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Rhombus by Bob Gore

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MWSA Review

Area 51, also know as Groom Lake, has been the source of rumors, speculation, wild stories, and conspiracy theories for decades. It is also part of the famous "skunk works" and the birth place of the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk light bomber, and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Today, rumors circulate about: Aurora, a super secret successor to the Blackbird; ceramic engines; and UFOs. Groom Lake, know as Area 51 because it is located in grid square 51 on an early Nevada map, is northeast of the main Nevada Test Site (NTS). Area 51 accomplishments provide the factual foundation for Bob Gore's RHOMBUS.
 
What if America, at the end of the Vietnam war, had developed a super secret stealth bomber, code name Rhombus, that was invisible to the eye, almost invisible to radar, and could project itself as any aircraft programmed into its memory bank? A bomber that could enter Soviet air space at will and never be detected?
 
Could such a secret development program remain undetected? What would it take to maintain security?
 
How would such a bomber effect the balance of power maintained by mutually assured destruction (MAD)? How would the Soviets react if they learned of the new bomber? Would the Soviets launch their missiles?
 
Bob Gore's novel, RHOMBUS, a military science fiction and political thriller, is built around these questions. He has incorporated several real events into his story, and in one case offered a unique explanation for the event.
 
RHOMBUS has the possibility of developing a cult following--conspiracy theorists will love it, and it is sure to be a best seller at the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, Nevada.
 
RHOMBUS is also the story of Mike Christum, a Navy pilot who is chosen to be the chief test pilot for the Rhombus. It is the story of Mike's family and friends, his triumphs and personal loses. A story of a military man and his family's sacrifices for country. A story of military family where the husband leaves on mysterious assignments and returns with no explanations. If you haven't done this for real, try it out on your wife the next time you take a trip. Remember, duck and cover.
 
RHOMBUS is a military story that will be appreciated by those who have served. It is also an excellent story for non-military, for it presents a vivid picture of the sacrifices military (and others who serve in the dark world of intelligence) families make to keep America safe. A modern day Shakespearian tragedy.
 
RHOMBUS in not light weight science fiction, it is a serious story that challenges and educates the reader, but remember its science fiction. There's no such thing as an invisible airplane with ceramic engines. But ... there really is an Area 51, stealth planes, ... Hmmmm!

Reviewed by: Lee Boyland (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Deep in the Nevada desert, on a military base that doesn't exist, the U.S. government has developed the most sinister warplane ever to rule the skies. Its name is Rhombus and it's the pinnacle of man's genius applied to the art of mass destruction.

Rhombus is death come alive.

Lt. Michael Christum is America's finest aviator, a supreme and lethal warrior. A man of honor, his love for his wife and children are as profound as his sense of duty. Christum will pilot Rhombus. Time after time he's answered his country's call, unflinching, unfailing. But this mission is different. It if fails, it will mean the eradication of mankind.

Rhombus is a high-tech action-adventure thriller penned by a U.S. Air Force Top Gun who employs his intimate knowledge of the military mentality, tactics, and weaponry to put you in the cockpit of the world's ultimate weapon--heading toward a target that no one could possibly imagine.

America’s Finest by Stephen Peterson

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MWSA Review

Petersen has compiled a collection of not just sixty short stories but sixty examples of what truly makes this country great.  The title says it all America's Finest.  These are the stories of real Americans and the job they are doing to improve the lives of others, stories all too often gone missing in our media.

No other nation and its military can compare to the excellent job this country does in terms of helping the less fortunate, most certainly not something thought of by others as part of the militaries job or purpose.  Highlighting the fact that our military is "all volunteer" Petersen provides a "job well done" to all our veterans.

The stories are centered within a religious theme but the book is not a book of religion.  The interaction between military personnel amongst themselves and with the civilians in the areas where they are serving demonstrates clearly and exactly how much alike we all are.  There are many messages indirect and direct and much to learn from reading each of these short stories.  It is worth your afternoon to balance out all the wrongs we are bombarded with on a daily basis concerning our military.

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2010)


Author's Synopsis

The more than sixty short stories that make up "America's Finest" details the humanitarian service as well as the personal sacrifices of the men and women of each of the branches of the United States Armed Services in Iraq. United States service members provided Iraqi citizens health care services, formal education, public works and many other services too numerous to describe. Though the United States Armed Services are trained in the art of war, more than 70% of its activities, even during the period of armed conflict, was dedicated to non-combative work for and on behalf of the Iraqi people. within days following combat action, American service members began initiating public service work toward re-building the infrastructure and personal lives of individual Iraqis in a spirit of compassion, mercy and forgiveness towards those who had been enemies only hours before. Airmen/women, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers gave thousands of manhours each week in their attempt to make life better for the Iraqi people. A number of these service members gave the citizens of Iraq the greatest gift any person could render-their lives. Privates, junior enlisted non-commissioned officers and junior company grade officers most between the age 18 and 24 years of age make up the majority of the figures in these stories. These brave, resourceful young men and young women are the REAL heroes and heroines. From rural communities, suburbs and inner cities; rich, middle class and poor; every racial and ethnic group make up the United States armed services. As an all volunteer force, there is no compulsion to serve. Yet each do so willingly for freedom and liberty for all. They are indeed "America's Finest" and patriots all!

Surviving the Folded Flag by Deborah Tainsh

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MWSA Review

Deborah H. Tainsh has compiled a book of stories by parents who have lost their children to war. What a brave undertaking for a woman who herself, has experienced one of the most crushing grief's of life.
 
These true stories show how horrendous it is to lose a child. But losing a child to war brings its own set of questions.
 
The book's dedication says a lot: 
 
This book is dedicated to America's heroes
those who serve,
those who have served,
those who have sacrificed all,
and the families who love and support them.
 
There is much to be learned from this book. In the foreword by Command Chaplain John C. Powell, 335th Signal Command, he writes, "These are the stories of parents who have lost a son or daughter to war, relating the difficulties of their journey since the day they learned that they had become a part of the fraternity no one wishes to join. These are stories of tragedy, full of heart-wrenching pathos, dealing with the pain of horrific and irrevocable loss. 
 
These are also stories of triumph, and in each families story we find the reason for America's strength and once again discover the sublime truth that freedom is only maintained by those who are willing to fight for and defend it."
 
