Kanaga Diary: Lost in the Aleutians, 1938 by Estelle Lauer

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

It’s the winter of 1937-’38. World War II is brewing. At a remote duty station on Kanaga Island, Alaska, in the middle of the Aleutian chain, eight men are engaged in a U. S. Navy mission whose aim is secret even from them. Six of the men record weather data and monitor radio communications between Japanese fishing boats. A seventh is the cook. The eighth man, the medic, Chief Pharmacist’s Mate Royse Gibson, has little to do — no one in this small contingent gets sick, no one is injured. There will be no mail in or out for months, and radiograms, the only other means of communication with home, are expensive and difficult to arrange. So Gibson keeps a diary in the form of letters to his wife and two young daughters, to be mailed if ever it’s possible. Then one day Gibson and the cook go seal hunting, and disappear without a trace. Gibson’s letters, finally delivered to his family months later, comprise half of "Kanaga Diary," detailing his daily routine and his far more interesting spare-time activities on the island. The other half of this “double memoir” is his daughter Estelle’s story of the family, struggling, eventually moving on, but keeping his memory alive. In 1995, fifty-seven years after the loss of her father, Estelle and her husband set out on a long-planned visit to Kanaga, to investigate her father’s disappearance and to finally say goodbye.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-99700-328-4
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Memoir, Nonfiction, History
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 132
 

Land of Wolves: The Return of Lincoln's Bodyguard by Tj O'Connor

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

Land of Wolves finds Joseph Foster with Molly as they settle into a new-found life in the hills of Tennessee. But Abraham Lincoln’s former bodyguard, the man who saved the President’s life, cannot escape the Consortium as they come roaring back, killing his mother, abducting his daughter—all to coerce his Congressional testimony on their behalf.

Instead, Joseph and Molly strike the Consortium in their own safe haven of New York City. In a Bonnie and Clyde-like twist, they rob from the Consortium to draw out their leader—General Dorsey. But the hidden plan reveals more than they counted on, exposing the true intention to steal the Black Hills and the gold underneath from the Lakota Sioux. Land of Wolves traverses the American landscape, where only a full reconciliation with Joseph’s native heritage and a cast of characters ripped from history—including Lincoln—can bring true peace and stop General Dorsey and the evil Industrial Consortium.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-60809-202-4
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 336
 

Into a Dark Frontier by John Mangan

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

In the near future, Africa collapses into an enormous failed state, leaving the continent lawless and severely depopulated. For most, the breakdown brings horror, but for others—the outcast, the desperate, the criminal, and the insane—it allows unparalleled opportunity: a new frontier of danger and unlimited possibility. 

In America, ex-Navy SEAL Slade Crawford, emotionally crippled after twenty years of frontline combat, the dissolution of his marriage, and the accidental death of his son, is falsely accused of terrorism. Slade flees to Africa to build a new life and escape his past, but he is captured by an enigmatic American colonel, Gary Kraven, and blackmailed into tracking down a blood cult that is rampaging across the sub-Sahara. Struggling to stay alive and to free himself from Kraven’s grasp, Slade pursues the cult across the lawless African frontier. He soon learns that nothing is as it seems and that he is standing at the epicenter of a global struggle that will determine the course of history. Slade must decide whether to fight for his life or his honor—he can’t have both.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-60809-261-1
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 356
 

Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life by Ginger Harrington

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

Enjoying life (zoe) in Christ comes in the choices we make moment-by-moment. Transparently sharing her struggles with anxiety, fear, and insecurity, Ginger Harrington invites women to discover how intentional choices made in the moment can become holy habits that open the door to healing and freedom. With a refreshing perspective, she shows that holiness isn’t a rigid standard to keep but a gift to receive through a vital relationship with God, who makes us whole. Holy in the Moment explores the practical power of choices to grow in holiness without the pressure of perfectionism. Through gentle encouragement, biblical insights, and applicable ideas learn to discern feelings and overcome distractions and shame, adapt God’s equation for obedience, live a praying life, discover methods for practicing holiness in parenting and the importance of rest, embrace biblical love and forgiveness, and understand how work becomes holy. Find healing and wholeness with simple choices to love God, embrace truth, and enjoy every moment of life with practical ways to be holy by choosing to trust God, rely on his wisdom, and live from his resources.

