The Third Reich's Last Eagle; by Bob Mustin

MWSA Review
This is the story of one German flying Experten from June 1941 through the summer of 1945.  Hans Ulrich Rudel (Uli) was the most highly decorated member of the German Armed Forces during WWII.  This fictionalized account is based on information from German Archives, Rudel’s own writings, and media reports.  Rudel flew an incredible 2,530 combat missions, some after losing his left leg below the knee while his right leg was still healing from an earlier wound.  As the war developed, Rudel became much more aware of strategy and the errors that were being committed by his superiors.  He was repeatedly ordered to stop flying by his superiors, including the Fuhrer, but he was always able to convince them that his leadership and strategic knowledge were needed in the eastern front.  He work ethic came from his preacher father, and his endurance came from his athleticism.  He did not drink, but he did like his sweets.  

The author always makes clear where each section of the book is taking place.  And pages that are not directly part of Rudel’s story (such as on location with Hitler or Stalin) are italicized.  At times, I wished for a map to show the locations where the wing was located and where it was attacking, but then I accepted that this is not a history book.  Rather, it is a story of a dedicated warrior.  

The Prologue, the Epilogue, and the cover of the book are well designed to give the full story of a flying ace from a point of view not usually studied.
Reviewed by Nancy Kauffman, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
The Third Reich's Last Eagle is a fictionalized account of Hans Ulrich Rudel, the most highly decorated member of the German armed forces during WWII. Rudel was a Stuka pilot on the Eastern Front credited with 513 tanks, one battleship, two cruisers, four destroyers, four armored trains and sufficient artillery and transport vehicles to equip a few Russian divisions. In addition, he shot down nine Russian fighter aircraft flying a bomber with the aerial possibilities of an 18-wheeler. He won the equivalent of five medals of honor along with numerous other decorations while flying an incredible 2,500 combat sorties. On six occasions he landed behind Russian lines to pick up downed pilots and crews. He was wounded six times and shot down thirty-three times by ground fire, never by another aircraft. His last wound severed his leg below the knee. He got the plane back to his base and was flying again in less than a month using a home-made prosthesis.

Rudel was a man like no other. The German word Experten defines his flying skills, his incredible loyalty to his comrades, his bravery under the most adverse of situations, his refusal to bemoan the hand fate dealt and his unending desire to excel no matter the odds. Rudel was an Experten---the best of the best in all that came his way.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9985759-1
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 247

The Oath; by Dennis Koller

MWSA Review
An intriguing plot and artful writing make Dennis Koller’s The Oath an entertaining read. Readers will appreciate the author’s ability to bring a scene and its characters to life with just enough detail to make it all pop, without becoming bogged down in over-descriptive narratives. Adventure and thriller fans’ appetite for a rush will be well satiated with the twists and turns throughout this book.

Koller displays an innate understanding of the plight of Vietnam POWS as well as the intricacies of police work. He weaves these experiences together to create a plausible and compelling picture of the immense struggles attached to both. That the homicide investigator who survived the same prison camp as the killer he now seeks creates a clear conflict as he must choose between his allegiance to the law and the oath he and the killer once took. The tension builds as readers are drawn into both Tom McGuire’s character and the man he reluctantly hunts.

The Oath’s suspense pulls its readers through each page with a force of its own.
Review by Barbara Allen, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." A lifetime ago, a young naval aviator took the Oath. Tom McGuire, now a San Francisco PD Homicide Inspector, hadn’t thought about the Oath in years. That was all about to change. A famous San Francisco newspaper columnist has been murdered. Some would say “executed”. Shot through the head, her arms tied behind her, knotted together from shoulder to wrist. McGuire feels an eerie chill of recognition. After being shot down over North Vietnam, he suffered seven years as a Prisoner of War in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, enduring rope torture many times – his arms tied in exactly the same way. A lifetime ago, another young naval aviator took that Oath. He also was shot down over North Vietnam, and joined McGuire as a POW in Hanoi. Almost forty years later, their lives were about to intersect once again. This time with explosive consequences. “A dying former POW, four dead women, a world-weary homicide cop and the Vietnam War are expertly woven together in a masterful piece of storytelling that will leave you guessing right until the last few pages of 'The Oath.' This is an excellent book with just the right amount of social commentary woven into its pages to make it not just another murder mystery. Mike Billington Author and Army veteran who spent two tours in Vietnam (awarded Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman's Badge).

ISBN/ASIN: 9780692656730
Book Format(s): Soft cover, ePub, Kindle
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 325

The Devil Dogs of Belleau Wood; by Terrence McCauley

MWSA Review
Award-winning author Terrence McCauley scores again with his short but memorable THE DEVIL DOGS OF BELLEAU WOOD.  This quick read centers around a group of Marines, all from different units, who stumble upon each other after a major German barrage has caused chaos and confusion.  From different backgrounds and with vastly different levels of experience, they bond together with a common goal of surviving just a bit longer in Belleau Wood, the famous World War I battle that made the letters “USMC” feared around the world. 

This story is a prequel, told in first person by Corporal Charlie Doherty, who later becomes the cop hero of two of McCauley’s 1930’s NYC novels, PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN.  A first-person story can be hard to pull off because many authors will slip up and let some form of omniscience slip in, but McCauley pulls it off very well.

I was especially impressed by how McCauley develops his characters in so short a space (entire book was 130 pages) and also with his gripping combat sequences.  He obviously researched WWI combat, and did well with the technological specifics of that conflict.  

Fans of WWI, the Marines, and infantry combat stories will find this enjoyable, memorable, and entertaining.

By Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:


Charlie Doherty, the hero of PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN returns in a novella of World War I.

1918 –As a corrupt patrolman in New York City, Charlie Doherty had the ward bosses of Tammany Hall and other political cronies to watch his back. But in the hell-storm that became known as the Battle of Belleau Wood, only his rifle and his training keep him alive.

After taking cover behind a fallen tree during the worst of the German shelling, Doherty links up with a brave Marine captain and a ragtag crew of survivors who realize the only way out of danger lies not in retreat, but in marching toward the sound of the gunfire. They fight the enemy wherever they find them, hoping to hold back the advancing German tide long enough for the shaken American forces to regroup and re-enforce them. They lean forward. They dig in. They fight back.

Doherty and the others began the day as Marines. But by the time it is over, they will be part of a battle that helped secure the reputation of the United States Marine Corps as one of the most feared fighting forces in the world.

They will become known as THE DEVIL DOGS OF BELLEAU WOOD.