The book is enlightening in many ways. For those of us who haven't experienced such a loss, we learn of the many aspects of such a death. For instance, the author's son, Army Sergeant Patrick Shannon Tainsh, was killed during the first year of the war in Iraq. Deborah and David Tainsh's son's body was brought to Atlanta by commercial airliner from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover is where autopsies and final dress are handled.
 
Patrick's parents did not have the strength to drive the 100 miles to Atlanta, and then follow the hearse back home. So they waited for the call from their local funeral home, confirming that their son's body had arrived. They then drove to the funeral home, to meet with the soldier who had accompanied Patrick Tainsh back home.
 
Today things are different, thanks to the efforts of Gold Star mom and dad Stacey and John Holley, of San Diego, California. After the death of their son, Matthew, in Iraq, they fought for legislation that was signed in October 2006 by President George W. Bush. By spring, families began receiving the option to have their loved ones returned by private jet to the airport nearest their home.
 
Families can now choose to wait with an honor guard on the tarmac as the plane lands with the military escort and flag-draped casket. With quiet stillness and salutes, our fallen heroes are returned home with the honor and dignity they deserve.
 
This is just one aspect of the necessary arrangements. Then there is the funeral to be considered. A Casualty Assistance Officer (CAO) helps plan the funeral. There are forms to be signed, and numerous details to be attended to.
 
After the funeral, comes the struggle to go on living. Kim Smith speaks on the loss of her son, Army Private Robert Lewis Franz. "The loss of my child has been the lowest point in my life. However, I consistently remind myself I can either let this tragedy eat me up or I can do my best to live a worthwhile life in honor of Rob. I cannot change life's course, but he wouldn't want me to spend the rest of my life not living. And I know my son's spirit is helping to press me forward."
 
There is a section in the back of the book that contains advice from Gold Star parents. Such as:
-      Grieve at your own pace and in your own way
-      Accept help
-      Comfort your other children
-      Give people permission to talk about your child
-      See if a support group is right for you
 
I believe this book should be required reading for every president, politician, policy-maker, and all United States citizens, so that they will truly understand the full, lingering consequences of war.
 
Surviving the Folded Flag contains 27 stories of our fallen heroes. Each one is a permanent testament to the power of love. The love of family and country is what has held America together through the years. This beautifully and courageously written book shows us that love never dies. It lives on in the memories of those who were blessed to personally know these brave soldiers, and to forever remember them.
 
And in spite of the sorrow contained within its pages, the book is actually about hope, and how Gold Star parents are passing that hope on to others who will need it. 
 
An outstanding piece of work.

Reviewed by: Charlene Rubush (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Author of Heart of a Hawk and Gold Star mom Deborah Tainsh has gathered essays from more than twenty-five parents who received the dreaded news that their child had died in military service. These invaluable stories show how today's military families are surviving the folded flag and give a glimpse into the lives of fallen service members as Gold Star parents tell the stories and celebrate the lives of their fallen heroes.
 
Surviving also includes advice for other Gold Star families, their friends, and family members. 
 
Bonus essays from a casualty assistance officer and a former soldier give deeper insight into how wartime death affects comrades left behind.

A Life Well-Built by Lee Kelley

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MWSA Review

A Life Well-Built is a loving tribute to Richard E. Fisher, one of America's great men of the 19th century.  Told by Lee Kelley in collaboration with Joyce Fisher, this is the story of a hero.  It is a look at the life of a man who had the talents his country needed and the passion and patriotism to serve both as a military leader and civilian corporate giant in the field of aviation.

Brigadier General Fisher, according to testimonies he gave prior to his passing in 2004, the memories of his wife of 4 years, Joyce, and the records he kept in the form of journals and photographs, was a man with a bigger mission than most.  And, he had the spirit and strength to meet his challenges.  From humble beginnings on a farm to world-wide service engineering the construction of airfields and developing relationships with foreign leaders all over the world, "Dick" Fisher was the kind of man the United States needed during the tumultuous years of wars and uneasy peace.

At the end of the book, I wanted more.  I wanted to speak to the Brigadier General about impressions and feelings he had during the many historical events he helped to shape.  I also wanted to visit with Joyce, the General's second wife, and learn more about what made her fall in love with this extraordinary military man.  The events, both historical and personal, are true and will delight any reader who was a part of the era in our history that may be remembered as the bloodiest and most glorious time of our lives.

Reviewed by: Carmen Stenholm (2010)


Author's Synopsis

From the tapestry of human history and experience, some individuals rise above the fabric's common braid and seem destined for great achievements. Richard Fisher was one of these souls. In A Life Well Built, author Lee Kelley tells the story of this natural-born leader who was an extraordinary soldier, father, husband, pilot, engineer, and friend.
 
Raised in Ohio, Richard "Dick" Fisher showed natural signs of leadership at a young age. This biography spans his lifetime--through ninety years and twenty-six countries--and touches on his widespread successes. It follows him from the Ohio State University School of Engineering, to the Pennsylvania Railroad, to his work as an engineer in Ohio, and to building airports for the Army during World War II. A lifelong pilot, he flew airplanes and managed operations for Air America. He co-piloted the last aircraft to escape Saigon when the Vietnam War began and retired from the Army as a brigadier general.
 
A Life Well Built shows the depth of this man who accomplished feats that most people could only dream of. This biography demonstrates that Fisher's life was a solid, inspired piece of engineering; he created a personal masterpiece in the art of living.

This is Latch: The Story of Admiral Roy L. Hoffmann by Weymouth D. Symmes

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MWSA Review

Not Just a Biography but a History Lesson Too! Author Weymouth D. Symmes has captured so much more than just the story of Admiral Roy Hoffman in his biography "This is Latch". This book weaves in the social, military and political history of the Admiral's life. The reader will come away with a much better understanding of those historic times and the people with whom Hoffman lived through and associated with. The book not only honors the service of this great naval commander but also gives glimpses of his family life and his own beginnings. 