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN: B074KM3D2W, ISBN: 978-1501857805
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Religious/Spiritual
Review Genre: Collections—Religious/Spiritual
Number of Pages: 227
 

T.A. for Military Kids: The Awesome Military Kid's Guide to Feelings by Leslie Nelson

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

A 2011 Department of Defense report approximates that 44 percent of military personnel have children. When the military enlists a service member, it enlists the entire family. These families make many sacrifices and deserve our respect and appreciation. T. A. for Military Kids: The Awesome Military Kids Guide to Feelings encourages military kids to feel proud of themselves and their contribution to the family, and proud to have a parent in the military, even if military life is challenging for them at times. A kid’s perception of an event like deployment is often very different from an adult’s. Depending on their age, kids may believe they are responsible for the deployed parent going away, while this thought would never enter an adults mind. The book talks about the normal feelings all kids have and then explains the possible emotions experienced by military kids when faced with the events of everyday military life, such as frequent moves, adjusting to new schools, absence of the military parent, and re-establishing family roles when the military parent returns. This guide helps military kids make sense of their experiences and understand that all of their feelings are normal and okay, even the challenging ones. For military parents, T. A. for Military Kids makes life a little easier by encouraging kids to talk about what’s going on in their heads.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-4624-0874-0 ASIN: B07922FNLH
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 40

The Gift of Significance: An Ordinary Soldier's Extraordinary Story of War by Robert DeBard

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

The amazing story of "Smokin' Joe Bredeson reads like fiction, except that it's true. Kept to himself for more than 60 years, the first person account moves well beyond his medals of war to a place of authenticity few veterans have been willing to venture with a message of sacrifice and salvation as relevant today as it was when he lived it. From parachuting in behind enemy lines on D-Day as a member of the renowned "Screaming Eagles" to the Battle of the Buldge where, as an Army Ranger, he finally hit the wall of traumatic stress ending up in a self-described "Loony bin," the reader is presented testimony to the price of freedom for this member of the Greatest Generation. His account of heroism and heartbreak will alert your senses, the vents will rivet your attention, and his ultimate triumph against all odds in post-war France will warm your heart.

ISBN/ASIN: Amazon e-book ISBN: 9781983109737, ASIN: B07DLN1HMV
Book Format(s): Kindle, Paperback
Genre(s): Memoir, Biography
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 217

The Final Flag by John Nevola

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

An old soldier’s last request spirals into a worldwide search to recover the remains of seven missing GIs from World War II. A four-person team of both military and civilian volunteers conduct the investigation. All they have to work with is a list of names. Their only motivation is to honor the fallen and give closure to their families. Or is there some other unknown purpose at play? What seems like an impossible task becomes fraught with bombshell surprises. The Department of Defense refuses to cooperate. The investigators also unexpectedly uncover likely evidence of a conspiracy and cover-up at the highest echelons of the Army. The taint of ethnic discrimination becomes more evident as they delve into the investigation. Most of the names on the list were of Italian-American descent at a time when non-citizen Italian-American immigrants were considered enemy aliens. While some were arrested or detained in internment camps, others were forcibly displaced, had private property seized and suffered the degradation and humiliation of being targeted by the American government. All this while their sons served and died overseas. However, it turns out some of these seven men survived the War. It was a place to start. The four eventually narrow the search to two bastard independent parachute infantry battalions with troubled reputations. As they unravel the mystery, they also uncover scandalous indications of the contemptible mis-treatment of these two battalions at the hands of higher commands. Both units were annihilated at the Battle of the Bulge, ignominiously disbanded and their records burned. What was the Army hiding? The searchers stubbornly persist against all obstacles to uncover the fate of the missing men. To their amazement, what they discovered was spectacularly astonishing and would change lives forever. Proceeds from The Final Flag are donated to assist families of the fallen.