ISBN/ASIN: 1943402159
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 144


The Lone Wolf Agenda; by Joseph Badal

MWSA Review
This 4th novel in the Danforth spy family is again inspired by timely concerns of the ways in which enemies of the United States might operate.  Antagonists who are smart and devious make these stories even more suspenseful.  As current law enforcement personnel have learned, the hardest enemies to combat are those who work alone – the Lone Wolfs.  When intelligence agencies work together, they are able to proceed more quickly.  However, as in real life, you are not always sure of who might be working against you.  A wonderful political and intelligence community thriller.
By Nancy Kauffman, MWSA Reviewer

The Lone Wolf Agenda, a 91,000-word thriller, is the 4th book in the Danforth Saga, which includes Evil Deeds (#1), Terror Cell (#@),The Nostradamus Secret (#3), and Death Ship (#5). This novel was awarded the 1st place prize for fiction in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. It is based on current events, and melds the dynamics of oil and gas markets, the threat to OPEC of increased United States oil and gas production, lone wolf terrorists, and the introduction of a new CIA/DELTA Force initiative called Operation Lone Wolf.

The Lone Wolf Agenda offers another roller coaster ride of action and suspense as Bob Danforth returns to the CIA to manage a new program titled Operation Lone Wolf, created to combat single terrorists who infiltrate the United States. The story reintroduces Bob’s son, Michael, who is a senior officer with DELTA. It also introduces Carlos Garcia, a State Police Officer from New Mexico, who is recruited to play an integral role in the investigation of a terrorist attack that destroys the Santa Fe Airport and a private jet carrying a group of influential U.S. oil and gas executives.
Part I deals with the terrorist attacks and the initial investigation into those attacks. It follows the actions of a lone wolf terrorist who moves from Philadelphia, to Santa Fe, to Flagstaff, to Fresno, and, finally, to Bismarck. His ultimate assignment is to murder hundreds of energy company executives and politicians attending a dinner in Bismarck. 

Bob Danforth is recruited out of retirement to head up Operation Lone Wolf, which is managed by the CIA and supported by DELTA Force. 

Bob’s son, Michael, is a brigadier general with DELTA and is assigned the mission of tracking down the terrorist that perpetrated the attacks in Santa Fe. This assignment takes Michael and a DELTA team to Bismarck, where intelligence has tracked the terrorist. 

The terrorist is captured by Michael’s team and sent to a secret CIA location in Panama for interrogation.

Part II of The Lone Wolf Agenda brings in intelligence-generated information that the terrorist captured in Bismarck is only one of eight such terrorists will be infiltrated into the United States through Mexico, with the assistance of the head of the Guadalajara drug cartel. This drug lord, Jacobo Alvarez, is a vicious, powerful criminal, who is also the estranged uncle of Carlos Garcia, the New Mexico State Police Officer working with the anti-terrorism unit in Santa Fe.

Carlos works with Michael’s DELTA unit, which enters Mexico  to find the terrorists on his uncle’s estate outside Guadalajara. Backed by sophisticated communications systems and drones, the team has expectations of success. But when the President of the United States learns of the CIA/DELTA operation, he pulls the team’s support out of fear of political fallout, abandoning the team and leaving it exposed to Alvarez’s huge, well-armed personal security force. Jack Cole, the Director of Central Intelligence, and Harry Nicolo, the President’s National Security Advisor, disregard the President’s order to abandon the DELTA team and do what they can to prevent the team from being slaughtered. The team suffers casualties while discovering that the drug lord has already transported the terrorists across the U.S. border. But the team captures the drug lord and an Arab who is the liaison with The Black Gold Brotherhood terrorist group.

In Part III, political intrigue threatens to undermine Operation Lone Wolf, Jack Cole, and Harry Nicolo, as they continue to support the CIA/DELTA effort to track down the terrorists who are now in the U.S. The initial assumption is that The Black Gold Brotherhood is supported by Saudi Arabia and is targeting U.S. refineries. But CIA analysts question this as they make the case that non-operating refineries would do damage to Saudi Arabia. Without refineries, the U.S. would have no need to import Saudi oil, since it would have no place to refine that oil. 

Spencer Andrews, a deputy director at the Department of Homeland Security, is a political hack resentful of the “cowboy” tactics employed by the CIA. He begins a campaign to undermine Operation Lone Wolf for personal political gain. He leaks information about the program and DELTA’s incursion into Mexico to a friendly U.S. Senator and to one of his contacts in the media. 

The Black Gold Brotherhood, with the assistance of Hezbollah sleeper cells in Texas, finalizes preparations to attack seven major targets in the United States. Despite reservations, the CIA is still operating on the assumption the targets are the seven largest oil refineries in Texas. DELTA units have been stationed in the vicinity of all seven refineries. But the Company continues to question its assumptions and, just in time, comes to the conclusion the terrorists are targeting oil pipelines, not refineries. By destroying some of the largest pipelines in the U.S., the country will be denied crude oil for its refineries, necessitating increased oil imports from OPEC.

When Jack Cole and Harry Nicolo discover Spencer Andrews is behind the leaks about Operation Lone Wolf, they implement a “false flag” operation in which a video is created showing the Guadalajara drug lord holding captive the DELTA team, threatening to murder all the team members and releasing information about their capture in Mexico. Andrews takes this false information to the President and to a newspaper reporter. As a result, Andrews is discredited and fired.

Part IV deals with the political fallout from the President’s actions, the intended recruitment of Carlos Garcia by the CIA, Harry Nicolo’s retirement, and the re-establishment of normal life for the Danforth family.

Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 385

The Nostradamus Secret; by Joseph Badal

MWSA Review
A "lost" section of Nostradamus' quatrains in the hands of a narcissist steer current events and the United States into a spiral of destruction, deception, and terror in Joseph Badal's The Nostradamus Secret.

Badal pulls his audience in, and holds them captive until the last page is turned.  The author builds on layers of interactions, decisions, and deceptions to reveal a tapestry of suspense in The Nostradamus Secret.  His plausible course of events gives credibility to the plot; his characters are real and engaging, which adds integrity to the events as they unfold.  The reader becomes entangled, unable turn away as the seemingly imminent conclusion unfolds.

The Nostradamus Secret takes us on a horrifying rollercoaster of greed and trickery. Full of action and adventure, the reader is drawn through myriad emotions.  I found myself at the edge of my seat and couldn't wait to see what happened next.  I look forward to reading Joseph Badal's other works.
Reviewed by Sandra Miller Linhart, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
The Nostradamus Secret, the 3rd book in Joseph Badal’s Danforth Saga, is an 118,000-word “secret history” thriller based on the lost quatrains of Michele Nostradamus. These quatrains from Nostradamus’s 7th of 10 centuries (writings of 100 quatrains) have never been found. The author weaves their discovery into the novel and creates the missing quatrains.