The book takes us to Korea and the war there in 1950, with sinking of the ship he was on and his rescue from those icy cold waters. The book follows his career through those years between wars. However, it really grabs the attention of the reader with the details of not only the Admiral's time and service in Vietnam but also provides many insightful tidbits and personal history of those under his command. One those this book focuses on is the war service in Swift Boats of Senator John Kerry. The writing is surprisingly balanced, as the author does actually mention some positive statements and accounts of Kerry. However, there is no way that one can hide the ugly truth. Kerry is raked over in much of this section of the book and later on as well. It provides an interesting back drop to the whole book itself. Admiral Hoffman eventually forms a group of former Swift Boat crew-members who oppose Senator Kerry's bid to become President. This section is well worth the read and might give non-veterans a better understanding of what brought this action about. It might also give some understanding as to why Vietnam veterans in general and Swift Boat veterans in particular, consider Kerry in such low esteem. Some, in fact, consider him to this day - as a traitor. 

The author has done an outstanding job creating a book that is both informative and still entertaining. It very well researched, has great photos and maps and is an easy read.

Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2010)


Author's Synopsis

This is Latch is a biography of Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann, who served in three wars (WW II, Korea and Vietnam).  Adm. Hoffmann commanded four ships in his career.  He was the gunnery officer aboard the USS Pirate when she struck a mine during the Korean War and sank in less than five minutes.  Admiral Hoffmann was the Commander of Task Force 115 (the Market Time forces) in Vietnam, which included U.S. Navy Swift Boats. during the advent of the SEALORDS operation under Admiral Zumwalt.  In retirement, Admiral Hoffmann founded and led Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth during the 2004 election. This is Latch has 529 pages, and 162 photos, three maps, 60 plus interviews, a glossary, sources and index.  It is a hardbound edition.

An American Family in World War II by Sandra O’Connell

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MWSA Review

I can recommend this delightful new collection of evocative family letters & memorabilia, maps & photos, of a Wilmington, Delaware son's journey ('41-'45) from Dickinson college boy to seasoned pilot & group leader in his B-17G Flying Fortress dubbed the Blue Hen Chick in the 8th Army Air Force, 447th Bomb Group, 709th Bomb Squadron out of the Rattlesden base in Suffolk, England.

Charmingly sewn together by a narrative which expands on both of what was happening in America & what Ralph's family wrote they were going through on the Home Front & what he was doing, both as a pilot & a youthful Yank tourist in war torn London. Only with his father did he share a little of what his 67 missions entailed.

A deeply absorbing tribute to The Greatest Generation and the families who supported them.

NOTES:

Rattlesden: Suffolk County, East Anglia, England, United Kingdom - 9 miles SE of Bury St. Edmund, is a village and civil parish of 900 souls in the Mid Suffolk district.  Located 4 miles west of Stowmarket, the parish also includes the hamlets of Hightown Green and Poystreet Green.  It's large and ancient church, St. Nicholas, dates from the 13th century and incorporates many additions and changes from over the centuries.  In 1975, the historic core of the village was named a "Conservation Area" by the District Council under the guidelines of English Heritage.

The village and the surrounding area, like much of East Anglia, was a hotbed of Puritan sentiment during much of the 16th and 17th centuries.  In 1634, a local wheelwright, Richard Kimball led a relatively large company from Rattlesden to the Massachusetts Bay Colony as part of the wave of emigration that occurred during the Great Migration.

During World War II, Rattlesden was the site of a U.S. Army Air Force 447th Bomb Group, heavy bomber base known as RAF Rattlesden.  The site is now used by the Rattlesden Gliding Club.

Reviewed by: Dave Brown (2010)


Author's Synopsis

An American Family in War II is the story of a young B-17 pilot, his parents and sisters, captured in the extraordinary collection of 800 letters that tell the story of one family's daily struggle to keep faith and hope alive.  Starting in February 1943, Lee Minker writes from eight different U.S. Army Air Corps training camps, the voices of the family come from mother's kitchen, dad's office, Shirley's dorm room, Bernice on the front porch. The letters capture daily events as they happened; race riots, theft at the rationing board, black-outs, military stalemate in the Pacific and Europe, the lonely holidays and missed birthdays.  And then, the conversation gains new tension as their son and brother leaves for a base "somewhere in England."  

Unlike any other story of World War II, An American Family is the diary of an entire family from February 1943 to the end of the war.  Eighteen year old Lee Minker's letters contain complete detail of the rigors of pilot training, as he progressed through flying the Piper cub at age 18 to taking command of a B-17 crew just after his 20th birthday and then flying missions 37 missions over Nazi Germany.  The letters from the homefront nurtured and sustained him, all the while leaving a highly detailed record of life in America, totally changed by war.  This is our history, as people lived it, their voices poignantly speaking to us.  The timeless correspondence of the five members of the Minker family will resonate not only with those who remember those years, but with those separated from loved ones in war zones today.

An American Knight by Norman Fulkerson

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MWSA Review

Seldom does a book's story live up to its potential; An American Knight was much more than just a true tale about an American hero. This book delivers the riveting life experiences of a real hero without any worry about being politically correct in today's world. The author Norman Fulkerson takes us right to the heart of the man and his black and white world of morals and righteousness. The author does not meekly skip past those elements that made John Ripley idolized by his fellow Marines and perhaps greatly criticized by social liberals bent on changing the traditions and standards of this national. 

No matter how one feels about women in combat, or about allowing women to attend to all-male military schools - or about his outspokenness about allowing gays to serve in the military - one has to admire Ripley's courage to say what he felt in his heart and not step aside from controversies. He was as uncompromising and courageous on and off the battlefield. His social views certainly made him very few friends on Capitol Hill, or in political circles - and surely ended his military career hopes. 

The section in the book about his heroics in Vietnam are bigger than life exploits which one would expect to see in some Rambo movie. But the key difference is that it was all for real and he risked his life and limb for the mission he was asked to carry out. If you do not understand duty and honor then you will never understand John Ripley. He was all about honor and duty and he was willing to put it all on the line. 

I did not agree with all of what John stood for with regards to his social beliefs but I have to admire his ability to cut through all the superfluous and get right to the point regardless of what the results would be to his career. He was someone that we veterans could admire. He was always true to his self and to his personal beliefs- what more can we ask of anyone. 

I personally recommend this book regardless of your political and social views - it will teach you about true courage.

Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2010)


Author's Synopsis

This first cradle-to-grave biography of Colonel John W. Ripley provides readers with the complete story about a great man who is considered by Marines, such as General Carl Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, to be on the same level as legends Chesty Puller and Dan Daly.

