitarian efforts, Operations Other than War (OOW), peaceful or wartime missions - a soldier's duty is to be there. And, when it's time to come home, sometimes the unknown can be scary.

But... What if? is a loving description of the subtle insecurities a child of a returning male soldier may have.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Linhart, Sandra Miller

BROTHERHOOD OF DOOM: Memoirs of a Navy Nuclear Weaponsman

Title: BROTHERHOOD OF DOOM: Memoirs of a Navy Nuclear Weaponsman
Author: James S. Little
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Hodge Wood

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1601453116

BROTHERHOOD of DOOM provides a look inside a national program that was shrouded in secrecy, during the cold war. The book details the dedication and patriotism of a small group of sailors that were denied much of the liberty, and freedoms their fellow citizens enjoyed, to insure the survival of America in the event of a nuclear war. Emphasized throughout the book is the extraordinary effort by nuclear weaponsmen to handle and maintain these weapons of mass destruction with safety, and to continually strive for perfection. The book is an effort to honor the many outstanding, and colorful sailors he served with for thirty years, and to educate the American public about a national program that little is known about, a program all citizens should be thankful for. The job of navy nuclear weaponsman no longer exists, and BROTHERHOOD of DOOM is an attempt to preserve this important story of the American military.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Little, James S.

My Daddy is a Marine

Title: My Daddy is a Marine
Author: Alia Reese
Genre: Children 12 and below
ISBN: 97809833107
Reviewer: Jim Greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 9780983313007

"American Hero Books: My Daddy is a Marine" helps the infant-preschool age child to understand and feel proud of Daddy's very important job AND helps to keep Daddy present in his/her mind while Daddy is away during training and deployment. Read, march, and bark along with our fun and simple descriptions and insert your own picture over those printed in the book to see Daddy at work as a United States Marine.

American Hero Books are for the infant to preschool age children of US Service members, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and EMT/rescue personnel. This series is written and designed for infant through preschool age children. The books use age appropriate text, concept portrayal, and pictures. Each book is specific to a service branch and available in both a “Mommy” and “Daddy” version. Additionally American Hero Books are formatted to allow the reader to insert a photograph over each picture printed in the book, thereby creating a unique and personal product.

American Hero Books fulfill a dual purpose. They 1) give an age appropriate description of the service member’s job allowing the child to understand and feel proud of the parent, and 2) the “insert your own picture” format allows the child to hold the service member present in his/her mind which can alleviate some of the anxiety caused by separation due to training and deployment.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Reese, Alia