The Nostradamus Secret brings Bob Danforth back to the CIA from retirement after his successor there is murdered. That murder is apparently perpetrated by the same group behind the assassinations of hundreds of American celebrities, politicians, and business people, as well as hundreds of ordinary American citizens. These killings occur at the same time that Iran becomes ever more threatening to the United States. What Danforth does not know is that a world-class-wealthy Iranian is behind both the assassinations and Iran’s war plans — all because he believes his rise to power was preordained in the writings of Michele Nostradamus’s “lost quatrains,” which he secretly possesses. 

In the midst of an assassination campaign that targets American icons of industry, banking, sports, politics, and entertainment, the CIA Special Operations boss is murdered. The Agency brings Bob Danforth, the former Special Ops boss, out of retirement to identify the mastermind behind the assassinations. But Danforth’s assignment proves more complicated when Iran becomes intransigent about backing away from its nuclear weapons program, and when an Iranian missile site fires nuclear missiles at Israel and at American troops in the Middle East. The Iranian government claims it did not authorize the attacks.

A shadowy group named The Sons of Ali takes credit for the assassinations. But neither the CIA nor the FBI can identify the organization’s leader. In the meantime, the U.S. President responds to the Iranian missile attacks by first ordering the destruction of the missile site that launched the missiles, and then declaring war on Iran. The President orders an invasion of the country to  overthrow the Islamic government and install in its place a democratic government headed by an Iranian sponsored by the U.S. Vice President and senior officers in the CIA and the State Department. What the President of the United States doesn’t realize is the man he is about to put in power in Iran, Ali Reza Naimzadeh, is the leader of The Sons of Ali, is responsible for the missile attacks, and is the owner of Nostradamus’s lost quatrains.

Naimzadeh is a world-class- wealthy individual who believes his destiny is to rule Iran, to take over the Middle East oil fields, and then to dominate world events. He has arrived at this belief because of the writings of Michele Nostradamus, the 16th Century visionary who prophesied in quatrains from his Seventh Centurie that a leader would rise from Persia and aspire to world domination. (The historical footnote here is that, in actuality, the 43rd-100th quatrains of Nostradamus’s 7th Centurie have never been found. Scholars believe these verses were either lost or destroyed. The author finds them and uses them in the story). These “lost” quatrains have been in the hands of the Naimzadeh family since the late 1500s.

Danforth comes to the conclusion that whoever is behind the assassinations wants to destabilize the U.S. economy and the U.S. government. Then he realizes there may be a traitor in the CIA working with The Sons of Ali, and this traitor has a highly-placed State Department ally who is promoting Naimzadeh as the next President of Iran.

Naimzadeh’s spies make him aware of Danforth’s role. He attempts to neutralize Danforth by sending an assassin to threaten the lives of Danforth’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. 

The U.S. launches an invasion of Iran, including sending Delta Force teams into the country. Among these units is Danforth’s son, Michael, who has been ordered to protect Naimzadeh until his installation as President of Iran. The invasion is successful and Naimzadeh is about to be installed as the country’s leader when Danforth realizes the web of deceit orchestrated by Naimzadeh and his allies could result in the deaths of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and in Naimzadeh’s control of Middle East oil and gas reserves. 

Danforth uncovers the participants in Naimzadeh’s plot – including the U.S. Vice President – and foils it. He discovers Naimzadeh has interpreted some of Nostradamus’s writings as prophesying his success, but only if the U.S. President is eliminated.  Assassins target the President, but are defeated.

The United States assists the new Iranian government, which confiscates Naimzadeh’s fortune. Naimzadeh is arrested by Iran and put on trial.

The U.S. President directs Bob Danforth to deliver to Naimzadeh, who is in an Iranian jail cell awaiting trial, a copy of several of Nostradamus’s quatrains and verses from the Book of Jeremiah of the Bible that appear to predict the downfall of a Persian tyrant. 

The President asks Danforth to take a high level position at the CIA, but Danforth realizes sitting behind a desk would be a fate worse than death, and that his wife can no longer handle his performing field assignments. He decides to retire again and spend more time with the family he has ignored for too long.

Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 468

The View from the Rigging: Memoirs of a Coast Guard Career; by Richard Marcott

MWSA Review
The View from the Rigging is a fascinating and fun memoir of Captain Richard Marcott’s twenty-eight-year career in the Coast Guard. Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania far from the ocean, Marcott is accepted into the Coast Guard Academy and shortly after arriving, off he goes to see the world! And, boy, does he! His decision ultimately takes him around the world and back and forth across the country. His encounters and experiences with people ranging from Okinawan peasants to Ernest Hemingway—as well as numerous personal ups and downs—are richly told. Marcott’s experience as an instructor is a great “teaching moment” (pun intended) for those unfamiliar with the depth of thought and work needed to successfully train individuals from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. At every level, The View from the Rigging is a success.
Review by Dwight Jon Zimmerman, MWSA President & Reviewer


Captain Marcott, a dyed-in-the-wool story teller, reflects on twenty-eight years of intriguing Coast Guard stories that span the cold war, the turbulent sixties, and the period of détente with Russia. More than a book of seagoing adventures; you will warm to his tales of family and friends.
    His scenic descriptions are crisp and real. You will feel you are with him in an Atlantic hurricane, and when he boards a Russian Factory vessel in the Bering Sea. 
    Share his encounters with Ernest Hemingway, Perry Como, Jacques Cousteau, Ambassador Eliot Richardson, and discover how Nikita Khrushchev interrupted his life.    
    Laugh as he outfoxes a Navy blockade and when he stumbles to explain to a Japanese artist why his wedding portrait is wrong.
    Feel his family angst when their infant daughter requires delicate surgery.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-5356-0395-9
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Creative Nonfiction, Memoir
Number of Pages: 343

    “I never cease to be amazed as to how much I learn from Captain Marcott’s memoirs of a fascinating world I never knew existed. The stories are a tribute to his service that he sells with beautiful detail, humor, and pathos.” 
    Dr. Dani Weber, Writing professor.

“If you’ve ever been to sea, you’ll enjoy my friend Dick Marcott’s tales of Coast Guard duty. If you haven’t, this book might count as your first deployment!”
                  David Poyer, author of TIPPING POINT and ONSLAUGHT 

“In my experience, the very best way to learn something is to find a teacher who blends historical facts with the art of story-telling. Dick Marcott proves he’s the master of this approach in The View from the Rigging.  Those of us who paralleled his Coast Guard professional life can smile often remembering our own experiences as Dick reviews his career.  Those who have not, are introduced to the extraordinary professional and personal commitments, made by both service members and their families, to public service in the uniform of their country.  It’s a story told well and highlighted with very real moments of serious accomplishment. We should all be so fortunate to have such stories to tell our grandchildren.”
        Admiral James M. Loy, US Coast Guard (Retired) Commandant 1998-2002

    Captain Marcott graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1957 with a BS in Engineering. He received an MA in Personnel Management from George Washington University. He held commands afloat and ashore, and he was the chief of the Training and Education Division in CG headquarters. Four chapters of his memoir have been published in the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s award winning literary journal, Baily’s Beads.

