Creative Non-fiction

The Stan: Father, Son, findin' bombs; by Dan Talley

MWSA Review:
The Stan by Dan Talley is a soul-searing memoir. Though the bulk of the narrative and story is by and about Dan, it includes significant contributions from his wife Karen and son Josh. Theirs is a story told straightforward, without dramatic embellishment. This approach is the book's greatest strength. They tell both what's going on in their minds as well as what is happening around them. In so doing, they give chapter and verse detail of the trauma of combat, its aftermath, and the real cost of it to those in uniform and loved ones at home. Those who have experienced what the Talleys have will understand. Those who have not will find in The Stan a powerful work to help bridge that gulf.

Review by Dwight Zimmerman, MWSA President & Reviewer


Author's Synopsis:
“The Stan” shares private thoughts, therapy sessions, journal entries, and memories of our family of four as father and son deploy to combat. A rare opportunity to experience deployment as we say goodbye, sacrifice for others, struggle inwardly, attempt to heal, and move on with life from differing, even opposing, perspectives. Observe unspoken emotions, hopes, and dreams common to military families.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1532966095
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Creative Nonfiction, Memoir
Review Genre: Collections—Creative Nonfiction
Number of Pages: 244
 

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

Synopsis:

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.

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

Synopsis:
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

 

Honor Thy Brothers: The Fight Against Communism; by Suzanne Simon Dietz

MWSA Review

Suzanne Simon Dietz has written a compelling book about veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. She covers a spectrum of experiences by including people from all of the services and a variety of military skill sets. She does not embellish their stories. 

The words are the words of veterans, the views are those of veterans, the conclusions are those of veterans. Dietz is a historian, a writer dedicated to sharing personal history and thus preserving it. anyone who enjoys military history from the personal viewpoint of those who fight our wars will appreciate her work. The research she has performed provides many avenues for further reading for anyone who includes this book in their library. I recommend Honor Thy Brothers for both reasons. It is worthy of being on a military history lover's bookshelf.

Reviewed by Mike Mullins (2015)

Author's Summary

"Honor Thy Brothers" preserves the stories of sacrifice from some of those who served from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam in the backdrop of the strengthening Soviet Communist government, which challenged America for world leadership for half a century.