MWSA Review Done

Captain Mama's Surprise / La Sorpresa de Capitán Mamá by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

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MWSA Review

Captain Mama's Surprise takes children on a wonderful adventure on a KC-135 Aerial Refueling Tanker. Mama introduces her son's classmates to the crew and clearly explains to them what the mission is and how it is accomplished. The cast is made of diverse characters, which is refreshing. Also appreciated was the focus on female characters who not only are teachers but also pilots in charge of very important missions in the United States Air Force, thus breaking away from the more standardized gender roles that women have usually had in children's books.

The illustrations add a lot to the book as a whole and help highlight the celebration of diversity that is present in the story, which is also brilliantly told in Spanish. The addition of a glossary (in dual language) and an art project make for unexpected yet welcomed additions.

Review by Brunella Costagliola (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

In this second book in the Captain Mama series, Marco and his sisters, whose mother is a U.S. Air Force aviator, visit the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker on a field trip with his second grade class. The children and their teachers meet the aircrew and the crew chief, tour the airplane to understand its unique parts and learn what each crew member does as they work together onboard this gas station in the sky. Includes a STEM activity for children to learn basic aircraft terms and structure plus glossaries in Spanish and English of aviation terms in the text. From School Library Journal K-Gr 3—Marco's second grade class goes on an Air Force base field trip. His mom is the navigator on an aerial refueling tanker, and the kids are excited about touring the plane and meeting the crew. In an easygoing first-person narrative, Marco describes the adventure. Everything from the refueling process to the manual landing gear crank is explained to the eager students. The smiling, accommodating crew members outline their responsibilities and the importance of working as a team. Lens's simple but colorful illustrations reinforce the childlike quality of the book. Tiscareño-Sato is a Mexican American military veteran/aviator, and in this continuation of her bilingual series "Captain Mama," the author affords young readers the opportunity to observe a coed, multiethnic crew performing their vital tasks. In addition, the final six pages include an English/Spanish glossary, a list of educational resources and their respective links, and an art/engineering project. VERDICT An accessible and positive portrayal of the mothers and people of color who serve proudly in the military; a good purchase for bilingual collections.—Mary Margaret Mercado, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ

ISBN/ASIN: 9780997309003, 978-0997309034, 9780997309010, 9780977309027
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 42

Fight by Betsy Ross

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MWSA Review

Fight is a novel about a group of soldiers struggling with fitting into the civilian world after deployment in the Middle East. Back in the United States, the characters reveal their stories, told mostly through Leslie and John, about why and how they are struggling with life back at home. The reader learns of each one’s war experience through the characters’ internal thoughts and flashbacks. 

The veterans help each other cope with their demons as they take advantage of counseling offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their resistance to group therapy comes through, although they do help each other cope with tragic suicides and survivor’s guilt.

They grow to rely on each other for healing and moving forward with their lives, understanding that it will take time and they will always be there for each other.

Review by Patricia Walkow (April 2019)

MWSA's evaluation found a number of technical problems (misspellings, grammar, punctuation, or capitalization) as well as other problems in one or more of the following evaluation areas: content, style, and/or visual.  This normally indicates a need for further editing.


Author's Synopsis

 Leslie and John both served in the Army and crossed paths under unfortunate events. Now that they are out, they are having to readapt to civilian life and it's not as easy as what they were originally told. However, they find out how important it is to stay close with their fellow Veterans who have different backgrounds and stories, but they all share one thing: adapting to their old life as a civilian isn't as easy as it looks.

ISBN/ASIN: 1641663197, B077WLQ3RD
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 97

Raven's Resurrection: A Cybertech Thriller by John Trudel

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MWSA Review

In Raven's Resurrection, author John D. Trudel once again brings us into the thrilling world of his characters Raven and Josie. In a fictional setting where the United States is more divided than ever, and with Middle East terrorists active and based in the United States,  the world is in need of Josie's special, psychic skills now more than ever. Raven is allowed to take the gloves off, and the result is an action-packed thriller. The book makes full use of a variety of military weaponry. Any reader who enjoys para military thrillers would enjoy this book.

Review by Bob Doerr (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

"Raven slung his rifle. He walked over and stood behind them, his Sig leveled, finger on the trigger."

In the author’s latest thriller, America is not as secure as its average citizen might think. Radical Islam poses a serious threat to the nation, but only a few understand just how extensive the reach is of its practitioners. Raven has experienced firsthand how dangerous the nation’s enemies can be, but many of them, in turn, will learn what a deadly adversary he can be.

Raven’s primary task—a job that is both professional and personal to him—is to protect someone who is, quite possibly, America’s greatest defensive asset: a remote viewer named Josie. She is able to see future events—such as coming attacks or the movements of dangerous individuals—and pass this information on to those who can make a difference. Keeping Josie safe will propel Raven into both defensive and offensive roles. With Iranian Quds secretly on American soil and high-profile players calling the shots, he will need to strengthen his existing network of allies and even use the Russians to eliminate a mutual enemy. But will his efforts be enough?

Trudel deftly mixes politics, espionage, and violence with a sprinkling of the paranormal in this new addition to his riveting series. His choice to set his novel slightly in the future allows him to comment on current affairs and contemporary politicians while giving him the freedom to populate his narrative with fictional leaders, as well. And comment he does, pointing out perceived flaws in liberal policies while championing the more conservative stances. Yet his novel should not be seen as simply a voice for the Right. Rather, it is an entertaining and gripping story of patriots operating in the shadows who are desperately trying to protect the nation from those who would destroy it.

