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.

Beyond My Horizon: An Educational Odyssey & Combat Memoir

Title: Beyond My Horizon: An Educational Odyssey & Combat Memoir
Author: Claude Regis Vargo
Genre: Non-Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1608445658

“Share the author’s journey in Beyond My Horizon. Fall in love with the lifestyle of one of the world’s most beautiful hotels; survive the sieges of the hell-holes of Hue and Khe Sanh, Viet Nam; and stand beneath the stone archway of Cornell University. Here is a tale of determination, drive, and a courageous ride through life that you will not want to stop reading. In this engaging, compelling, and inspiring book, Claude Vargo mesmerizes the reader. He eloquently describes his life and the hard work that transformed him from being a youthful academic failure to graduating summa cum laude in just two years in midlife from the Hilton College at the University of Houston while simultaneously attending Cornell.

If Claude did it, you can too! This book is chock full of humorous anecdotes, academic timesaving tips, and common-sense tricks to achieve your scholastic and life goals.

Beyond My Horizon is a must-read for anyone who has a real desire to do well in college, go back to college, or finally make a change and pursue any lifelong dream. Vargo’s odyssey not only is a heartfelt and sincere effort to inspire the reader to go after life goals but also helps the reader believe he or she really can accomplish any goal.”

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Vargo, Claude Regis

Bear: Flight to Liberty

Title: Bear: Flight to Liberty
Author: Miguel Vargas-Caba
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595681670

In September 1976, Viktor Belenko defected to Japan in his MiG-25 Foxbat jet fighter, one of the most well-known defections from the Soviet block. But in that same year, there was another defection so embarrassing to the Soviets that its particulars remained a secret for more than twenty-five years. All media accounts of Soviet TU-95 flights participating in the Okean 76 naval maneuvers mention only two planes. Whenever they were confronted in private, however, the Soviets acknowledged that in reality, three planes took off from Russia, with the third aircraft crashing at sea, killing everyone aboard. Since it sank in deep waters, no one attempted to salvage the wreck. But what the Soviet authorities never acknowledged -publicly or privately- was that the third TU-95 made a bold and risky flight from the USSR to Canada. Because its crew defected, the Soviets never admitted that such an event happened. Bear: Flight to Liberty tells the third crew's thrilling story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Vargas-Caba, Miguel

Beyond Hell and Back: How America's Special Operations Forces Became the World's Greatest Fighting Unit

Title: Beyond Hell and Back: How America's Special Operations Forces Became the World's Greatest Fighting Unit
Authors: Dwight Jon Zimmerman, John D. Gresham
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Weymouth Symmes

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B0046LUGWG

The accounts of seven pivotal special operations from Vietnam to present day that were instrumental in the creation of Special Operations Command.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Zimmerman, Dwight Jon
Gresham, John

Book of Weapons: Tools of War Through the Ages, The

Title: The Book of Weapons: Tools of War Through the Ages
Author: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Genre: Non-Fiction, Reference
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B003W8GQ4Q

The Book of Weapons is a sequel to the award-winning The Book of War. It covers the history of weaponry from the earliest most primitive instruments of destruction up to the technologically advanced weapons wielded today. Following in the profusely illustrated format of The Book of War, this history is organized chronologically, and is a fascinating survey that reveals the incredible array of arms, animals, methods, and concepts that were forged, fashioned, manipulated, subverted, and even seduced, into becoming the means to bring defeat and destruction to an enemy.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Zimmerman, Dwight Jon

Blackened Canteen, The

Title: The Blackened Canteen
Author: Jerry Yellin
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Jack Woodville London

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1421890194

This book is about five Americans: Jack O'Connor, Monroe Cohen, Ken Colli, Newton Towle, crewmen on B-29's and were killed in a mid-air collision on June 20, 1945 and buried by Fukumatsu Itoh alongside the 2,000 Japanese killed in the raid, and Richard Fiske, the bugler on the battleship West Virginia when it was sunk at Pearl Harbor. It is also about three Japanese: Hiroya Sugano, 12 years old when his city was bombed in 1945, Takeshi Maeda, the navigator on the torpedo bomber that sank the West Virginia, and Fukumatsu Itoh, a city councilman and Buddhist priest. Only two survive today, Dr. Sugano, who is 74, and Takeshi Maeda, who is 89.

The Blackened Canteen is written by story teller, Jerry Yellin, with many voices. It shows that he has listened to the cultures of both his land of birth and the adopted land of his son.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Yellin, Jerry