Colonel Ripley is most commonly known for his heroics in Vietnam during the Easter Offensive of 1972, where Colonel Gerald Turley ordered him to hold and die, in the face of over 30,000 North Vietnamese and 200 enemy tanks. John Ripley proceeded to blow the Dong Ha bridge, preventing the enemy from crossing. He unhesitatingly obeyed and earned the nation s second highest honor, the Navy Cross.

As stunning as the Dong Ha story is, there was much more to Colonel John Ripley. An American Knight: The Life of Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC narrates his early life and the influences which shaped his personality.

In youth, he was a rambunctious Huckleberry Finn who spent his days getting into all kinds of mischief in Radford, Virginia. The stories from this time period, so well narrated in An American Knight, will leave the reader with at least a smile, if not a laugh.

After his mischievous Huckleberry Finn days in Radford, he learned to discipline his wild side and, in spite of his intellectual weaknesses, went on to graduate from the Naval Academy. The strength of will with which he accomplished this task was later applied on the battlefield, where he earned the status of legend during his first tour in Vietnam as a 28-year-old Captain.

Readers will also get to know about John Ripley, the father, but more importantly the chaste husband. When he was approached by people wanting to make a movie about his life he agreed as long as his character was not portrayed as having a romantic relationship in Vietnam. I have never been, he said, nor will I ever be unfaithful to my wife.

The final chapters narrate the struggle Colonel Ripley endured with a bad liver. He would finally undergo two liver transplants, the last one of which was defined as the most dramatic in history.

If a young officer or Marine ever asks what is the meaning of Semper Fidelis Colonel Ripley once told a friend, tell them my story.

This is his story!

Riding a Donkey Backwards Through Afghanistan by Mick Simonelli

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

The first Military Comptroller at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul reflects on directing America's initial investment towards creation of an Afghan National Army.  Abruptly redirected to duty in Afghanistan, journeyman comptroller Simonelli shares how vast cultural differences, customs, personalities, and expectations collide when there is no playbook to begin a new army.  The reader will appreciate the dedication displayed by Simonelli's small, nine-person financial team and empathize with the dilemma they faced.  Chain of command fiascos and other human dynamics wreaked havoc on financial priorities, and I could hardly fathom the size of this army-building project.  With no local markets to buy from and Central Command back stateside directing the limited funds in unworkable fashion, the author accurately and metaphorically describes how he, "built an airplane during flight."  Included are funny, sad, bitter and sweet encounters that will give the reader a view of what it takes to dig a garden with only the handle of the hoe.  I recommend this book for those who are interested in America's war effort in Afghanistan, and for comptrollers / managers that appreciate knowing how to direct a bigger-than-life program.       

Reviewed by: Hodge Wood (2010)


Author's Synopsis

A behind-the-scenes account of America's critical effort to build an Afghanistan National Army.  Written from the unique vantage point of the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, this book reveals the inside story of the United States' army-building efforts. As the first comptroller responsible for funding the Afghanistan National Army, Mick earned the Bronze Star Medal while spending $400 million taxpayer dollars and planning the spending for $2.1 billion more.

Truman and MacArthur by Don Farinacci

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MWSA Review

One of the Best Books on Truman & MacArthur. The younger American generation has little clue as to what actually happened in the Korean War--it is truly a lost history.  Author Donald Farinacci puts together a largely unknown and misunderstood part of that era with his revealing book about the relationship between two of the giants of that period of our history--President Truman and General MacArthur. 
 
There are still many historians that feel General Macarthur was right.  The debate still rages on because of the present day world problems with both China and North Korea. Farinacci chronicles past events and brings them alive. He skillfully documents events while weaving in brilliant his narratives.  
 
"Truman and MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common Cause" is one of the best books I have ever read on this subject matter. If you were only going to read one book about the Korean War and the politics of this time period, then this would be the book that you must read first to gain a better understanding of what happened and why. 

 I highly recommend this book for those interested in history, politics and war. It is informative and actually entertaining.  I would rank this book right up there as one of the top 25 books ever written on that time of our history.  

Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2010)


Author's Synopsis

The author's purpose in writing this book was to tell a story of events which occurred during a brief but momentous period in American history, involving two extraordinary men, President Harry S. Truman and General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. The story tells of their interaction during a time of grave national crisis, how they veered badly off course and ultimately collided head-on. It was a collision which both altered the course of history and irreparably changed their personal destinies. 

What is related here is first and foremost a human story, but one that plays out against the panorama of the Korean War--a nasty, brutish and fearsome slice of hell where what was at stake was nothing less than the determination of whether the Communist Sino-Soviet alliance would gain dominion by force over large regions of the continent of Asia or be contained and held in check by a coalition of United Nations Forces led by the United States. 

As the drama unfolded during a critical period of approximately ten months in 1950 and 1951, the all-pervasive tension holding the principal players in its grip was the ever-present threat of nuclear war looming over all of humankind. 

Other larger-than-life personalities also emerge in this epic tale and are interspersed with the two main characters. They include Eighth Army Commander Matthew B. Ridgway, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, South Korean President Syngman Rhee, NATO Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ambassador Averell Harriman, Army General Walton W. Walker, Marine General O.P. Smith, Army Chief of Staff J. Lawton Collins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Omar Bradley, and Marine Colonel "Chesty" Puller. Every one of them played an integral role in the drama and some of them such as Ridgway, Acheson, Marshall and Eisenhower actually changed the course of history. But, the overarching giants of this tale are Truman and MacArthur. Their saga of 1950-1951 underscores the fact that no matter what the magnitude of events, history is still primarily a collection of stories about people. 

This is one of those stories--one that is part of the larger framework of the forty-five year-long Cold War, but one that is surpassed in importance by none other in that singularly perilous epoch of world history.

Fortress Rabaul by Bruce Gamble

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MWSA Review

The Second World War was fought by millions of men, and women, in ten thousand places, in a condensed hellish time period of over one thousand, three hundred days.  It was fought in huge massed battles on four continents, bloody assaults on dozens of islands, man to man in streets, and jungles, in the air, and on virtually every surface of the earth's oceans.  Acts of heroism, sacrifice, and defiance occurred daily for almost four years, most of which went undocumented, and have been lost to the march of time. History remembers the large encounters between armies, navies, and air forces, but has a tendency to overlook many events that were more drawn out, in favor of the more spectacular.  The battle for Rabaul, the geographic center of the New Guinea/ Solomon Island campaign, is one of them.  Bruce Gamble's book, Fortress Rabaul reminds us that here was a compelling, never ending battle worthy of the same awe inspired by D Day, or Okinawa, with heroism to match.  After reading this well documented, detailed account of that battle saga, the reader is reminded that the war might be remembered by brief, hot spots of engagement, but, it was won by constant, grinding, and, determined daily fighting that mostly occurred without herald.  In that respect, the battle for Rabaul, which lasted three and one-half years, was a microcosm of the entire war. 
 