Raven's Run: A Cybertech Thriller; by John D. Trudel

MWSA Review
Creative story telling at its best

In "Raven's Run," John Trudel weaves an global story of intrigue, murder, and paranormal spying into a fast hard-hitting, action thriller. The novel opens with parallel stories - one in present time that includes the murder of an Iranian harbor master and the other covers early exploration in Antarctica and the 1963 murder of an aviation pioneer with ties to President's Kennedy and Johnson.

The two main characters are Raven — a veteran but ousted CIA counter-terrorist operative — and Josie — a paranormal gifted with an exceptional talent for out-of-body viewing anywhere in the world and at different times now or in the past. The two personalities and backgrounds make an unlikely team for a highly secretive government agency tasked with tracking down where Iran is getting an untraceable supply of uranium.

Using characters well defined and back stories well researched, Trudel logically meshes together the many elements of "Raven's Run." Josie and Raven must solve a 55-year-old murder before solving the current time mystery of Iran's super secret adventure in the frozen continent. Raven's skills with weapons and espionage run contrary to Josie's strong abhorrence to violence. But when she is on an out-of-body mission, Raven becomes frustrated because he can't protect her when she is on a viewing session. Her ventures often cause her to become emotionally drained and physically disabled after witnessing extreme violence, thereby creating emotional conflicts between her and Raven.
The story picks up speed as it progresses and multifaceted situations converge, putting Raven and Josie's lives in jeopardy during a nail biting conclusion. 

"Raven's Run" is a well-written and entertaining read. 
Reviewed by Joe Epley, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
A patriotic rogue agent, RAVEN, is saved by JOSIE, a gentle woman with mystic powers. They face terrorists with Iranian nukes.

When Raven is terminated with prejudice by the government, they must work together to rediscover censored history, expose high treason, solve two historic assassinations, and prevent an apocalyptic attack that would destroy America.

The backstory features some of the most interesting history that you've never heard. Best-selling author Anne Hillerman said, "Raven's Run serves up a giant helping of fascinating history along with memorable characters and hair-raising suspense. Bravo."

My fourth Thriller introduces two major new characters, RAVEN and JOSIE. It features a post-nuclear Iran and a young, naïve, John Black (the male lead in God’s House), along with a high-concept clandestine project of President Kennedy's: A secret initiative that doubled-down on his program to put man on the moon and assert American exceptionalism and power during the time of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis.

Raven's Run contains a mix of fiction, true history, and real threats that pose extreme danger to America.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9978052-2-2, (Kindle Version) ASIN: B00NGUG5OQ
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, ePub, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 375

Passages: A Corrales Writing Group Anthology; by Jim Tritten

MWSA Review
An anthology, by definition, offers readers a collection of unique and differing points of view and writing techniques. The Corrales Writing Group members take it a notch higher by presenting different genres as well. Whether you like humor, fiction or nonfiction, you’re sure to find something to enjoy from these writers. With a well-thought out design, the stories mesh well and the reader easily transitions from one story to the next.

The writers titled the book, Passages, to connote the constant change in their lives, the New Mexican culture and the times. Their connection to their local heritage shines throughout the book. In addition to their writings, they worked with Corrales artists to enrich the book with their creative works.

I especially liked the Entr’actes used as transition pieces. They focus on New Mexico’s culture and as the introduction states, are “highlighting New Mexico quirks, or showing local distinctions in attitude.”

From Jim Tritten’s 21st Century Illustrated Man to Patricia and Walter Walkow’s Our 9/11 Story, the reader is exposed to laughter, thought and a myriad of emotions.

The book left me with a desire to visit New Mexico in the near future.
Review by Pat Avery, MWSA Reviewer

This anthology is created by members of the Corrales Writing Group, located in central New Mexico. From humor to tragedy, from a remembrance of 9/11 to the ways people perceive New Mexico, from a scathingly funny rant on Christmas letters to a magical experience in healing, these writings engage emotions.

Jim Tritten (Navy veteran and MWSA member) wrote four chapters: The Perfect Woman challenges the reader about what constitutes perfection in the fair sex. Sauna Gus describes a Danish sauna and Jim says if you don’t laugh out loud, you don’t have a sense of humor. 21st Century Illustrated Man is creative non-fiction/memoir and documents the author’s anxiety attack while traveling by air in a commercial jetliner. Finally Round Engines is a tongue-in-cheek look at flying aircraft with reciprocating engines with propellers and flying jets.

Thomas Neiman (Army veteran) wrote four chapters: A Clown’s Story is heart-warming memoir of Tom’s volunteer work as a Shriner clown. Overture is the introduction to a hardboiled detective work still in progress. Grasshopper Rant and Hooked contain humorous interchanges between husband and wife.

Patricia Walkow (MWSA member and military spouse) wrote five pieces. A Christmas Letter is a rollicking commentary of how our friends and family communicate with us once a year. Three chapters provide commentary on her experiences in the professional work world as a woman. Pat also includes an extract from a novel, The Far Moist End of the Earth, still in progress. A sixth chapter outlining their experiences after 9/11 was co-written with her husband (Army veteran): 

Chris Allen wrote four pieces: Two humorous short stories detail the trial of introducing a new puppy, Ember, into her home. One wonders why the dog is still in their house after what it did. Booked! Is a humorous account of her difficulty in getting to work as a film extra. The final piece, Horse Wreck, deals with an equine accident and her on-going recovery.

Sandi Hoover wrote one essay: Small Discoveries-Small Delights is a reflection on the seasonal changes noticed in local birds, animals, and plants in our village of Corrales.

Maureen Cooke wrote one chapter: Together Apart: Lily and Her Mother is an extract from a novel still in works. Interpersonal relationships are the subject matter.

Five of the authors wrote very short observations about life in New Mexico that separate the different sections of the anthology. In addition, the group partnered with nineteen local artists and included photographs of paintings, sculpture, etc. used as spacers to separate chapters. These show up in gorgeous color in the Kindle version.