ISBN/ASIN: Hardcover: 978-1478728825, Paperback: 978-1432773488, Kindle: B07DMZ2VKD
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 493

The Tale of Buzz-Anna The Traveling Bee by Cathy-Ann M. Alexander

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MWSA Review

The Tale of Buzz-Anna the Traveling Bee by Cathy-Ann M. Alexander is a unique idea for a children's book. Buzz-Anna develops a wanderlust yearning for the bright lights of the big city. "One day I will leave and move to the big city, where the bee-utiful lights will shine and dance on my bee-utiful body! I will marry a city prince and have lots of bee-utiful ba-bees!""

Accompanied by bee-utiful illustrations, the reader/listener journeys with two adorable bees until Buzz-Anna makes the decision to strike out on her own to follow her dreams.

Review by Nancy Panko (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

The Tale of Buzz-Ann the Traveling Bee is the story about a little bee named Buzz-Anna who lives in the small town of Bees-Ville with her mother, Tree-Lisa, her father Comb-Ba, her sister Honey-Sha, and her brother Nest-er. Buzz-Anna hates her small town of Bees-Ville and dreams of moving to a big city. But day after day, Buzz-Anna finds herself still living in her small town. One day Buzz-Anna and her best friend Wax-Ann went exploring through the forest when they discovers a new world on the other side. Buzz-Ann knew that this was going to be her way out to the big city. The Tale of Buzz-Ann the Travelling Bee will take you on a journey as Buzz-Anna travels through her newly discovered world, to find a big city and follow her dream of finding and marrying a prince. The Tale of Buzz-Anna the Travelling Bee is a children’s book about following your dreams. This is a book written to remind children that they should never limit themselves, to think outside the box, and to always follow their dreams.

ISBN/ASIN: Soft cover- 9781546213840; Hard cover - 9781546213826; E-Book- 9781546213833; ASIN: B0796576PY
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Fiction, Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 38
 

African American Warrant Officers - Their Remarkable History by Farrell Chiles

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

African American Warrant Officers - Their Remarkable History is a compilation of articles, biographies, and stories about African Americans who served or are serving in the United States Army Warrant Officers Corps. The book is in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of the Warrant Officers Corps (1918-2018). There is an African proverb that says "Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." This historical book tells the history of African American Army Warrant Officers. Their history is rich and their achievements and contributions to the United States and the United States Army are remarkable. This book allows African American Army Warrant Officers to tell their stories.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-63263-785-7
Book Format(s): Hard cover, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): History, Biography, Reference
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Reference
Number of Pages: 258
 

Chopper Heroes by William Peterson

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

Chopper Heroes ~ Have Guns Will Travel will introduce many of the survivors of the nasty war in Vietnam. The true, interesting, gut-wrenching and often thrilling stories you are about to read are from men whom I am honored to know. Many of the words written here are theirs from interviews I have done. As a storyteller, I have tried to recapture the events as they happened forty-five plus years ago. The narrative and scenes created here are mostly true, and the dialogue is written for all audiences from teenagers to adults, men and women alike.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781981656943    ISBN-13: 978-1981771561    ISBN-10: 1981771565
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History, Religious/Spiritual
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 130
 

The Consultant by Tj O'Connor

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

When a rogue CIA consultant goes AWOL from his Middle Eastern post in response to his brother’s plea for help, he arrives just in time to witness his brother’s murder. For years, Jonathan Hunter and his brother Kevin Mallory had not spoken—until Kevin’s final words, “… Khalifah … Not Them … Maya.” Pursuing his brother’s killer, Hunter stumbles into a nest of horrifying terrorist activity by Middle Eastern refugees, which sparks a backlash across America. In the shadows, Hunter’s mentor, the omnipotent Oscar LaRue, is playing a dangerous game with Russian Intelligence. Neither Hunter nor LaRue realizes that a new threat—the Iranian threat—has entered the game. Stakes rise as two shadowy players are one step ahead of Hunter and LaRue—Khalifah, a terrorist mastermind, and Caine, a nomadic assassin who dances with the highest bidder. As attacks escalate and the country drifts toward another Middle East conflict, innocent refugees become trapped between the terrorists and the terrorized. Prejudice, hate, and fear vent everywhere. Is this who we’ve become? Before the country explodes, Hunter must find Khalifah, learn the next terror target, and pray he’s in time to stop further annihilation.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-60809-283-3
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 432
 

Air Force One by Nicholas Veronico

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

The presidential plane wasn’t always known as Air Force One. FDR traveled in the Guess Where II, a transport version of the heavy bomber four-engine Liberator. Later presidential aircraft included the Dixie Clipper and Sacred Cow (FDR), Independence (Truman), Columbine I and II (Eisenhower), followed by Air Force One.