This is a history book that reads like a novel, with fine narrative, and researched players on both sides of the conflict.  Air planes and ships are sunk by real people, who we get to know thanks to the author's diligent need to recognize, by name, and personality, the participants.  He has immortalized those brave souls who fought over Rabaul, by researching faces, and personalities that we can identify with.  All American kids next door, and, the names of savage enemy combatants whose actions should be placed right alongside those of their sadistic Nazi allies. Also revealed are the personalities of some of our country's most storied leaders, such as MacArthur, and the egos that motivated them, and, framed many of their decisions.
 
This is not a dry book. It is alive with fast paced narration of a battle that, by the very nature of its' endlessness, got pushed to the back burner of media scrutiny, because it was always there, just like the war itself. A hearty recommendation for aviators who, like this reviewer, have a fascination for the grand old war birds of that era, history buffs, or, anyone who wants to know what the horrible under belly of unrelenting war really looks like.

Reviewed by: Bob Flourny (2010)


Author's Synopsis

For most of World War II, the mention of Japan's island stronghold sent shudders through thousands of Allied airmen. Some called it "Fortress Rabaul," an apt name for the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific. Drawing upon a vast array of Japanese as well as Allied sources, award-winning author Bruce Gamble chronicles Rabaul's crucial role in theater operations. Millions of square feet of housing and storage facilities supported a hundred thousand soldiers and naval personnel. Simpson Harbor and the airfields were the focus of hundreds of missions by American air forces. Fortress Rabaul details a critical and, until now, little understood chapter in the history of World War II.

New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah by Richard Lowry

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MWSA Review

New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah is award-winning author, Richard Lowry's Opus Magnus. Well-documented, mapped, footnoted, and indexed to enhance comprehension of military terminology, this important piece of American history is as moving as a historical novel and as scholarly as a text book.  It's a small piece that packs an enormous wallop.
 
Unlike other historians who focus solely on battle strategies and tactics, Lowry also introduces the reader to the participants--from the Generals to the Privates--by name. As a result, I shuddered as the Blackwater Contractors were murdered and mutilated in Fallujah -- because this time, they weren't strangers but four men with names -- Westley Batalona, Jerry Zovko, Scott Helvenston, and Michael Teague.  I felt like I was with Gunny Popaditch as he charged into the city to clear out the insurgents -- and I was distressed as any friend would be when he was wounded.  Throughout the battle, I held my breath and prayed for the safety of real people with mothers and fathers and wives and children -- men like Juan Rubio, Benny Alicea, Matthew Smith, and Jason Arellano.
  
For American tax payers who have come to expect the complications associated with inter-service rivalries, this book highlights the cooperative spirit between the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines that made this mission successful. Lowry allows the reader to peek behind the scenes as the Generals define their battle plans, assessing resources and determining who will do what. Then, as the insurgents react, we see Command reassessing and making tactical adjustments.  We see the Army offering up not just the resources that were requested, but the resources that were available.  We see Navy Corpsman risking their lives to bring aid to the wounded and dying.  We watch as the Air Force C130s " Basher and Slasher "rain down death on the enemy--and we gasp at the bravery of young men willing to confront fanatics who came to Fallujah specifically to kill Americans.
 
Battle is grim under the best of circumstances -- and this was a long, sweaty journey into horror.  However, there are moments that make us laugh -- like the time when two officers were talking during a lull in the action. One says to the other, "Let's play the Marine Hymn." They radio back to the Army Psyops group who queues up the tune and broadcasts it. In response to the taunt, the enemy pops up from their hidden positions firing wildly and the Marines pick them off, one by one.  As silence returns, one officer says, "That turned out pretty good. Let's play it again!"
 
New Dawn showcases the close relationships our troops form with each other--so close that they literally risk life and limb to keep other Marines or Soldiers safe. How proud their Mamas must be -- and terrified for them at the same time. On the flip side of that intensity, we can intuit that these young men will grieve for friends who couldn't be saved for the rest of their lives.  
 
Lowry's book concentrates on what happened. He wisely leaves the why to be argued in other venues. He simply tells the world about Richard Natonski and Tom Metz and John Sattler and Pat Malay and Mike Shupp and Willy Buhl and Craig Tucker and Gary Patton and many others who guided our forces through this tough and frustrating assault.  He shows us how men like Jeff Lee, Jason Clairday, Brad Kasal, and Jeremiah Workman came to be recognized for their heroism--and he reminds us about Ed Iwan, Antoine Smith, Steve Faulkenburg, Chris Adlesperger, and the others who didn't make it back alive.
 
I've been carrying this book around and showing it to everyone I meet.  I tell them that it's the real deal. I don't tell them that this story makes me cry sometimes when it's dark and I'm all alone. 

Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2010)


Author's Synopsis

New Dawn is the story of the kids who grew up down the block and then flew halfway around the world to fight in the battle that changed the war in Iraq. Richard S. Lowry places you among the brave men and women who fought a determined enemy at the crossroads of civilization. This is the tale of their courage, sacrifice and valor. 
 
Richard tells the stories of the men and women who fought to clear Fallujah, Iraq's most violent city. This is no ordinary historical account. Richard provides gripping narratives of individual sacrifice and valor while documenting the battle for military historians. He weaves a page-turning story that will educate and entertain in a style reminiscent of Cornelius Ryan's Longest Day.
 
New Dawn opens with the brutal murder, bludgeoning and burning of four Blackwater security contractors, followed by the aborted first assault and tense standoff during the spring and summer of 2004. Then, New Dawn tells the complete story of the massive final attack as seen through the eyes of those who were there.
 
Walk down the narrow city streets and into the courtyards, kitchens and bedrooms of Fallujah. Venture into the unknown as young soldiers and Marines kick in door after door, never knowing if they will be greeted by an incensed insurgent or a cowering Iraqi family. This is a story of young Americans at war.  