ISBN/ASIN: 1539502279
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, How to/Business, Anthology
Number of Pages: 316


A Shau Valor: American Combat Operations in the Valley of Death, 1963-1971; by Thomas Yarborough

MWSA Review
A Shau Valor, by Thomas R Yarborough—a veteran of 600 combat missions during the Vietnam War—focuses on a relatively small but significant part of Vietnam War: the A Shau Valley.  The valley is located in the northern section of what used to be South Vietnam and lies along the border with Laos.   For most of the war, it was a major entry point for North Vietnamese military personnel, equipment and supplies into the south.  Because of its location and proximity to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, it was an area of consistent, large and bloody battles. Perhaps the best known was the battle for Hill 937 or “Hamburger Hill.”

The book concentrates on the nine years the US fought in this valley, providing a detailed and unflinching look at the US operations in an area often referred to as the "Valley of Death." In doing so, Yarborough provides us with a well-researched and valuable contribution to the historical record.

Yarborough's work is replete with repeated references to the valor of those who served in this hotly-contested section of Vietnam.  In many cases, the details of combat heroism seem to be taken almost directly from the medal citations themselves.  However, given the almost unbelievable bravery these citations document, it’s very appropriate to do so.  It's not Yarborough’s writing that is repetitious; it is the consistent and conspicuous valor of those who fought… and died there.

Highly recommended for those interested in this important part of the War in Vietnam.
Reviewed by John Cathcart, MWSA Awards Director & Reviewer

Military historian Tom Yarborough has written a thoroughly researched and documented study that chronicles the battles and the associated courage, sacrifice, and valor in and around the remote and lethal A Shau Valley, one of the most deadly battlegrounds of the Vietnam War.  Other works have focused on individual battles or units, but A Shau Valor is the first to study the nine year campaign chronologically and within the context of other historical, political, and cultural events.  In addition to covering the strictly military aspects of various campaigns in the A Shau, the author shows how events in both Vietnam and the United States became inexorably linked as domestic dissent and a lack of realistic, viable military strategy ultimately led to America’s first lost war.

      To flesh out the story the author combed numerous military archives for individual cases of conspicuous gallantry in action, to include Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and Air Force Cross citations.  In effect, those heroic deeds, those incredible acts of valor, provided the framework for the story he wanted to tell.  That methodology ultimately suggested the title for the book: A Shau Valor. 
     For Yarborough, author of the critically acclaimed book, Da Nang Diary, the challenge was to communicate not only the essential elements of the battles but also to supply a sense of the sights, sounds, and even the smells of the battlefield so that the reader feels engaged and, at least figuratively, experiences the mosquitoes, the mud, the oppressive heat, the leeches, the agony, the frustration, the fear.   

      As a compulsory underpinning for understanding the individual unit operational summaries and after action reports, perhaps the most indispensable documentary sources in A Shau Valor are the inspiring gallantry citations themselves, riveting accounts of the heroes who defined the battles.  Consequently, the author included recollections and interviews with many of the warriors---the grunts, marines, and airmen who did the fighting and the dying in the A Shau.  They consecrated the ground known as the Valley of Death with their blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices.  This book is their story.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-61200-354-2
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History
Number of Pages: 336

Away for The Holidays, by the Veterans Writing Group San Diego

MWSA Review
Away For The Holidays by the Veterans' Writing Group of San Diego County is a well organized compilation of poems and essays which share the heartfelt emotions of serving our country during the holidays, in particular Christmas.  The writers refer to all the major holidays but the central theme is the most compelling family gathering of the year in America. The book organizer(s) must be applauded for encouraging vets from a variety of military engagements and eras to share their deepest feelings about being away from home and all that means.  The book speaks to a universal theme for any service member as well as any other people who serve the public and sacrifice their time with family during a treasured time of year.  

I found the stories compelling and well-written. They took me back to my experience, resurrecting emotions of one of the most difficult aspects of serving in any of our Armed Forces Branches. The contributors are seasoned writers who spend time trying to nurture their God-given gift of wordsmithing with those who aren't so able, but need the therapy that writing offers those who all too often internalize the pain they never forget.  I applaud the groups' purpose and the resulting work they share here with any audience that knows people "who have been there and done that." 
By Mike Mullins, MWSA Reviewer

Away for The Holidays is a collection of stories written by veterans in the Veterans Writing Group San Diego. Each shares a story of celebrating holidays--that time of family, food, friendship and relative safety-- far from those they love. Their stores are heartwarming and heart-rending, funny and frightening as they recall Christmas' spent on the battlefields of World War II, Vietnam or Kandahar. For the civilian reader, these under-the-helmet stories reveal the everyday sacrifices, camaraderie and pride of our military. For those who have served, these stories will bring back memories of being young and away from home for the holidays.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1537684611
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Collections, Nonfiction, History, Memoir
Number of Pages: 82

Soldier for Life: Leader Lessons From The 12th Sergeant Major Of The Army Jack L. Tilley, by Jack Tilley

MWSA Review
A proven formula for leadership

"Soldier for Life" is more than a memoir of an American soldier who advanced through the ranks to become to most senior enlisted man in the U.S. Army. It also contains real life lessons that benefit managers who lead teams of people in any military and civilian workplace.

Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) Jack Tilley, now retired from the military, began his story as a 17-year-old high school student who joined the Army as something do after graduating from high school. At the time, he had no goal in life. His lessons began with basic training, Airborne School and on into Viet Nam as tank crew member during the intense fighting of the 1968 Tet Offensive. He left the war zone as an escort for the body of his best friend.

Tilley candidly described the emotional highs and lows of his career — from duties as a basic training drill sergeant, tank commander, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, chief instructor, and sergeant major at the battalion, brigade, division, Central Command and Department of the Army levels. Through each of these assignments, SMA Tilley learned and applied critical lessons in working with others; some lessons from his own mistakes, others via sage advice from peers and higher ranking mentors. Essential to earning respect and superior performances from subordinates is through one's personal actions, he wrote, rather than just with authoritarian orders.

During his 35 year tenure as a soldier, Tilley experienced an Army in constant change, the most significant included becoming an all-volunteer force, significantly enhancing educational standards for NCOS, and the controversial adoption of black berets as the standard headwear. As a division command sergeant major, he later served along the Iron Curtain in Germany during the Cold War, with the peacekeeping force in Bosnia during the breakup of Yugoslavia, and in the early years of the Global War on Terror. He was the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army when a commercial airliner deliberately crashed into the Pentagon where he was serving.
Tilley and his co-author, retired Command Sergeant Major Dan Elder, tell Tilley's story in a well-written narrative of an Army and a soldier in transition. Through this book, they share many lessons learned in getting the best results from others working in your organization.
"Soldier For Life" is must reading for every soldier —enlisted, NCO and officer—and every civilian who want to develop leadership abilities that are essential for success.
By Joe Epley, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
This book is more than just an autobiography of Jack L. Tilley, the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army, it is a series of leadership lessons based on selected stories from his more than 35-year career. The last Vietnam veteran to serve in that position from 2000-2004, SMA Tilley was at the Pentagon when terrorists crashed a plane into the nation’s largest "office building" on September 11, 2001. He and his co-author, Dan Elder weave a story beginning with Tilley's enlistment into the United States Army in the summer of 1966, his deployment to Vietnam, his ascension to positions of great responsibility, and describe influential events leading up to his eventual selection and assignment as the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army. Unique to his story are the "Understanding Tilley" segments that close each chapter where Tilley reflects on the chapter events, describes how those events influenced him, as well as explore lessons that the reader can use in their own journey.