For the last sixty years Air Force One has seen every president and first lady through each administration's triumphs and tragedies, and has flown over a million miles around the globe.

Featuring new and unseen photography of the presidential aircraft, aviation expert and author Nicholas A. Veronico brings the story of the mighty aircraft up to date; detailing how the plane has adapted to the digital age, and what to look forward to as Boeing updates the aircraft once more for 2024.

Get ready to fly!

ISBN/ASIN: 9780760357996
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): History
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 160
 

Bandits Below by David Brown

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

Retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps. 22-years of active duty. Two tours in Vietnam, serving both as an advisor and rifle company commander during 1967-1969 at height of the war. Earned Silver Star Medal. Instructed economics at the U.S. Naval Academy and headed the Marine Corps Procurement Budget. Upon retirement, consulted to the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy. Executive Director of the Second Marine Division Association and Chairman of the Board for the Carolina Museum of the Marine. Wrote published over 15 articles in the Marine Corps Gazette and Amphibious Warfare Review. Authored books on training, automated information systems, and logistics. First novel, Battlelines, is an historical fiction written about the gallant men of Fox Company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment during their five-year deployment to Vietnam. Gold Award 2006 MWSA. Holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from Denison University.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-64138-655-5
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 327
 

The Mark of Wu: Hidden Paths by Stephen M. Gray

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

Ancient China, 519 B.C. Yuan, a State of Chu warrior, stands front and center on his chariot, reins in hand, holding at bay a spirited team of horses. He is anxious for a chance to unleash his rage on the invading Wu barbarians in the battle before him. His eyes fix enviously on a fellow soldier, a halberdier who extends his hooked weapon over the shoulder of an enemy who desperately sprints away from the charging chariot. Yuan knows the result before it happens. The wicked blade rips through flesh and muscle, then sinks into the enemy’s collar bone as screams echo off the Dabie Shan Mountains. 

Yuan glances toward Field Marshall Wei Yue, thirsting for the order to charge into the fray. He needs this fight to restore his family’s honor. But on the march to battle, Chu’s brilliant General Yang Gai dies, and the less capable Wei Yue snatches control. Can the newly anointed Field Marshall rise to the challenge?
 
The Emperor has lost his grip on the feudal States, and brutal rivalries, both new and old, now rule. Individual States constantly collide, and noblemen must rise in power to overcome the crushing will of warring factions. Only two outcomes are possible - prevail or perish. 

Yuan finds himself catapulted into the throes of treacherous enemies, not only on the battlefield but also at home. This superior warrior will need all his skill and cunning to stay alive. 

Hidden Paths is the first book in The Mark of Wu series. It opens as the Spring and Autumn Period of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty devolves toward the Warring States Period.


ISBN/ASIN: ISBN: 9780999007105 / ASIN: B07B49T2JR
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 383
 

The Wicked Problem of Cultural Heritage and Conflict by Christopher Herndon and Joris Kila

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MWSA Review

 

Author's Synopsis

The Wicked Problem of Cultural Heritage and Conflict: Military involvement in the protection and devastation of Cultural Property.

The world’s cultural heritage is currently not only threatened by time, nature, and human development and also increasingly by armed conflicts. We see destructions caused by looting and illicit traffic but also iconoclasm and manipulations of cultural heritage for political, religious, economic, and propaganda reasons. Revenues derived from the illegal selling are often used to finance conflicts as illustrated in the Da’esh business model example in this publication. Cultural Property Protection (CPP), while legally mandatory under national and international law, are poorly implemented and sanctions are rarely enforced. There is however, a constant and international demand for education and outcomes of multidisciplinary research on the topic, especially in the context of conflict and crime.