Chief among these heroes is Raven, a complicated character who becomes more likable with each new novel. Clever, resourceful, and highly trained, he has no qualms about taking extreme measures to achieve his objectives—even if this means stalking and killing his enemy in cold blood. Josie, on the other hand, struggles with the need for violence. Psychically fragile, she has even gone catatonic in the past when things have gotten too rough. The Beauty-and-the-Beast relationship between these two principal protagonists is part of what makes the series so appealing. A hero of a different stripe is the aging Doctor Goldfarb. As a new Ad-hoc member to the President’s National Security Council, he fights on the political front while coordinating with Raven in the shadows. Former Marine General Mike Mickelson is a new ally for Raven but a familiar figure to those who have read Trudel’s Soft Target. He adds some strong, no-nonsense accountability to Raven’s expanding team. The author does an excellent job in developing all of these characters, revealing new layers to their personalities as the book progresses.

Stylistically, Trudel’s use of point of view is intriguing. The switch from the third person into the first and then back again is initially a bit disconcerting, bouncing the reader’s attention momentarily away from the action like a literary speed bump. Once you get used to these changes, the story rolls along smoothly, building in tension as the author pulls you deeper into the plot. Carefully crafted yet more cerebral in some ways than similar thrillers, Trudel’s continuation of Raven’s adventures is not to be missed.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0997805291, 978-0999630501, 978-0-9978052-8-4, B0798XFYPH
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 348

Ice Hammer: Insurgent by Basil Sands

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MWSA Review

Basil Sands’ Ice Hammer: Insurgent picks up where Ice Hammer: Invasion leaves off and is full of solid characters, gritty action, and patriots doing their best at the impossible.

Over a year ago, the combined forces of the Chinese and the Russians invaded the United States, including Alaska, home to former Force Recon Marine Brad Stone. The entire world seems turned upside down, and while fleeing to the Alaskan interior, Brad becomes famous when he kills two Chinese soldiers with an ice hammer. When the incident was caught on a drone, his reputation went viral, and now he is the face of the Alaskan resistance, like it or not.

Book two finds Brad bogged down with trying to keep his ever-growing group of refugees safe and not starving, while his sons, on a Boy Scout camping trip the day the war began, have formed their own resistance group and are learning the rigors of combat at a young age. Brad’s wife, thought dead, is actually leading a very prominent life among the enemy, and at all times seems to be a collaborator, an angel of mercy, and a spy.

 That’s a lot of elements for one book, but Sands pulls it off admirably. The action is raw, the dialogue and characters believable, and the twists and turns entertaining. I especially liked how the characters of Karzai and Gunnar get further developed, and also the tie in with Marcus Johnson, another former Marine, from the author’s book 65 Below. If you liked either Ice Hammer: Invasion or 65 Below, then you will love this installment. Sands’ writing, especially when describing combat, is as real as Dale Brown, the great Tom Clancy, or Jeff Edwards.

Review by Rob Ballister (April 2019)

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


Author's Synopsis

 Following the invasion of a year earlier Brad Stone has become the figure head of the Alaska resistance movement, and head of the largest militia in the former state, including the Chiknik Rangers, making him enemy number one to the Chinese leadership based in Anchorage. At the same time his sons, Ben and Ian find themselves waging a bloody guerilla operation against Russian troops in the east. Unknown to any of them, Youngmi, whose mangled, dead body haunts Brad’s dreams, has become the mistress of General Zhang, head of the Chinese forces in Alaska…and a major player in the resistance movement, passing on information that could mean her real death if she is caught.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1682616925
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 340

Idol Thoughts by Harvey E. Baker

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MWSA Review

If you enjoy gripping combat fiction in a story that keeps you eagerly turning pages, you'll love Harvey E. Baker's Idol Thoughts. The details of a fictional "undeclared" war in the Laotian jungle, conducted by Khemoi/ Nuoung/ Montagnards and their Special Forces "snake-eating" advisors, are vividly realistic. That's not surprising, because Baker lived and fought in the war he describes. The horrors of life in an NVA prison camp are powerfully depicted as well, giving the lie to the ridiculous slander that the Americans who were captured in the Vietnam war weren't "heroes." The novel's conclusion is a warp-speed-paced version of the movie Three Kings. Besides being a great read, this is also a profoundly honest novel about combat and the men and women who fight for their country.

Review by Tom Behr (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

Set in the Vietnam War, that involves a 1st Reconnaissance Battalion recon team, led by Marine Lieutenant John Casey, tasked with locating a POW camp. The team is shot down in Laos and is rescued from the NVA by a mountain tribe of Laotian Nuongs led by a Special Forces Green Beret Major. This is a story about the team's survival and the survival of the Green Beret Major as a prisoner of war. This novel explores the Annamite Mountain legend and mystery of the "Sun Shine Buddha." and it highlights the warrior creed, "Leave no man behind" even if the government has written the man off as just another casualty of war.

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN# BOOZBGBQC4, ISBN-13# 1521905312
Book Format(s): Soft cover, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 536

Red Sky by Chris Goff

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MWSA Review

Chris Goff begins Red Sky at a fast pace and doesn’t slow down until the last page is turned. A passenger plane from China goes down in Ukraine, carrying a U.S. diplomatic agent with a top-secret letter and a prisoner masquerading as someone else to their deaths. Raisa Jordan, a Diplomatic Security Service agent, is deviated from routine escort duty to retrieve the American agent’s body. Thus begins the story of a terrifying new weapon sold by a Chinese criminal gang to Russian terrorists. It is a novel of betrayal, ambushes, gunfights, and edge-of-your-seat chases. Once you get into it, you will not want to put the book down. It twists and turns with unexpected intrigue and excitement.