ISBN/ASIN: 0996318100
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): Memoir
Number of Pages: 242

The Twilight of the Day, by Ian A. O'Connor

MWSA Review
"In The Twilight of the Day, author Ian A. O'Connor tells an exciting tale that could be more fact than fiction. Based on actual events and a recurring theory, the author sets the stage for the secret transfer of American prisoners of war from North Vietnam to Libya at the end of the Viet Nam war. This story is totally believable and is told in a way that keeps the reader's attention from the first chapter until the end. 

The fact that all of the transferred POW's have degrees in a field related to nuclear physics or nuclear engineering gave me an idea right away what Gaddafi's regime was up to.  Their Libyan kidnappers demand that the American military personnel build a nuclear weapon.  They American's try to resist until it is made clear that they are not the only ones at risk.  Their families back in the US are too.

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in historical fiction, the Vietnam war, and the fate of our still missing POWs.
Reviewed by Bob Doerr, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
The Twilight of the Day is a powerful story of human triumph in the face of impossible odds. It is a story of hope; a story of one man's resolute faith in God and country when lesser men would have succumbed.

Navy Captain James Vincent Trader endured years of relentless torment as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. His true descent into hell began when he and nine others were sold in 1973 to a rogue country for 70 million dollars. Who was the buyer, and what was expected of these men? The answer is found in a closely guarded secret held by this extraordinary fraternity of pilots. 

The Twilight of the Day is a work of fiction steeped in fact and is guaranteed to keep the reader on the edge of his seat until the last page.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781511890137
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 218

Let Go The Movement Process, by Sean Wyman

MWSA Review
Let Go the Movement Process, by author Sean Wyman is a short but heartfelt memoir and self-help book.  

Wyman's earnest recounting of his childhood is definitely gut-wrenching.  The author chronicles his parents' split-up; various short stays in a series of foster homes; his attempts to cope with an abusive, drug-dealing stepfather; and having to defend himself from repeated violent episodes in school.  He also provides details about how he continued to face adversity and challenges as he grew up and entered the work force.  

To overcome many obstacles in his life, the author relied on his faith and a motivational series of steps, which he codified into an acronym involving the letters of the word "movement."  Having successfully navigated his own life's challenges, the author offers to share his system, so that others can "Let Go the Movement Process."

This book might appeal to those looking for help overcoming adversity or learning how they might discover a path towards a purpose-filled life.  However, the reader should be warned that the version of the book submitted for review requires a significant amount of editing.
By John Cathcart, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
So many people today refuse to let go of their past and it keeps them from having the life they deserve. They hold onto the self-doubt, fear, and insecurity that holds them hostage from having a purpose driven life. In this book, I share my story of being held hostage by my past, finally realizing it, and a finding a movement process through divine intervention to let it go. Now I have been called to help you discover this process so you can let go of your past and move forward with your life. It took me over 40 years to discover what you will learn in a much shorter period of time in this book. So as you get started, allow me to be the first to say "Welcome to the Movement"

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1539414360
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Religious/Spiritual
Number of Pages: 102

Missing Star, by Don Westenhaver

MWSA Review
Don Westenhaver's MISSING STAR is a well paced telling of one Marine's refusal to give up on the love of his life.

Danny, a Marine recently returned from the World War I front, is happy to be back home, but dismayed to find that his long time love, Joyce, has gone missing after finally catching her big Hollywood break.  Danny vows to find her, and sets forth on an adventure fraught with danger as crooked cops and corrupt businessmen try to keep Danny from finding out the truth.

Westenhaver does a great job of developing the character of Danny, and revealing his motivations for what he does.  A good Catholic boy who was forced to fight and kill for his country, he carried those wounds with him back home.  The story Westenhaver creates shows Danny using what he learned as a Marine to tirelessly search for his lost love, even though he isn't sure she even wants him back.  

Colored with the author’s own experiences as a Marine and in the oil industry, this book offers an interesting story line, memorable characters, and gripping action.  Definitely worth the time and effort!

by Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
Danny Parker, a pilot wounded in the Great War, returns home to Long Beach, California, in 1919 hoping to reconcile with his former girlfriend, Joyce Villareal, who is now a silent movie star. But Joyce has disappeared. Danny and Joyce were best friends since first grade. As juniors in high school their friendship became romantic. But just before graduation, Danny surprised Joyce by announcing he planned to study for the priesthood. Angry and hurt, she broke up with him and moved to Hollywood to become an actress at Paramount. Three years later, he left the seminary and enlisted in the Marines, eventually becoming one of the first Marine aviators. He crashes in France and barely survives a horrendous battle. Finally home in Long Beach, he has no desire to return to the seminary or the service. His physical wounds have healed but not the emotional trauma of death and destruction from so many months of combat. His only plan is to resume a relationship with Joyce, if she’ll have him. Bu first he has to find her. Danny searches her bungalow near Griffith Park, finding a hidden diary which mentions dates with three men, whom she refers to as the Comedian, the Daredevil, and the Producer. He visits Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, where Joyce has been filming Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with John Barrymore. Paramount assigns a detective to the case. The Los Angeles Police Department is strangely unconcerned. The search for Joyce has given Danny’s life meaning again. He enlists the help of the stunt pilot who taught him to fly, an old priest scarred by the Indian Wars, a police chief who prefers justice to politics, and a big tent evangelist who preaches women’s rights. Clues lead to a former Barnum & Bailey showman who owns hundreds of Nickelodeon theaters and is now running for mayor of Los Angeles.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-50690-366-8, 978-1-50690-367-5
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 261

Invasion: Ice Hammer Book 1, by Basil Sands

MWSA Review
Basil Sands lead novel in the ICE HAMMER series is a non-stop thought-provoking thriller that I could just not put down!

Set in Alaska in the present day, the world is turned upside down when the new Russian confederation, along with China and several Muslim factions, invade the United States and Canada.  The larger US cities are nuked at the outset, and smaller civilian populations around other major ports are conquered and ruthlessly controlled.  Veterans and rugged citizens in and around Anchorage, Alaska are left to band together to survive, and eventually take the fight back to the enemy.