Research must include military perspectives, and common mechanisms connected to abuse and protection. Outcomes should contain academic conceptualization, as well as practice based solutions to diminish and mitigate damage. To meet demands while expanding, and following up on their previous works, the authors wrote this publication. It contains a selection of case examples and incorporates recent developments and trends. All ingredients serve to feed research and dialogue about the use and abuse of cultural heritage especially in the event of conflict, with a focus on cooperation and coordination between civil stakeholders and military parties.

A selection of identified fundamental CPP problems is discussed as part of a comparative analysis with field examples such as the Dugong case, an illustration of overlap between cultural and natural heritage coined as hybrid heritage. Other cases include events in Libya, Estonia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Mali. All are weighed against Horst Rittel’s wicked problems theory and other concepts while involving new notions of securitization, politicization, memorialization and propagandization of cultural property. Last but not least, the authors signal within circles of IO’s, NGO’s and Governmental parties involved in the management and protection of heritage, an increase of bureaucratic behavior and political use of mankind’s cultural heritage contributing to the current deplorable situation.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9994932-1-2, 978-0-9994932-2-9, 978-0-9994932-0-5
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Reference
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Reference
Number of Pages: 134
 

Eddie and Bingo : Destination Christmas by Kathleen and Katherine Taylor

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

Eddie's Christmas Destination is uncertain. Will he fly home to New York City for the holidays?Could he stay in Hawaii fulfilling the admiral's photo assignments? Would the Navy send him back to Japan to be reunited with his pup, Bingo? See what develops this Christmas?

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-62901-538-5
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Creative Nonfiction, History, Biography, Picture Book
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 48
 

Flowers from Afghanistan by Suzy Parish

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MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

Weighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain.

As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base---including a local barber and his precocious little boy---Mac's heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there's still something---and someone---worth living for?

With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN 978-1-5223-0116-5  ASIN B07BZ2CWXQ
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): Fiction, Literary Fiction
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 200
 

Jungle in Black by Steve Maguire

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MWSA Review

Brutal, compassionate... a soldier copes with blindness.

"Jungle in Black" is a raw-boned, "tell it as it is" book that takes a young Airborne Ranger officer from being injured on patrol in Vietnam to recovery in an Army field hospital to Japan,  and finally to Walter Reed Army Hospital in our nation's capital. 
Written in a vivid style that puts us in the shoes of the soldier, we experience the agony of a grenade exploding near our head, the terrifying blackness of a hospital, the hopes of seeing with one damaged eye dashed, and the realization that a cherished Army career is over.

Steve Maguire does not mire us in self-pity nor in the Pollyanna-ish euphoria of conquering blindness. Instead, he lays out a painful path of disappointment, void of a future in the Army, to a functioning man who can hold his own in a barroom brawl. Chock full of humorous incidents, such as wheelchair races down the hospital halls to profane escapades on frequent passes to the Goal Post, a neighborhood bar, one laughs and cries with the author. 

A college co-ed befriends him, helps turn his life around, and gives him purpose in life. They marry and have six children. He continues his studies and has a career with the Department of the Army as a civilian.

"Jungle in Black" is the tale of one soldier's long journey home from Vietnam. It is a true story of overcoming adversity. It is a story that falls into the "must read" category.

Review by Joe Epley (May 2018)

MWSA's evaluation of this book found a number of technical problems—including some combination of misspellings, grammar, punctuation, or capitalization errors—which indicate that further editing would lead to a much-improved final product.


Author's Synopsis

The True Story of One Soldier's Long Journey Home from Vietnam

This is the memoir of Steve Maguire, a decorated young Airborne Ranger, infantry officer who commanded a 9th infantry Division battalion reconnaissance platoon in the Mekong Delta.  It was there in November 1969 while on am airmobile operation that an exploding Viet Cong mine blinded him for life.

He lost his sight but not his courage.