Along the way, Jordan picks up an American journalist and a Chinese computer whiz teenager. The kid was supposed to be on the plane, but a switch was made with his cousin at the last minute. A love-hate relationship with both men evolves as they work to infiltrate the Guangdong Triad—one of the largest criminal gangs in China—and a major steel manufacturing plant that produced the secret weapon. It continues when they return to Ukraine and then Poland where, with the help of Polish Special Forces, they track the gun and its Russian handlers, bent on using the weapon to destroy a meeting of top European leaders.

For an enjoyable read with great characters, strong research that doesn’t become tedious, location, and action, I recommend Chris Goff’s Red Sky.

Review by Joe Epley (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 When People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern Ukraine with a U.S. diplomatic agent onboard, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is sent to investigate. The agent was escorting a prisoner home from Guangzhou, China, along with sensitive documents, and it quickly becomes apparent that the plane was intentionally downed. Was it to silence the two Americans onboard? To avoid a diplomatic incident, Jordan must discover what the Americans knew that was worth killing hundreds to cover up. With Russia deeply entangled in the Ukraine and the possibility that China could be hiding reasons to bring down its own plane, tensions are high. As international relations and even more lives hang in the balance, Jordan races to stop a new Cold War. Red Sky, Chris Goff's pulse-pounding follow-up to Dark Waters, is yet another white-knuckle joyride for fans of Gayle Lynds.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-13: 978-1683311263 HC, ASIN: B01NCNJB8S
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 320

Dark Waters by Chris Goff

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MWSA Review

Dark Waters by Chris Goff is an intricate thriller which keeps the reader guessing to the very end. Set in Israel and the West Bank, the action keeps us moving as Diplomatic Security Services Agent Raisa Jordan works to protect her American charges while unraveling a terrorist plot scheduled to coincide with peace talks in the region. Arrayed against her are a boss concerned mainly with his own career, a coworker who despises her, Israeli Shin Bet agents, Palestinians, ultra-conservative Jews, and terrorists bent on disrupting the region. Add a Russian spy, a traitor among the Israeli police, and the U.S. Marines and we have the makings of a read that will keep you turning pages.

Goff’s setting in Israel provides the reader with fresh vistas and colorful descriptions as the characters race from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to Bethlehem to Tiberias and finally to the Sea of Galilee. The complex plot is woven around a wealth of information regarding the political, cultural, and religious turmoil that seems to constantly fester in the region. A strong, smart, and capable female cast add to the fun of the twisty plot and evolving relationships as Raisa finds support in unexpected places.

Review by Betsy Beard (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Raisa “Rae” Jordan, an agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, isn't in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is killed in a Tel Aviv square. Assigned to investigate the assassination of one of her own, she must also protect Judge Ben Taylor and his teenage daughter. They may be the sniper's next target and are most certainly being threatened by a desperate cadre of terrorists with their sights set on the Secretary of State's upcoming visit. But is an attack on the Secretary of State all that they have planned or is that just the beginning? There are no protocols for this kind of a situation, and following the rules is exactly the kind of thing that could get the Taylors killed. To subvert an attack that could crush the fledgling peace in the Middle East, Jordan must trust her instincts and bring together a contentious team of agents from Israel, the U.S., and the Palestinian territories to uncover a conspiracy years in the making. With millions of lives hanging in the balance, Dark Waters, Chris Goff's explosive new thriller, is a series debut that mirrors global headlines and will have you frantically turning pages.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-13: 978-1629531922 HC, ISBN-13: 978-1629533728 TP, ASIN: B011IZPUTQ, ISBN-13: 978-1504644655 Audio
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 352

The Ground You Stand Upon: Life of a Skytrooper in Vietnam by Joshua and Wilbur Bowe

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

The father/son energy of the co-authors works very well within the pages of this book. Joshua and Wilbur Bowe take the reader on a journey with visual words and muted emotions through a tour of duty during the war in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. The reader can well picture what had happened there. Shared with a well written narrative, historic background notes, and commentary aided by the addition of old letters sent home from that war. The personal letters add a very human element to the retelling of that life experience. Emotionally well done! The authors hit the target! 

As a Vietnam veteran myself during the same time frame of the war, I found the book both credible and historically factual. I enjoyed it. I think there is a more broad appeal beyond just readers of war genre—a good history book told from the point of view of those who were there and well worth having on my book shelf.

Review by Bill McDonald (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Sent into the deadly Central Highlands of Vietnam, a true story of my dad and the men he served with. My father is Wilbur E. Bowe. He was living on his family’s farm when he was drafted in 1965 and assigned to Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Calvary. The 5/7th Cavalry was formed as a brand-new battalion in order to fill out the 1st Air Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade. The young men of the battalion were largely drafted together in 1965 as the build-up of regular Army forces in Vietnam had just begun. Together, these impossibly young men would be trained in airmobile infantry tactics and become what were known as “skytroopers”. They would then be sent deep into the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where together they would learn what “search and destroy” meant and face the reality of this new war. The story features many of the letters and photographs my dad sent home from the war zone. His dispatches were sent from some of the most remote valleys and outposts in Vietnam, written under the most austere of conditions, often scribbled in haste before another mission, or by flashlight, under a poncho in the rain. They would travel over 8,000 miles across the ocean, to be placed in a mailbox that stood across from a farmhouse, along a rural county road in Wisconsin. Many former skytroopers of Alpha Company were interviewed for this story, and their personal accounts recall much of the humor and friendship they shared, along with the sadness and tragedy that would accompany a year spent in the jungles of Vietnam. The story also draws upon the 5/7th Cavalry’s daily staff journals and situation reports for every day of the battalion’s first year in Vietnam. This is their story, told in great detail from their time spent training together at Fort Carson – through their historic journey across the ocean aboard the USNS Gaffey, where they would encounter a massive typhoon – through their many battles fought together in Vietnam – and eventually, their final patrol.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0692141397, 978-1717994370, B07DCJNN8X, B07KFQ5W25
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 286

Doppelgänger: An American Spy in World War II France by E. Thomas Behr

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

E. Thomas Behr has written a fun to read, suspenseful story in Doppelgänger: An American Spy in World War II France. Our protagonist, Walter, is an American citizen living in Paris during the German invasion in early 1940. As a non-combatant, he is allowed to remain in Paris and while there witnesses the Nazi atrocities. He develops a desire to join the U.S. military with the belief that the U.S. will soon enter the war against Germany.