Nam Sense by Arthur Wiknik

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Nam Sense is an excellent account of the author's own experience with the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam, during the war, April 1969 - March 1970.  In setting forth his own story, Arthur Wiknik superbly illustrates the challenges that our Viet Nam veterans faced simply trying to survive their tours of duty during the war.  His narrative style in setting forth his experiences makes the book an enjoyable, informative read for anyone wanting to learn more about a soldier's life in the conflict.  I was very pleased that the author didn't focus his book solely on his combat experiences, but took time to portray what daily life was like for him.  In doing so, he has made this book a far more valuable resource.  I was also impressed that the book included numerous photographs and a map highlighting key locations relevant to his story.

This book is very well presented.  I recommend it to everyone who is interested in learning more about a soldier's life in the Viet Nam war and to anyone who is a military history buff.

Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Nam Sense is the story of a combat squad leader in the 101st Airborne Division in the thick of combat during the Vietnam War. The author was a 19-year-old kid from New England when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968. After completing various NCO training programs, he was promoted to sergeant "without ever setting foot in a combat zone" and sent overseas in early 1969. Shortly after his arrival on the far side of the world he was assigned to Camp Evans, the 101st Airborne's northern most base camp only thirty miles from Laos and North Vietnam. On his first jungle patrol, his squad killed a female Viet Cong who turned out to have been the local prostitute. It was the first dead person he had ever seen. 
 
Arthur Wiknik's account of life and death in Vietnam includes everything from skirmishes with the Viet Cong and combat with NVA regulars to base camp hijinks, including faking insanity to get some R&R. The 101st Airborne was one of the last U.S. outfits to launch full-blooded offensives in Vietnam, and its assault on the NVA stronghold in the A Shau Valley has since become the stuff of legend. Wiknik was the first man in his unit to reach the top of "Hamburger Hill" during this famous operation, the last one in which Americans attacked rather than defended in order to reduce their casualties. Later, the author discovered an enemy weapons cache, thus preventing an attack on his advance fire support base. Between episodes of combat he mingled with the locals, tricked unwitting stateside food companies into providing his platoon a year's worth of hard to get edibles and after defying a superior officer was punished with a dangerous mission. All this time, he struggled with himself and his fellow soldiers as the anti-war movement back home began to affect their ability to wage victorious war.
 
Nam Sense unveils the battlefields of Vietnam with a unique blend of candor, irony, and humor--and it spares nothing and no one in its attempt to accurately convey the true experience of the combat soldier during this unpopular war. This work does not fixate on heroism or glory, haunting flashbacks, or soldiers wallowing in self-pity. It instead portrays ordinary young Americans thrown into strange yet brutally violent circumstances, while only seeking to uphold the honor of their comrades and country. The GIs Wiknik lived and fought with during his year-long tour did not rape, murder, or burn villages, were not strung out on drugs, and did not enjoy killing. They were simply there to do their duty as they were trained, and to try to get home alive.
 
"The soldiers I knew," explains the author, "demonstrated courage, principle, kindness, and friendship--all the elements found in other wars Americans have proudly fought in." 

Roadside Bombs by William Little

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

William Little is a lucky man. He is alive to tell this story -- even though he paid an enormous price in personal well-being and time away from his family. We are fortunate that Little, badly wounded in Iraq, has written this tidy little book.  Although there's been a lot of press about the use of security contractors to supplement military resources and support business activities in a very dangerous country, this is the first book that I've read that explores what it was like for the security officers themselves.

Roadside Bombs and Democracy begins with the author's first experience as a security contractor in Kosovo. He explains that he had the necessary skills, the desire to help, and an understanding family. For a man of his age, in good health, and with a strong resume in law enforcement, the money was excellent and it seemed like a good way to make a meaningful contribution to the War on Terror. His time in Kosovo was an interesting foray into a different culture dealing with the impact of war. While not safe, it did not truly prepare Little for the chaos of Iraq -- but it did give him the opportunity to work there. Iraq was alluring because it seemed to be the very place where people like Little were needed and of course, the salary was commensurate with that need.

The author tells his story with little elaboration -- perhaps because Iraq needs no frills.  Although this memoir has the feel of a journal, it is still a page turner.  The red and brown cover with a picture of a burning Hummer and the title itself gives the reader some idea of what it coming, yet the casual description of daily life is both mundane and gripping.  First at a Baghdad compound where the author is assigned to examine hundreds of Iraqi citizens eager to get very dangerous jobs as Iraqi police officers -- and then later as support for various police stations in Basra, Little is alert and wary -- and the reader doubts that such a wise man would be a victim through carelessness. Then, as the story develops, the readers realize that no one is safe in such a situation. We also see a growing sense of disillusionment in the author. Like many military veterans report, he'd gone to work in this environment hoping to make a difference -- and eventually the enormity of the problems begin to overwhelm and frustrate even the most patience, pragmatic, and determined.  A feeling also overwhelms the readers that perhaps the author's luck has run out -- just about the time that it does.

A well-written and personal view of war from a non-traditional source that drives home the problems in Iraq -- and definitely worth a read!

Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2010)


Author's Synopsis

This book is a narrative of my personal experiences working overseas as an International Police Advisor in Kosovo with the U.N. and in Iraq.

Missions of Fire and Mercy by William Peterson

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

There's not much difference between Missions of Fire and Mercyand other combat memoirs. Bill Peterson decides to drop out of college and join the Army in 1967. He must explain his decision to worried parents.  His father is a World War II veteran and understands Bill's need to find himself as a warrior. His girlfriend of four years may or may not understand -- but he feels her support and knows that she will wait for him. So, eager to do the right thing, Bill signs up for helicopters,  goes through training, makes close friends, and volunteers for Vietnam. The Army accepts Bill's offer and off he goes on the first real adventure of his adult life. 

I've read the same story a thousand times...in fact, I can't stop reading these stories. These were the friends of my youth and each time one left, I watched them go with a combination of anger, fear, and frustration.  Why was it that as the daughter of a combat veteran, I began grieving the day they left for basic training?  