Jungle in Black is an honest first-person account that never wallows in self pity as the author reassembles his life in a country that had turned its back on the war. Set in Long An Province. Vietnam, Camp Zama. Japan, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, this powerful yet often witty human drama details one man's successful struggle against the war's desolation.


ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-49230-332-9
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 423
 

The Perfection of Valor by Bob Mustin

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MWSA Review

Bob Mustin has written another fine book in The Perfection of Valor. A quick and easy read, the author writes about the events of August 29, 2005, perhaps most notable to many for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

However, in The Perfection of Valor, Mustin uses Katrina as one of his many subplots to pile on the stress affecting Cary Fletcher as August 29 is also the day Cary is supposed to be getting married. While the approaching storm indirectly has its affect on Cary, he is living upstate in Louisiana, and his concern is for his bride's sister still in New Orleans. The larger scenario affecting Cary is one he's had to endure since childhood, his relationship with his father, a highly decorated Marine now suffering from dementia and living in a nursing home. On the morning of the day he is to be married, Cary introduces Cornelia, his fiancé, to his father, only to have his father insult Cornelia and display his racial prejudice.  On top of this, Cary discovers that his father may have hit his mother, bruising and cutting her face. The author has tossed all this on his protagonist on the day of his planned wedding.  I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys literary fiction, and especially to those who might want to discover how this book ends. 

MWSA Review by Bob Doerr (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

Colonel Fletcher Hinton, USMC, retired, has had a storied career, but one aspect of his life remains wanting as his end approaches: family. Son Cary, a former Marine and now a college professor, is about to marry outside his race, and the old man, suffering a bout of dementia, insults Cary's fiancee. Too, Cary has moved his mother away from Fletcher, fearing the old man has hit her. This then is Fletcher Hinton's final contest – proving himself a good father and husband as he battles dementia and the stain that seems to tarnish his name and, through him, the Corps.

ISBN/ASIN: 987-1642556889/B07BPDRQ7S
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Literary Fiction, History
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 208
 

War in the Company of Medics: Poems of the 45th Surgical Hospital in Vietnam by John J. Candelaria

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MWSA Review

War in the Company of Medics, by John J. Candelaria, uses short narrative and imagistic poems to present a tale of war from the perspective of the executive officer of a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit in Vietnam in 1969-70. Taken together, Candelaria’s thirty poems, offering vivid images of blood-soaked hands, a severely wounded commander promising “I’ll walk again,” the body of an enemy combatant caught in concertina wire, and spring rain falling amid bombs, ponder the consequences of a politically questionable war.

Most of the poems are composed in free verse lines, but several use rhyme or poetic forms such as the villanelle, haiku, and what Candelaria calls a “found poem in a Sijo sequence,” in which the titles of all the poems are included in the last poem to help create an overview of the entire poetic sequence. Most of the poems employ an objective, almost anonymous narrative voice that is quite effective.  The poems reach their best, I think, when they are most abstract and cryptic, creating scenes that could be overwhelming if relayed in a more subjective, personal manner: “Scissors cut uniforms, wounds/ pressed to keep life in”; “Blades slice the morning calm./ Dustoff arrives”; “Again, the body shudders,/ the boot strikes/ as if to wake the sleep of death.” 

Although the author occasionally concludes a poem by repeating a phrase or otherwise interpreting the scene that do not enhance the already powerful vignettes (as, for example, in “Slice of Time,” which ends with the comment “I left the morgue never/ to forget that slice of time”), overall these poems are memorable and striking. The “calm expertise” and “relentless sense of urgency” that Candelaria ascribes to the members of his surgical unit describe as well the driving tone of this work. This is a strong and significant collection.

Review by Nancy Arbuthnot (June 27, 2018)


Author's Synopsis

During the Vietnam War, MAJ John J. Candelaria served as Executive Officer of the 45th Surgical Hospital. The poems and photographs in this collection reflect the anguish resulting from soldiers wounded and killed in the line of duty. John's tribute poems to the 45th Surgical Hospital are expressions that embrace in words the courage, duty, and valor of those who served with distinction at the 45th MASH.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9861604-1-7
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Poetry Book
Review Genre: Poetry—Poetry Book
Number of Pages: 52