Walter's goal is interrupted when he approached and recruited into the OSS and after training, is sent back into France to collect intelligence and support the French resistance. His achievements are significant enough that the Nazis soon put a price on his head. Bouncing around France, living in different locations, and using a number of false identities, Walter manages to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.

What he can't expect, however, is that in early 1944, his spy masters will initiate steps that include betraying him to the Nazis, all in an effort to further the Allies deception plan regarding the exact location for the D-Day invasion. The cat and mouse game Walter has been playing becomes much more dangerous.

Despite some formatting issues with the eBook I reviewed, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good suspense-filled read.

Review by Bob Doerr (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 If you do battle with evil, sooner or later you pick up evil’s weapons yourself. Then you risk becoming what you seek to destroy. When the German army overwhelms France in June, 1940, Walter Hirsch’s safe, carefully-ordered intellectual life as a writer in Paris is shattered. A choking cloud of fear—Nacht und Nebel—settles over his beloved City of Light. He is recruited to join Bill Donovan’s fledgling American intelligence service, the OSS. The American-born son of an aristocratic Prussian father, his flawless German and impeccable French—and his innate ability to change cover stories like a chameleon—make him an ideal espionage agent. But his dedication to his country comes at a high price. With each new lie, a little more of his identity fades, like a face in an aging sepia photograph. With each new cold-blooded execution, a little more of his soul shrivels. “Bill Donovan was right,” he realizes. “When you become a spy, the first person you have to kill is your former self.” In April 1944, now with a Gestapo bounty of three million francs on his head, a burned-out Walter is ordered to Calais to scout German beach defenses and troop movement prior to the invasion of France. His new assignment plunges him into a world of treachery and betrayal in which not even his own government can be trusted. Ultimately, his survival depends on the efforts of England’s most lethal SOE assassin, the “Black Widow,” a woman with her own mysterious connection to Walter Hirsch. But even if her daring rescue mission succeeds, what will remain of the man she has come to save? Can the cost of preserving freedom have become too unbearably high?

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN 9781731047878 ASIN: B07KDWWBYZ
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 374

Bubbleheads: The Med Run by Steven Brock

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

If you’ve always wondered how 126 sailors manage to live together underwater in a 300-foot metal tube for weeks at a time, you are about to find out.  Garrett Daniels is on his first underwater cruise to the Mediterranean, and he has much to discover about life in a submarine. His descriptions of canned food, 90-second showers, triple-stacked bunkbeds, and the fine points of how one “flushes” underwater will make you thank your lucky stars for your everyday conveniences.

If you were a teenager in the late seventies and early eighties, the setting of this novel will make you recall your carefree youth. If Reagan was the first president you remember well, if your favorite television show was “Gilligan’s Island, “and your favorite singer was Hank Williams Jr., you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane. If you’re older, you’ll be shaking your head at these crazy kids. If you’re a child of the twenty-first century, many of the details will fly right over your head.

If you were in the Navy, you know who the bubbleheads are, and if you were ever a submariner, you probably don’t mind being called a bubblehead. If you were once a bubblehead, however, you will either love or hate this book.  For the rest of us landlubbers, the book may offer too much information. Brock shares with his readers all the ugly details—the odors, the rude noises, the cravings, and the hazings that take place aboard ship when men have been under water for too long. Did you know, for instance that people don't get seasick when a submarine is traveling under water? Once the submarine surfaces, its crews are as susceptible to seasickness as the rest of us, and Brock does not spare the reader from all the disgusting details.

MWSA Review by Carolyn Schriber (March 2019)

MWSA's evaluation found a number of technical problems (misspellings, grammar, punctuation, or capitalization) as well as other problems in one or more of the following evaluation areas: content, style, and/or layout and visual.  This normally indicates a need for further editing.


Author's Synopsis

Irreverent dramedy about a nuclear submarine on a 1980s Mediterranean Run. Visit exotic ports with John and Garret and the rest of the crew as they endure the isolation, challenges, and lost loves navigating the USS Lapon deep beneath the ocean’s waves.

ISBN/ASIN: 9780692166178
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 278

WESSELHOEFT: Traded to the Enemy by Adolf Wesselhoeft and Shirley Anderson Wesselhoeft

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MWSA Review

Wesselhoeft: Traded to the Enemy by Shirley Anderson Wesselhoeft, as told to her by Adolf "Wes" Wesselhoeft, is a dramatic and gripping memoir of a German American’s journey from childhood to adulthood. During World War II, young Wes and his family were forced to live in an internment camp in Texas before being shipped back to his parents’ homeland in Germany. As an adult, Wes returned to America where he proved his allegiance to the United States by serving in the Air Force for more than two decades. This is the story of a boy turned man who refused to let the trials and tribulations of his childhood keep him from pursuing the American dream. It's an inspiration for dreamers and a narrative of a larger, untold story that should be included in modern-day history books.