Brad Stone, a Marine "no longer on active duty," finds himself leading fugitives through the woods away from the conquering Chinese.  Along the way, he meets up with others who bring unique skills to his small group, and together they plan to survive.  Through propaganda and just dumb luck, Brad finds himself being called "the Ice Hammer," by both the resistance movement and the Chinese.  Struggling with his own demons of faith and haunted by the wife he feels he couldn't protect, is he up to the challenge of being the focus of the fight to reclaim the lifestyle that was taken from his country?

The action is fast, the characters are amazing, and there is plenty to keep the reader engaged.  This is every bit as good as Jeff Edwards, Tom Clancy, or Dale Brown; fans of those authors will gobble this up and wait for the sequel.  No sex to speak of, but with some gory war scenes, this is probably a "PG-13" read, but definitely worth it for fans of the military techno-thriller.  Highly recommended!

By Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

It only took an instant for the world to come crashing down. 

The bombs came first, and the troops were close behind. Life in the dream that was America ceased when a deadly new alliance of Communist states from Russia, China, and their allies invaded from the North. 

The invasion splits Brad Stone's family apart. His wife, Youngmi, is captured and exploited by Alaska's new Communist warlord. Brad and his sons narrowly avoid massacre and retreat into the icy wilderness albeit in separate directions. Brad, a former Marine, finds himself thrust to the front as the warrior they call “Ice Hammer” – a leader, a legend, and the most wanted man in occupied Alaska. 

Brad, Youngmi, and their sons Ben and Ian must find their way through the horrors of war. They may not live to see victory, but they will not live as slaves. They have already learned a brutal truth: 

The age of peace has ended. The age of the Ice Hammer has begun.

Book Format(s): Audiobook, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 340

65 Below, by Basil Sands

MWSA Review
Basil Sands delivers another thriller with 65 Below.
Retired Marine Marcus Johnson has returned to his Alaskan home after years of hunting bad guys.  He is ready to trap, fish, and maybe rekindle his love with sexy but dangerous Alaska State Trooper Lonnie Wyatt, who moved on from him when he was reported missing in action many years ago.  However, when some North Korean special forces troops are discovered stealing a dangerous biological agent, Johnson has to return to action along with some of his special forces buddies to make sure the threat is stopped…COLD.
Solid action, rough and tumble military characters, and a unique story all combine to make this a worthwhile read.  I first found the overlapping timelines a bit distracting, but once I figured them out, they really enhanced the story.  Sands has a solid understanding of special forces and the military in general, and is second to none regarding his knowledge of Alaska.  All of the above roll together to make this an enjoyable, exciting read.
Techno-thriller fans who like Jeff Edwards, Tom Clancy and Dale Brown will love this.
Reviewed by Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
A nearly forgotten bunker in the frozen wastes of Alaska is hiding a weapon that could end the world. 

Retired Marine Master Sergeant Marcus “Mojo” Johnson – returned to his family homestead in rural Alaska after twenty years of chasing bad men – enlists an elite team of combat veterans and personal friends to intercept the enemy before it releases a decades-old secret that can’t be destroy and was never meant to be found. And it all plays out in the brutal, beautiful Alaskan wilderness, in sub-zero temperatures where human flesh freezes in mere minutes.

The chase is on, and only Mojo and his allies can stop the apocalypse before it begins.

Book Format(s): Audiobook, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 307

Memories from Vietnam: 45 Years and a Wakeup, by Bill Strouse

MWSA Review
If you're looking for a genuine book on the Vietnam war experience, Memories from Vietnam 45 Years and a Wake-Up is your book.  Authors Brad Newell and Bill Strouse did a great job in compiling the experiences of members of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division while in Vietnam from December 1967 until November 1971.  The authors served in Bravo Company themselves at the time, and their presence in the conflict alongside the other veterans who contributed to the book provided added credibility and focus.

I enjoyed reading this book.  Reading it, I imagined a group of veterans sitting around and telling stories from their own memories in that war.  Some stories would make them cry and some would make them laugh. The individual chapters felt just like that, as though you were there with that circle of veterans, and they were talking straight to you.  The book isn't about one person's experiences, it's about how the war affected a tight knit group of soldiers, true brothers-in-arms.

I recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the Vietnam War or wishing to learn more about a soldiers life in combat.
Reviewed by Bob Doerr, MWSA Reviewer

69 short stories from soldiers of Bravo Co., 3rd BN, 1st INF REG, 11th LIB, Americal Division, presented chronologically in 1968, providing a more personal look into the daily routines in the lives of infantry soldiers, both in combat and at rest. Stories are humorous as well as sad, and provide a different perspective on the Vietnam conflict. The stories begin with jungle training in Hawaii, then transport to VN on a troop ship, and follows the soldiers for their one year tour of duty operating in I CORPS from the South China Sea west to Laos and Cambodia.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9966598-0-2
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History, Memoir
Number of Pages: 261

Free Fire Zone, by Dennis Maulsby

MWSA Review
Sometimes we are compelled to fight evil. To do so we must become evil at times. This novel is about the risk of becoming that which you confront.

Free Fire Zone by Dennis Maulsby is a complex novel. It is a combination thriller, literary fiction and science fiction.  The novel speaks to the pain of war and the horror observed therein and the inner battle the warrior fights to resist becoming what he has to be on the battlefield.  Maulsby addresses the demons created by PTSD, but he brings his demon to life, imbuing it with personality and power beyond any description I've read before.  One does what one must in war in order to survive and support his warrior brothers.  There is heart-rending, heart-changing danger in doing that.  Maulsby tackles the topic head on, breathes life into it, even if it makes a reader uncomfortable.  This mature audience reading for sure.
Review by Mike Mullins, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
In his ecstasy of power, he is mad for battle …
Pure frenzy fills him. — Achilles in the Illiad.

Welcome to the Free Fire Zone, also known as a free kill zone. In Vietnam, it was enemy territory, all the friendlies and neutrals moved out. Anyone found in such an area was considered hostile, a legitimate target that could be killed on sight, no questions asked. Each of the sixteen stories in this book originate from this zone, any subject, any genre fair game.

Free Fire Zone is a book of linked short stories, each introduced by a poem. Arranged in chronological order, seventeen stories follow the life of Lieutenant Rod Teigler, from his combat experience in Vietnam through a civilian life plagued with a re-wired brain. A mind now shared with an alternate berserker personality struggling to become dominant.

ISBN/ASIN: 987-1-63275-082-2
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy/Sci Fi
Number of Pages: 252

Snowden's Story, One Marine's Indebtedness to the Corps; by Lawrence F. Snowden

MWSA Review
“Snowden’s Story” is a fascinating look at the life of a member of the "greatest generation:" Lt. General Lawrence F Snowden, USMC (retired).  The memoir begins by covering Snowden’s early years, college, and his entry into the Marine Corps.  