However, there's something about this rendition that's especially heart-rending. Maybe it's Bill Peterson's considerable talent as a writer. Perhaps it's because I can remember exactly what I was doing on the days that he was risking his life to insert and extract other grim young soldiers in and out of hell. The throbbing beat of the Rolling Stones blend with the whop of helicopter rotors in the ears of my generation like a rock and roll anthem of confusion, pain, bravery, anxiety, and good intentions. Bill's year in Vietnam played out against societal chaos where right and wrong no longer seemed so pristinely white and black--only Bill saw it all up close and personal while I heard about it from boys with the eyes of old men.  

As the tale unfolds in Missions of Fire and Mercy, Bill allows the reader to watch as his innocent eagerness melts away like a Hershey bar in the back pocket of my jeans. Perhaps because he is up front about his fear and horror, we understand why he is compelled to fly day after day. Bill and the other helicopter crews flew long after it was no longer fun. They flew not because they were ordered to. They flew not even because they were brave -- although they were most assuredly that. They flew because their friends and comrades relied on them. The wounded needed them. Those under fire needed them. No, they flew because they knew they must--and other young men are alive today because they did.  

And after it was all over, some came home and others didn't. Families and friends grieved for those that were lost. However, for most, life went on. Some things changed and others didn't. The worst that could have happened never did, and bad things we never dreamed of came to pass. No one knows if it was right or wrong, worth it or not -- but we do know that these young men were magnificent like their fathers before them. It's impossible to read Bill's book and not know this.

Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Memoir of my Vietnam tour with C/227th AHB, 1st Air Cavalry in 67-68 as a Huey crew chief/door gunner. This book relates both missions of fire and missions of mercy. This will put the reader in the crew chief seat and take him/her on the ride of their life that they can't possibly experience anywhere else. "White Robe Six" (the aircrew's call sign for God), is given praise often as He protects the flight crews from almost certain death. The subject of PTSD is touched on and highly recommends that Vets seek the free help that is out there. The purpose of Missions Of Fire And Mercy is not only to reach Vets and assure them that they need not have the guilt complex that many have. In addition, it teaches the loved ones of the Vet what they not only experienced, but what they are still haunted with in so many cases.

My Last War by Charles Grist

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Charles M. Grist has written the story of a young man who served first as an officer in Vietnam, a career public servant (police officer), and last as a non-commissioned officer in Iraq. His life has been dedicated to serving his country but his words are humble and appreciative. Grist writes about his C.O.B.R.A. team in Iraq, formed and trained to protect a general officer he learned to respect tremendously. His mission was to protect the general and keep his team safe; he did both.  He loved his team like extended family. Grist pays homage to the greatest hero in his life as well--his wife. Grist tells a story with the experience and wisdom of an American soldier and servant to a country he loves--and it is his own.  His "last war" is contrasted with memories that linger from his first experience with war. I highly recommend this book for the intellectually mature reader.  

Reviewed by: Mike Mullins (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Central Florida police officer Charles M. Grist is one of the few Vietnam veterans to have served as an enlisted soldier in the Iraq war. In 2004, he volunteered to be the sergeant-in-charge of the Protective Service Detail for an Army Reserve general in Baghdad.
 
Grist and his unit, the C.O.B.R.A. Team, were based inside Baghdad's Green Zone, but their travels with the general led them along the deadly roads of Baghdad, to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, and through the picturesque hills of Kurdistan. It was a fast-paced life of high adventure, filled with convoys, mortar or rocket attacks, and the constant threats of ambushes or improvised explosive devices.
 
As a Vietnam veteran, Grist knew that Operation Iraqi Freedom would be his last war. He used his daily journal to record his team's wartime experiences, to document the events that shaped Iraq in 2004, and to preserve the heroic deeds of some of the Army Reserve and National Guard warrior-citizens with whom he served. That journal became the basis for this book.

The Burntwaters Cook’s Kitchen Guide by David Michaelson

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Could have been titled The Complete Cooking Guide for Idiots. This is as simple as it gets proving one can be a good cook without spending a small fortune on ingredients requiring an 1/8th of a teaspoon and toss the rest away.  Tired of recipes requiring tons of special ingredients, then this book is for you. The authors approach was to keep it simple this creates more interest and improves the families' culinary experiences without great expense, time or trouble.

Recipes are easy to follow and place the emphasis on how and taste, taste after all is an individual experience, different strokes for different folks. How is approached like a campaign; example -- cut into quarters or cube, wow, great but not for me or my family.  Or melt the chocolate in a double boiler, what a great idea, how about adding hot cream to prevent it from seizing.  

Explanations abound, kid friendly recipes, what to stock and how to measure, it's all in here.

Looking for a cooking guide or another cook book for your kitchen, but tired of all the multi page instructions and exotic or seldom used spices, this is your book, trip over yourself on the way to the local book store and get your copy before the 'Chefs Union' bans it sale.

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2010)


Author's Synopsis

A cookbook for the overworked, the overwhelmed and the inept.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Retailers and anyone selling anything need more than hope to reach their customers.  Carolyn Howard-Johnson has written an excellent "How-To" guide that even a novice can follow.  In-Store promotions is not as it sounds, but rather a method to follow regardless of where or how one sells.

Promotion is the key to success, do none and you stand small chance of succeeding.  If all you do is write a book you are performing half the job.  This book can be set out in a simple formula; promotion = recognition = sales = success.  If success is your goal then doing something to improve your business is essential and in this book it is made easy, and key parts offer inexpensive methods for doing so.

I recommend this book to anyone in any business, fixed store location or web-business.  The ideas and approaches have application to both and more; it is not just for the corner stationary store or the local tire shop.

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Retailers need more than crossed fingers to get and keep customers. In-store promotion--everything from in-store branding to events--is the most effective and economical way to do that. This book gives retailers the benefit of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's nearly three decades experience as founder and manager of her own chain of stores, a stint as a New York publicist and as a retail consultant and journalist. It is the first in the Survive and Thrive series for retailers in her USA Book News award-winning HowToDoItFrugally.com books. 

MST: Military Sexual Trauma by Miette Wells

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

MST: Military Sexual Trauma provides an excellent introspective review of the unique aspects affecting sexual trauma victims.  The book focuses both on the victims and the culture of the military community that is the environment in which the victims live.

The author does a very good job of describing the characteristics of life in the military with its camaraderie, command structure, lack of freedoms, discipline and loss of privacy.  The book then expertly describes how that culture accentuates the dilemma for someone who has just survived an MST.  In the process a number of resources for counseling, healing, and even disability claims are identified for the reader.
The author covers a lot of ground in a rather short book discussing a topic that has been the focus of many lengthy studies.  It provides a compelling case that the issues surrounding MST have not been resolved.