Review by Kris Patterson (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Wesselhoeft is the story of an innocent six-year-old American boy who was caught up in the events of World War II. No longer playing on the beach in Chicago, going to school and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, he and his parents were suddenly taken away to a desolate internment camp in Texas. One year later his family and many U.S. citizens like himself were traded for other Americans with our enemy Nazi Germany into an active war zone. Taken to Hamburg, he endured the heavy bombings by the Allies, followed by hunger and deprivation in post-war Germany. In spite of these events he took the first opportunity to return to America and join the Air Force. After twenty-two years of service, including two tours in Vietnam,he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Now legally blind from Agent Orange exposure. Wes competes in tandem bicycle races and still lets very little stop him. WESSELHOEFT tells his story of faith in God, American perseverance and love of country.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN 13: 978-1725055919 ISBN- 10: 1725055910
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 170

The Dragon Soldier's Good Fortune by Robert Goswitz

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

The Dragon Soldier’s Good Fortune by Robert Goswitz centers around a wonderful legend throughout Vietnamese history of dragon tattoos protecting against evil spirits. Upon arrival in Vietnam, American soldier, Private Ed Lansky, is asked if he’s a dragon or its prey by the first soldier he meets. Soon he becomes convinced his dragon spirit has magical powers to protect him. Lansky believes he has seen an actual dragon several times when he and his unit are in trouble. During his last week in Nam, an ambush threatens to destroy his entire platoon, but his dragon comes to the rescue. After they make it home, one of Lansky’s best buddies has questions for Ed about the dragon, leading Ed to finally conclude the dragon wasn’t his imagination; it was real!

As a Vietnam veteran, I was moved by the description of events and the reality of how things were for those who served. In summary, the story is realistic enough and an enjoyable read.

The overall story has great potential because the flow of the story is fast-moving and realistic. Unfortunately, much was lost by the writer’s use of verbiage that distracted from the flow and made the reader feel disconnected. However, those occasions when a dictionary was needed only distracted for a short time.

Reviewed by Tom Criser (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 An ancient king of Vietnam ordered his subjects to cover their arms and thighs with Dragon Tattoos. It was an accepted belief of the times that Dragon Power protected farmers against evil spirits in their rice paddies. A millennium later, Private Ed Lansky faces a different form of evil in those same paddies. As luck would have it, he meets Sergeant Chen, a GI with Dragon Tattoos on his arms. Chen insists Dragon Power is no myth.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781626949539
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Horror/Fantasy/Sci Fi
Number of Pages: 320

Flying Through the Years: A Trilogy of Short Tours and Collection of Stories by Robert Lanzotti

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MWSA Review

Flying through the Years by Bob Lanzotti is an interesting and informal memoir covering the often-humorous highlights of the author’s military service as an Army aviator. The book is divided into three sections, covering three short-tours during the author’s military service—one in Korea and two in war-torn Vietnam in the late 1960s. Lanzotti’s choice of telling his story via a series of short vignettes makes this a quick, informative, and worthwhile read.

At times irreverent and even whimsical, Lanzotti’s informal writing style easily transports the reader back in time, and into the battle. However, even Lanzotti’s matter-of-fact storytelling cannot hide the fact that Army aviation can be deadly serious or just plain deadly—especially during wartime.

The author suggests that his book would “make interesting reading for [his] children.” A reader interested in a collection of short stories about the life of an Army helicopter pilot will also find the wide-ranging stories contained in this book quite entertaining. A few technical glitches represent only minor distractions from a thoroughly enjoyable memoir. 

Review by John Cathcart (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

In Flying through the Years: A Trilogy of Short Tours and a Collection of Short Stories, Bob Lanzotti provides his memoirs as an Army helicopter pilot during three overseas tours, all conducted during the turbulent decade of the sixties. Each tour, one to Korea and two to Vietnam, contains at least a score of short stories. Lanzotti begins with his often humorous reflections as a fledgling new aviator in Korea. As the book progresses, so too does Lanzotti’s aviator experience level and job responsibilities, culminating with his command of the Crimson Tide, a Chinook unit within the 1st Cavalry Airmobile Division. His stories recurrently pay well earned homage to the achievements of the men he served and flew with during what he recalls as his greatest adventure.

ISBN-13: 9781947309456
Publisher: Deeds Publishing
Publication date: 06/25/2018
Pages: 186

The Court-Martial of Corporal Nutting: A Memoir of the Vietnam War by John Nutting

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MWSA Review

 A profoundly moving story that vividly captures a view of American history through the reflective mind of a 19-year-old Vietnam Marine who heroically fought the tragic war. The aging author once left a small town and patriotic family to almost instantly enter a gigantic and chaotic struggle for survival. He trudges through each day of unimaginable carnage. John Nutting later returns home again -- forever altered by the graphic horrors experienced. Nutting ties in personal images of fellow Marines, the sixties culture, and family in this page-turning recollection of events that will capture the reader. Pictures effectively portray the book's content.

The author uses an easy-to-read style to describe scenes from the unfathomable to the humorous. His script helped me feel what it was like to laugh with a friend and a few minutes later be gathering his body parts up in a body bag while still under fire... or to fall in love in a foreign land and leave without closure to catch your flight back to the other side of earth. Nutting describes his experimentation with marijuana, after entering the Marines.

Back stateside, he gets caught with a joint and describes a breathtaking court martial. With it all in the rear view mirror, the author dedicates this story to his family or it might have been forgotten. The result is an incredibly well-written blend of thoughts remembered forever. His endless bloody fights in Vietnam, the confusion of this war, many dead and living friends, and his own two medevacs due to malaria and shrapnel injury are brought into colorful focus. I left impressed by the author's ability to perfectly depict a tormented but functioning mind, weary of war. I give this book my highest recommendation for ANY audience!

