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.

Barinelli's War

Title: Barinelli's War
Author: Eugene Basilici
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595385826

The Korean War rages in Southeast Asia. Every night the North Koreans hurl themselves against the outnumbered Americans who hold the Pusan Perimeter, and every night the overextended defenders are thinned even more.

Into this maelstrom lands Rick Barinelli, a teenager fresh out of Basic and is thrown immediately onto the front line. A natural leader with an innate understanding of combat, he’s able to command and hold the all-important “Bowling Alley” sector. Barinelli’s successes on the battlefield earn him quick promotions.

The Inchon landing relieves the pressure on Pusan and Barinelli’s platoon takes the point for an American offensive. At Hungnam, they’re ordered to the rear and reorganized as a reconnaissance company, while the Army’s Tenth Corps and First Marine Division advance to the Chinese border.

But a quarter-million Chinese secretly infiltrate the mountain passes and surround the Americans with orders to annihilate them all. The only escape route is along a narrow road past the Chosin Reservoir through the Funchilin Pass to Hungnam and safety. The Funchilin must be held. But when Barinelli’s company commander suddenly disappears, the survival of over twenty thousand men falls on him.

With fewer than two hundred men under his command, Barinelli faces the pressures of leadership in battle. More importantly, he learns of faithlessness and heroism and the inner gauntlet each soldier must pass through to survive.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Basilici, Eugune

Aviation Engineers Avenging Pearl Harbor (Spiral-bound)

Title: Aviation Engineers Avenging Pearl Harbor (Spiral-bound)
Author: Bob George
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1411688481

A History of the 864th Engineer Aviation Battalion during World War II.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
George, Bob

Spur & The Sash: Middle Tennessee, 1865: A Novel, The

Title: The Spur & The Sash: Middle Tennessee, 1865: A Novel
Author: Robert Grede
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Dave Brown

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 159598092X

The Spur & The Sash is about a real person. Sergeant George Van Norman, a Yankee, was wounded in one of the last battles of the American Civil War, at Nashville. Left behind to recover when the armies marched on, he was ordered to guard a local plantation from January to July, 1865, where he fell in love with the owner's daughter. That much is fact. The story begins with his wounding at the battle, follows him to the plantation where he meets the woman, her family, and the former slaves who have been emancipated but have no place to go. George befriends a former Confederate soldier and, together, they overcome carpetbaggers, deserters from both sides, mobs of wandering blacks, and bushwhackers marauding throughout Middle Tennessee, including precursors of the Ku Klux Klan. Meticulously researched using letters, diaries, and official records, this is a story of passion and betrayal amid the anarchy of postwar Tennessee. George left behind a spur and a sash, passed down through the generations to the author, his great-great-grandson, along with the story of how he came to have them. This is that story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Grede, Robert


Author: Joyce Faulkner
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewer: Jim Greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 9780983493020

Identity theft, scams, and a serial killer. Username is a must-read for every person who has a credit card or uses the Internet. Who’s using your name? Your username? You may not know until it’s too late. See yourself as a mark through the eyes of Maureen and Jennifer, master identity thieves. Their scams will shock you as you realize how vulnerable you are. Then there is the nice gentleman you could meet in a chat room, or perhaps he sends you a persuasive e-mail. He couldn’t possibly be a serial killer … could he?

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Faulkner, Joyce

Emotional Melange

Title: Emotional melange
Author: Jim Greenwald
Genre: Poetry
Reviewer: Sandra Linhart

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1462620067

The poet distills words into emotional textures that weave themselves into and through our lives.
Lyrical in ways, covering the gamut of emotions, this his tenth book of poetry tugs at the heart strings, and illuminates the dark corridors of love.
This is a journey of life’s experiences. Sit back, relax and enter this reading journey with tissues in hand.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Greenwald, Jim