Explaining that he has already covered the subject “in another volume [of] an Oral History Interview,” Snowden skips over his combat experiences on the beaches of Iwo Jima, and instead covers a few memories associated with time spent recovering from his wounds from that battle.  He then moves on to a rather detailed recounting of his movement up the ranks of the USMC.  At the time of his retirement, Snowden had reached near the pinnacle to which any Marine officer can aspire: a 3-star general in contention for the top job, Commandant.

After retirement from the Marine Corps in 1975, Snowden worked several years with the Hughes Aircraft Company—where the close ties he had nurtured with Japanese military and civilian officials paid great dividends.  Snowden's connection with Japan is a recurrent theme that runs throughout the book.  At the outset, the Japanese were the enemy. Then, as the scars of that war began to heal, he started to appreciate the human side of his former adversary.  Eventually, he considered the Japanese valued friends; and he theirs.

Although Snowden explains that he wrote the book because he wanted to tell "my great, great grandchildren (strictly family) something about my life because they didn't get to see me or know me," the book has wider appeal.  Snowden's detailed accounting of his assignments during his long Marine Corps career—including almost every person with whom he worked throughout his career—makes an important contribution to USMC history.

The last several chapters are much more personal and moving.  This is especially true in the chapter entitled "The Declining Decade," which is a sometimes brutally honest look at the realities of reaching the twilight of life.  Sadly, the prediction Snowden makes at the beginning of this chapter—“God will call me home to the Big Marine Corps Base in the Sky sometime in the 2016-2020 timeframe”—proved accurate.   General Snowden passed away on February 18, 2017.

"Snowden's Story" certainly accomplishes the mission Snowden himself set out for this book: providing a record for his great, great grandchildren and beyond.  More than a personal story for his family's history, the book will also appeal to those interested in the details of a life dedicated to service.

By John Cathcart, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Lt. General Lawrence F. Snowden has experienced much over the course of his lifetime. A true Southern gentleman, General Snowden presents a humble account of his many accomplishments. At the age of 95, his mind is as sharp as a tack, his wit dry, and his demeanor humble and thankful for all he has achieved in an extraordinary life. This volume, which can serve as a companion to the oral history of General Snowden’s military career (History Division, U.S. Marine Corps, 2011), is a gift to his children, grandchildren, and future generations. It is also a tribute to his beloved Marine Corps and to all the citizens of the United States. General Snowden is the oldest surviving member of the Marines' assault on Iwo Jima during WWII. He served his country in three wars, then founded the Reunion of Honor, which continues to this day as a symbol of friendship between the American and Japanese people, honoring those who served on both sides with annual reunions at Mount Siribachi on Iwo Jima. In 2015, General Snowden was inducted into Florida's Veterans Hall of Fame in recognition of his service to his country and his advocacy for elder Floridians. In 2016, the Commandant Marine Corps presented General Snowden two awards for lifetime public service, one from the Secretary of Defense and one from the Secretary of the Navy. After retiring from his military career and a second career in international business, General Snowden moved to Tallahassee, where he continues to inspire young and old with his philosophy of honor, service, and gratitude.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0985943844
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Audiobook
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History, Memoir
Number of Pages: 262

A Long Way Back, by J. Everett Prewitt

MWSA Review
When Anthony Andrews arrived in Vietnam, in June, 1969, he was expecting to accomplish exactly what he had been sent to do by his editor at the Washington Post. As a black reporter embedded with American troops, he was to send home positive stories about the experiences of young black soldiers. But Southeast Asia was about to change his life forever with two unusual events.

When a Chinook helicopter delivered seven soldiers to his base, Anthony was only a casual observer, but what he saw suggested a story that needed to be told. The new arrivals were filthy, their uniforms tattered, their eyes haunted, their bodies showing signs of severe malnutrition. Two were wounded, and—strangest of all-- all of them were black. Anthony watched as they were hustled away with no chance for questions or greetings or interviews. His attempts to learn more about the men and their mission failed to get any information—not even their names.

Shortly thereafter, the commander of the unit to which he had been assigned sent him out to accompany a reconnaissance mission. Without warning, their foray turned into a gun battle. The leader of the squadron failed to appear, enemy troops ambushed the Americans, and Anthony’s escort was killed. Facing North Vietnamese soldiers sneaking up from the rear, Anthony grabbed his unfamiliar gun and killed several of them, thus alerting his squad in time to avoid danger.

Those two events defined the rest of Anthony’ stay in Vietnam. His abrupt introduction to the horrors of jungle warfare left him suffering from what we recognize today as PTSD. He compared the disorder to carrying a snake in one’s pocket. As he tried to deal with his own trauma, his efforts to learn the story behind the seven black soldiers became more and more frustrating. No one would talk about the incident, and the seven men simply disappeared.

Anthony returned home at the end of his tour, still suffering the effects of PTSD and still unable to forget about what he had seen. He watched helplessly as his career, his marriage, and his health collapsed.

In Part II, readers learn the horrific details behind the event Anthony had witnessed. The story of the seven black soldiers is told in gut-wrenching detail, both from the black soldiers’ own point of view and from that of the female Viet Cong guerrilla who pursued them. The descriptions are not for the faint-of heart nor for those unprepared to deal with the effects of unchecked racism and human cruelty.

In Part III, the stories come together, as Anthony manages to work through his personal traumatic experience by finding his seven black soldiers, each of whom shows up carrying his own private “snake.” This is not a pretty story, and despite a somewhat happy conclusion, not everyone will enjoy reading about this particularly dark period in America’s history.
Review by Carolyn Schriber, MWSA Reviewer

When a reporter for the Washington Post sees a group of wounded, half-starved, black troops disembark from a helicopter in Cu Chi during the height of the Vietnam War, he senses a story but receives no cooperation from the army or the soldiers.

The men, mostly noncombat soldiers, are the remnant of a squad sent on an illegal mission to Cambodia as punishment for their participation in a race riot at Cu Chi base camp. Led by a battle-fatigued sergeant, they fall under enemy fire. Their leader inexplicably disappears, leaving the ill-prepared soldiers to fight the jungle and enemy on their own.

Although forced to confront the shock of combat and a deteriorating family life, the reporter pursues the story, hoping to uncover the truth about what happened to those soldiers in the jungle.

An intriguing glimpse into the Vietnam War, A Long Way Back is a tense journey merging the lives of the soldiers and the reporter as they struggle to overcome their fear and face the battles they must fight to survive.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1514129265
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, ePub, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 380