While the author does an excellent job identifying the extraordinary set of complicating factors a victim of MST faces, I had a hard time believing that victims' situations were so universally mishandled in the military.  

The book is well presented and maintains an excellent focus.

Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Military Sexual Trauma is a traumatic event from which many victims never fully recover. There is a uniqueness to MST which separates it from other traumas, even other sexual traumas. This book is the result of personal experience and research into the reality of thousands of US soldiers, past and present that encountered MST.

MST: Military Sexual Trauma provides an introspective and eye-opening look into a world that few survive unscarred.

Miette Wells joined the Air Force after high school in 1987 with an aspiration for a career in the military. Like so many others her ambitions were bashed when she has her first encounter with MST. After her military memoir authorship, Crossing the Blue Code and Beyond The Blue Code, numerous accounts of similar experiences flooded her email inbox. She decided there is much more she can do to bring MST to the knowledge of the general public.

The Politics & Security of the Gulf by Jeffrey Macris

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

THE POLITICS AND SECURITY OF THE GULF delivers an excellent, in-depth, hundred year history of British and American involvement in the security of the Arabian Gulf Region.  After a short historical perspective, this scholarly work provides outstanding insight into the basis of that involvement. 

Jeffrey Macris does a superb job in illustrating the changing British and American security and political objectives in the area. Concurrently, he describes how this Western involvement helped shape the region into what it is today.  The author's focus on detail along with his extensive notes and bibliography section make this book a superb resource for students of Middle East history and security.  His narrative approach in setting forth that history makes it an enjoyable, informative read for anyone wanting to learn more about the subject.

I was very pleased that the author kept a sharp focus on historical facts, while leaving political opinions and biases out of the book.  In doing so, he has made this book a far more valuable resource.  I was also impressed that the book included dozens of photographs and the original text of numerous military and political documents to help elaborate and substantiate the author's reporting of historical events.

The book is very well presented.  I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in learning more about this topic.  I would classify it as a must read for students of Middle East history and military history. 

Reviewed by: Bob Doerr (2010)


Author's Synopsis

The United States and its military have fought in three hot wars in the Persian Gulf over the past generation -- the Iran-Iraq War, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom -- but what do we know about what brought our nation to this turbulent and unforgiving region? "The Politics and Security of the Gulf," written by a Permanent Military Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, looks at two centuries of Persian Gulf history, and how the armies and navies of Great Britain and the United States have shaped the region. The book examines how both London and Washington's leaders tended to three enduring missions in the Gulf: maintaining interstate order, protecting trade, and keeping out other Great Powers. For over a century Britain did this with a relatively modest amount of power -- primarily naval -- while drawing upon its vast Indian army when needed.  After World War II, however, the loss of Britain's empire ultimately forced London to withdraw, and the last of its ships and aircraft withdrew from inside the Strait of Hormuz in 1971. Offered the keys to British military bases, the Americans declined to replace the British as security guarantors for the Gulf. In the vacuum that followed, two decades of political, economic, and military chaos ensued: the 1973 oil crisis, the fall of the Shah, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that portended a possible further thrust toward the Gulf, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  After each of these foreign policy catastrophes, the United States took an incremental step toward the region. When Washington elected to set up a permanent military presence in the Gulf following 1991's Desert Storm, the U.S. essentially had assumed the same missions that the British had fulfilled in the 19th and 20th centuries: maintaining interstate order, protecting trade, and keeping out other Great Powers.

The Military Father by Armin Brott

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

An excellent reference for dads, The Military Father covers issues pertinent to men. Much broader than the title implies, the book covers military and civilian fathers who face a "long-distance" relationship with their wife and children.
 
The book encompasses a wide spectrum of possible reactions to deployment -- from the view of the dad being deployed, the spouse, children at various age levels, single dads, dual military families and the dad at home when the mom is deployed. It covers active-duty military, reservists and civilian/government workers.
 
What makes this book exceptional is Brott's attention to the details of family life. Written is an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow format, the author lays it on the line. His advice ranges from telling fathers to record their voices for their unborn children and planning online games with teenagers to comforting and preparing spouses.
 
He deals with fathers from pre-deployment through coming back home and facing PTSD. Appendices cover a wide aspect of issues including a pre-deployment checklist, stages of childhood development and available resources.
 
Brott writes with respect for all family members, their emotions and the problems they encounter. He is straight-forward and specific, addressing tough and personal issues. He never assumes that all dads, marriages, children and situations can be "buttered with the same knife." He speaks of regret, guilt and loneliness as well as independence, commitment and love.
 
Dads will relate to the preparation, feelings and problems addressed. Mothers and children will better understand that deployment is as hard for the one far away, as it is for those waiting at home.
 
I would recommend this book to every person facing the deployment of a spouse or partner.

Reviewed by: Pat McGrath Avery (2010)


Author's Synopsis

Fathers today play a greater role with their families and children than ever before. However, military dads and dads-to-be are often separated from their families for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, there are very few resources for military (and deployed civilian) fathers, who are looking for guidance on how to be in close touch with their families back home. The Military Father, written by the country's leading authority on fatherhood, will fill that gap, providing deployed dads with everything they need to know to stay (or become) involved with and connected to their family regardless of the distance that separates them. 
 
Part I of this essential sourcebook covers pre-deployment and explores the profound effect a dad's absence will have on his spouse, his children, and himself. It also provides extensive pre-deployment checklists and detailed tips aimed at preparing the dad and his family for separation and long-distance communication. Part II, During Deployment, explains how to stay involved and connected when you're far away, and includes specific strategies and activities designed to help dads and their family remain close across time and distance. Part III, Coming Home, offers advice on post-deployment times from preparing to come home and surmounting the challenges of returning to military or civilian life. In addition, the book includes a chapter on how dads can support a spouse when she's the one being deployed, and a comprehensive listing of resources available to soldiers and their families. 
 
Flavored with the author's trademark wit, warmth, and intelligence, this guide combines a wealth of knowledge from experts, scientific studies, and interviews with scores of military fathers and their families. 
 
The Military Father includes cartoons that complement the text, solicited from deployed military or civilian fathers and family members, ranging from those on active duty to veterans.