Review by Hodge Wood (February 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 John Nutting is nineteen years old in 1966. Raised in small-town Idaho, to a family that could trace its military roots back to the Revolutionary War, Nutting knows he’s going to fight the war as a Marine. On the day of his high school graduation, he swears into the US Marine Corps and boards the plane to boot camp. All too soon he’s in the jungle, a greenhorn member of “F” Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. Firing on an unseen enemy, burying friends killed by booby traps, and struggling with the notion that many people back home were totally opposed to the war, Nutting begins to wonder what are his odds of coming home? During a rescue mission gone wrong, a mortar round explodes beside his team, digging shrapnel deep into his leg. Aboard the surgical hospital ship, where he is sent to recover, he sees the indescribable injuries of Marines who had been captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese Army, and makes the decision to join the 3rd Marine Regimental Scout/Snipers at Camp Carroll. After the locals betray the scout/snipers assigned to help their village, resulting in the death of two of Nutting’s buddies, Nutting finds an escape to sanity in marijuana. This begins his continuous recourse to the drug that lasts throughout his tour, done only in the bunker or when away on R&R—never in the field and never on duty. Despite his proven record, when he is caught in possession of marijuana, his arrest and the ensuing court martial changed his life and his reputation forever.


ISBN/ASIN: IBSN-10:162914-424-X, IBSN-13:978-1-62914-424-5
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 186

The Freedom Shield by Major John D. Falcon

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MWSA Review

In The Freedom Shield by John Falcon, the author has constructed a vivid, highly personal, and structurally sound history of a heroic assault helicopter company's operations in Vietnam at the height of the war. We get to meet a number of highly entertaining characters and, sadly, learn the stories of a number of men who sacrificed all. The prose is, perhaps, a little over-worn with clichés and scattered body parts, but the spirit is present, and the telling of the tale is earnest and straightforward. This book will be of interest to those searching for small-unit histories of the Vietnam War, especially in aviation.

Review by Phil Keith (April 2019)

Author's Synopsis

 In war, life has a way of turning on a dime. It is often a small choice that determines who lives and who sacrifices his or her young life. The Vietnam War was no different than any other bloody war. However, for the young guys who lived it, breathed its vigorous stench of rot and mud, the Vietnam War was like no other. In retrospect, life was simple here: turn left, you live: turn right, you die. The Boomerang, Bounty Hunter, and Green Delta aircrews of the 191st Assault Helicopter Company (AHC) had their share of both choices. The Freedom Shield: When We Were Young, We Were There is the collective stories of the 191st AHC. A precious gem lay hidden within their underdog appearance. The unit assembled from a hodgepodge selection of hand-me-down aircraft, used equipment, and overlooked personnel who wanted to make a difference. And they did. Their collective stories define a new breed of soldier: the combat assault-helicopter crewman. The 191st pilots, crews, and support personnel vividly share the visceral details of what it's like to be at war and count on your fellow crew members to survive day in and day out. After years of healing, it has finally become easier for the members of the 191st AHC to tell their stories candidly, and their message is infinitely clear: "The price of freedom is painful."

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1631833267
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 379

In Plain Sight by Sephira Allen

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MWSA Review

The Romance genre novel, In Plain Sight, takes place in Virginia during the Civil War years of 1963 to 1865. Its underlying theme is in the ways families and other loved ones are torn apart and virtually kept separate by this war and, by extension, any war of domestic import.

While the book’s references to the details of the Virginia war during these years are indefinite, they don’t seem inaccurate, and this vagueness is appropriate to the book’s assigned genre. Instead, the book’s details center about Rylee James, a young woman who dons men’s clothing and identity to rescue her Confederate brother Matt, who has been captured by Union forces in Virginia. Rylee’s disguise and role as a doctor prove successful in gaining her access to Matt — until she becomes enthralled with Union Captain Eli Webb, and her guise becomes threadbare. Ry springs her brother Matt from his military prison, is wounded, and falls unconscious. As Eli tends to her wound, he discovers her gender and he realizes why he’s been attracted to this faux-male doctor. The two become lovers and face complications that could very well mean execution for both.

The story has many unexpected twists prior to war’s end that are indicative of the “fog of war” and of the best of human nature, and these traits kept this reader turning pages. The characters, while somewhat skin-deep, are true to human nature and appropriate to this genre. The book was written in an omniscient third person point of view that often set this reader apart from the characters’ emotional dynamics. While a wartime story depicting such emotional conflicts should show the interior thoughts and motivations that both draw similar characters together and keep them apart, it may have been better to write the story in a series of “close” third person points of view that would have increased the intimacy between character and reader. Because of this choice, the author too often chooses to explain the motives of the characters to the reader in narrative. Too, narrative could have used more scenic description, but this doesn’t seem as important in a book genre primarily preoccupied  with character emotions and related activities. The love interest between Ry and Eli doesn’t gain steam until some one hundred pages in, and toward the story’s end Ry’s attention is often on her brother and the family home. For this reason, the book may have been a stronger candidate in a Historical Fiction genre.

Clearly, the writer has put much thought into placing her characters into the book’s wartime background, and there is much storytelling talent here.

 Review by Bob Mustin (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 What wouldn’t you do for love? No damsel in distress, 20 year old Rylee James hides in plain sight of the enemy, hoping to rescue her brother - a Confederate soldier captured by Union forces. Disguised as a man, she's counting on her skills as a doctor to see her through while she risks it all to save the only family she has left. But even the best laid plans can go awry when love is at stake, and all too soon she is faced with the reality that life's choices aren't always easy. Love of family, love of country, or love of a good man - agonizing decisions to be made when she finds that setting her brother free has left her a prisoner of the heart. A historical romance set in the midst of the American Civil War, In Plain Sight intrigues right from the start, taking you on a wild and perilous ride through the war-torn Virginia countryside. An emotional journey of courage, daring and love, that keeps you enthralled right to the very end.

