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.

Palmyra, Isle of Death

Title: Palmyra, Isle of Death
Author: Karl Boyd
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Stephen Phillips

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0557256267

The following is historical fact as recorded in the Naval Achieves: "In 1816, a pirate ship named "Esperanza," reportedly filled with stolen Inca gold, engaged in a horrendous battle with another unknown pirate ship. The Esperanza sank its opponent, but soon foundered off the shores of Palmyra. But, before the ship sank, the crew removed the treasure and hid it somewhere on the atoll. To date, the treasure has never been recovered."
In Karl Boyd's novel, Palmyra, Isle of Death, two modern day treasure hunters, Bill "Skeeter" Whitaker and Clete Palmer discover the facts listed above and set off to see if they can find and recover the treasure; and return it to the Hawaiian authorities for historical purposes and any monetary reward offered. Along the way, they meet up and join forces with two other modern day pirates, Carter Jennings and his buddy, Jimmy Henderson, who are also after the treasure, but for their own greedy reasons.

Karl Boyd uses his superb writing ability to blend actual fact with his embellished ideas of what happened aboard the Esperanza and its opponent during the battle, the aftermath, shipwreck on Palmyra, three years of deprivation that followed and the final desperate attempt for the few survivors to reach safety.

As this rollicking tale weaves its way between the beautiful isles of Hawaii and the far off isolated atoll of Palmyra, the reader encounters ghosts of the past, modern day murder, lies, greed, betrayal, unrequited love and revenge.

Even after the conclusion of a well told tale, readers will wonder if Karl Boyd's assumptions of where the treasure still resides is pure fiction, or could it be more historical fact waiting to be discovered? But, in reality, only Palmyra, the Isle of Death knows for sure.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Boyd, Karl

Our Walk with God: A Love Story of God and Country

Title: Our Walk with God: A Love Story of God and Country
Author: Tibor & Julia Anne Bierbaum
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1579218636

Synopsis of the book, submitted by the author.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bierbaum, Julia Anne
Bierbaum, Tibor

Occupation and Insurgency: A Selective Examination of The Hague and Geneva Conventions on the Eastern Front, 1939-1945

Title: Occupation and Insurgency: A Selective Examination of The Hague and Geneva Conventions on the Eastern Front, 1939-1945
Author: Colin D. Heaton
Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Reference
Reviewer: Lee Boyland

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0875866107

A cause and effect analysis of how Nazi domestic policy and philosophy as applied to Eastern European lands conquered from 1941 to 1944 affected the outcome of the war by creating an insurgency. Hitler gave implementation of Nazi policy in occupied territories a higher priority than the fight against Stalin. Nazi mistreatment of civilians turned millions of disillusioned Soviet communists, soldiers and civilians, into an efficient guerilla fighters who disrupted Wehrmacht supply and communications. Had Hitler followed the accepted rules of war, he might have won the support of the occupied population and defeated Stalin

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Heaton, Colin D.

Nilo Ha Tien: A Novel of Naval Intelligence in Cambodia

Title: Nilo Ha Tien: A Novel of Naval Intelligence in Cambodia
Author: HL Serra
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1438987544

Historical Fiction, U.S. Navy, Vietnam War In the early months of 1970, LT Thomas Medici, NILO Ha Tien, enters Cambodia on U.S. Naval Intelligence missions and negotiates a secret weapons agreement with the Cambodian Navy, then thwarts the destruction of of the Port of Sihanoukville- for which he is tried at a Naval Board of Inquiry."This remarkable novel relates many events that our Naval Intelligence Liaison Officers actually experienced during the Cambodia episode of the Vietnam War. The details of these events are fascinating." VADM Rex Rectanus (Ret.), former Director of Naval Intelligence and Ass't. Chief of Staff (Intelligence) for VADM Elmo Zumwalt, Commander Naval Forces, Vietnam (1968-1970)" HL Serra's novel draws the reader into the clandestine world of covert operations and Navy spy networks operating in Cambodia in early 1970. The book is a terrific read and one of those rare novels that speaks truth on every page about an innovative and effective strategic intelligence program." Prof. Larry Berman, UC Davis, author of books on Vietnam, including Perfect Spy, No Peace, No Honor, and the forth coming first biography of Admiral Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Serra, HL

Northrop's Night Hunter: P-61 Black Widow

Title: Northrop's Night Hunter: P-61 Black Widow
Author: Jeff Kolln
Genre: Non-Fiction, Reference
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1580071228

World War II changed the face of warfare forever. Now enemies were fighting and flying all night, which mandated that a fighter be developed that could carry a new technological invention aloft radar. Guided by ground stations toward the target, the P-61 would acquire an enemy aircraft with its on-board radar and close for the kill.

Northrop's Night Hunter covers the development history of the P-61 Black Widow and the radar built specifically for its use. The P-61 was the most successful Allied night fighter of the war, and flew combat in the China-Burma-India, European, and Pacific theaters of the war. This book details the aircraft's offensive and defensive systems, its operations, and covers its unique uses from missile testing to flights by the U.S. Navy.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kolln, Jeff