ISBN/ASIN: B07F5XVF8K, 1983392502, B07KYWJTS9
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Romance
Number of Pages: 332

Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee

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MWSA Review

The atomic bombs have been dropped, and Japan has surrendered. World War II is over, but not for William “Bill” L. McGee, author of Operation Crossroads: Lest We Forget!  He puts in his request for postwar duty with the Atlantic Fleet for a chance to see Europe. However, the Navy has other plans for him—duty aboard USS Fall River, a heavy cruiser destined for Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and Operation Crossroads. 

Operation Crossroads (1946) involved the first postwar atomic bomb tests. Politicians, engineers, the military, and scientists all wanted to learn more about the weapon they had unleashed. Their tests were focused on determining its effects on warships, humans, animals, and the environment. McGee’s eyewitness account, and in particular the quoted information he includes of the testing at Bikini, is sobering. 

The author pastes a great deal of outside and technical information from other sources in his chronicle. However, he uses a much lighter tone to relate experiences involving his shipmates, daily ship life, and adventures while on liberty. The account is full of old photographs, personal mementos, statistics, copies of routine schedules, ship’s orders, logs, newspaper articles, other eyewitness accounts, and writings from the experts in the field. 

The Navy originally planned three nuclear tests for Operation Crossroads. They postponed the third test largely due to their inability to decontaminate the target ships, and the unexpected effects of radiation from the second test. Because no one yet knew much about the adverse impact of radiation, almost no precautions were taken. Personnel who worked on the cleanup, gathered information, and retrieved the test animals on the target ships wore little in the way of protective clothing. Not long after the tests, serious safety concerns regarding the radiation generated began to surface. Sadly, many of the participants of Operation Crossroads experienced and are experiencing health issues. 

Despite some visual and editing errors, this book preserves the legacy of those who participated in this operation. It is a fitting gift to the author’s descendants of his personal experiences during the war. In the post-World War II era, this event and its lessons should be remembered, and warnings heeded. As J. Robert Oppenheimer stated after the Trinity test in New Mexico in July 1945, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Review by Sandi Cowper (March 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 On July 1, 1946, millions of people around the world waited anxiously by their radios for the results of the first postwar atomic bomb tests code-named Operation CROSSROADS.

Award-winning World War II military historian, William L. McGee, provides an eyewitness account of his participation at Crossroads, an event which many scientists considered the most significant of the twentieth century.

The author, a twenty-year old U.S. Navy Gunner’s Mate at the time, who had served in the Pacific theater, was one of the 42,000 military, scientists, and civilian personnel assembled at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands for the two tests: Test Able from the air on 1 July and Test Baker from underwater on 25 July. McGee was assigned to the heavy cruiser USS ”Fall River” (CA-131), the Flagship for the Target Fleet at Crossroads and responsible for the positioning of the 95 target vessels in the Bikini Lagoon. 

Known for his spare and straightforward writing style, McGee provides a detailed eyewitness account of Tests Able and Baker, starting with the plan, the preparations, the build-up, the two rehearsals, and then the tests themselves. To this he adds details from the ”Fall River” ship logs, interviews with ”Fall River” shipmates and other Crossroads participants, and the preliminary observations immediately following the tests.

The Foreword is written by Dr. F. Lincoln Grahlfs, former Vice Commander of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV). In the last chapter, “Later Lessons Learned,” two of the nation’s leading authorities on the dangers of radiation inherent in nuclear weapons – Dr. Oscar Rosen, an advocate for “atomic veterans,” and Jonathan M. Weisgall, the legal representative of the people of the Bikini Atoll since 1975 – express their findings and conclusions about the devastating effects of radiation on man, animal, and ships… that no one saw coming. The Appendix includes a brief “Development of the Atomic Bomb”.

“I wrote this book to help preserve a part of history few know about today,” says McGee. “The subject is timely with the threat of nuclear warfare still very much in the news today. We have to learn from history… lest we forget.”

Bill McGee is one of the few surviving “atomic veterans” from Crossroads. He is a Lifetime Member of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV). McGee is the author of twenty-two books. He and his co-author/wife Sandra live in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. They may be reached at mcgeebmc@aol.com or on their website at www.WilliamMcGeeBooks.com.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9701678-5-9
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 132

Silent Warriors: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific by Gene Masters

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

At the beginning of World War II, the only defense to the Japanese in the Pacific was the United States Submarine Service. Silent Warriors by Gene Masters is an action-packed story of submarine warfare featuring a young Naval Academy graduate, Jake Lawlor. 

Born on May 8, 1911, Jacob Julius Lawlor from Des Moines, Iowa was the youngest of five children and the only boy. Painfully shy around females except for his sisters, Jake channeled all his energy to excel in academics and sports. Unable to afford college, Jake wrote to his Congressman seeking an appointment to one of the academies where his education was free. He was overjoyed to be accepted at Annapolis. Thus, the stellar and heroic naval career of Jake Lawlor begins.

Masters creatively spins this lengthy historical fiction tale while integrating an endearing and interesting cast of characters. Artfully chronicling naval battles in the Pacific theater of war, the author weaves Jake’s personal life, his loves, and the lasting friendships made while in service to his country into the fabric of the story. From 1941 through the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945, the reader is intimately involved in eleven submarine war patrols and the precision-oriented personnel aboard the boat.

Lawlor’s wartime opponent, Imperial Japanese Navy Captain Hiriake Ito are on parallel naval career trajectories for their respective countries until their paths cross time and again. In the end, Lawlor becomes the victor and Captain Ito becomes the conquered.  

Silent Warriors is a detailed technical read for naval veterans, historical fiction fans, and romantics will enjoy the enduring love stories within.

Review by Nancy Panko (March 2019)

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

Author's Synopsis

 The year is 1941. Shortly after the United States declares war on Japan in response to Pearl Harbor, Japan’s Axis allies, Germany and Italy, declare war on America. The United States finds itself in a two-theater war. President Franklin Roosevelt sets as America’s first priority, the defeat of Nazi Germany, electing to wage a more-or-less holding action in the Pacific. In the beginning, the only force opposing the Japanese onslaught in the Pacific is the U.S. Submarine Service. Jake Lawlor begins the war as Executive Officer aboard USS S-49, an aged S-class submarine, with orders to conduct unrestricted warfare against the enemy in the Pacific. When a freak mid-sea grounding causes the loss of S-49, Jake assumes command of USS Orca, a new Gato-class submarine under construction in Groton, CT. As Jake prepares a new boat and a freshly assembled crew for war, the conflict in the Pacific is going badly for the Allies. This is the story of captain Jake Lawlor’s eleven war patrols, including an ongoing conflict with Hiriake Ito, captain of the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer Atsukaze. The crew of the Orca is made up of grizzled regulars and untried youngsters, all working together for a single purpose: to bring an implacable enemy to its knees. Along the way, friendships are forged, and love affairs and marriages are created – and destroyed

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN: B07G9LFTWT, ASIN: 0692172246, ASIN: 0692173366
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 587

A Distant Field: A Novel of World War I by RJ MacDonald

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MWSA Review

Living through the hell: bullets, bayonets and artillery

From the sinking of the Lusitania to the battlefield cauldron of Gallipoli, RJ MacDonald weaves an action-packed story that leaves the reader breathless. Meticulously researched, the author traces the lives of two brothers from the moment the Lusitania is struck by a torpedo in 1915 to their dramatic rescue at sea off the coast of Ireland by four teenage O’Connell friends who rowed eleven miles to help survivors to the hell of World War I.

The brothers are Scots-Americans—Stuart and Ross McReynolds—bent on getting revenge from the Germans who killed their parents, enlisting in the British Army along with the O’Connells. After a week of basic training, mostly in sharpshooting, their small unit leaves for France but the trip is interrupted by the worst rail disaster in Great Britain’s history. Hospitalized by injuries from the train wreck, they missed the boat to France, but are shipped instead to Gallipoli, a battle in faraway Turkey that is not going well for the Allies. Crammed on a small peninsula, the boys join waves of brave soldiers rushing to the jaws of murderous machine guns, the rain of deadly artillery shells, the stench of rotting corpses, and inept field commanders who send thousands to their deaths.

The author brings to life the horror of trench warfare, of devastating artillery barrages that wipe out brigades charging on open ground, of the life and death struggle of hand-to-hand combat, of the thirst and constant hunger, of the heat and flies, of seeing your friends killed and wounded without being able to help them. In vivid detail, MacDonald tells the story of a section of the Seaford Highlanders and their relationships with the Royal Scots, the Scottish Rifle Brigade, the 52th Lowland Division,  and the French, Australian, and New Zealander divisions, all suffering horrific casualties in one of the bloodiest and least successful campaigns of the First World War.

A Distant Field is not for the squeamish, but there are tender moments as Stuart and Ross meet young ladies who pine for them after they leave Scotland. The attention to detail of time and places, coupled with intimate understanding of soldiers in combat, makes me wait anxiously for its promised sequel. 

Review by Joe Epley (February 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 "Torpedo! Starboard side!" Scots-Americans Stuart and Ross McReynolds struggle for their lives as the RMS Lusitania rapidly sinks off the Irish coast in 1915. They only survive thanks to four young Irishmen who row to their rescue. Together, with a Canadian and a young English officer, they all go on to join the Seaforth Highlanders, the remotest of all Scottish regiments in the British Army. On the way Stuart falls deeply in love with Nell, a friend of his cousin who lives in a small coastal fishing village on the east coast of Scotland. Their initial training is hurried, and they set off for France, only to become ensnared in the Quintinshill Disaster, the worst train crash in British history, which kills or wounds hundreds of Scottish soldiers. After recuperating, they receive new orders to sail for Gallipoli, where they face their baptism of fire and must learn to fight and survive under the blazing Aegean sun against Turkish soldiers, Jihad-sworn to push them back into the sea.


ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 1944353208, ISBN-13: 978-1944353209, ASIN: B07J1RPSPW
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 324

Daddy Left with Mr. Army: A Child's View of Military Deployment by Chandelle Walker

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

In her book, Daddy Left with Mr. Army: A Child’s View of Military Deployment, military spouse and author Chandelle Walker has created a powerful tool for military families. Although specifically targeted to those wearing Mr. Army’s green, the book will appeal to military families of all service branches—helping them cope with the stress of military life in general and deployment in particular.

The US military has participated in frequent and lengthy overseas deployments for decades now. The media often focus on the war-fighting aspects of these activities, but overlook the impact on our military families. These deployments cause stress for those left behind—and military children are especially vulnerable. 

The book includes short rhyming passages suitable for young children dealing with different aspects of deployment. Each facing page includes colorful and moving illustrations by Joshua Allen, which help tie together the various issues and emotions brought out as the story progresses.

The author includes a page of helpful suggestions for activities to help families—and especially children—deal with the tremendous challenges associated with having a military parent deployed. I recommend this book for military families with elementary to middle school-aged children.

Review by John Cathcart (February 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Living as a military child can often be challenging. Have you wondered what a military deployment is like from the eyes of these children? Have you thought about what they might be feeling, and do you question how to help them get through it? In Daddy Left with Mr. Army, author Chandelle Walker offers insight from a child's perspective to help you understand the emotions your child may be feeling as separation occurs. Based on Chandelle's personal experiences in a military family dealing with deployments, Daddy Left with Mr. Army helps both children and parents open a conversation about the time away. Through rhyme and illustrations, this picture book shares the challenges of deployment but also the joys of serving the United States in the military.

ISBN/ASIN: 1480868051
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 30