MWSA Review Done

The Batter's Box by Andy Kutler

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MWSA Review

The Batter’s Box is a tour de force—a riveting tale of baseball, war, and the human spirit. Many writers are skilled at conveying one particular niche or historical period. Andy Kutler does it all. The book begins with the story of an elderly woman. Her body is frail but her mind still sharp.  She has reached that point at the end of life when she is secure in her own identity, satisfied with the experiences life has brought her, and needing nothing more than a sympathetic ear to hear her story.

Then quickly, the scene shifts, and the author is taking the reader on a nostalgic trip to a baseball diamond. The air is thick with the smells of dust, sweat, peanut shells, and hotdog grease. It’s 1941. Baseball is the national pastime, and playing ball is the dream of little boys everywhere.  Talented players are heroes, and their names resonate with those of us who lived through the forties and fifties. The sports enthusiast might be content to follow Will Jamison and his baseball career to the end of the book.

But the author has much more in store for his readers. It’s now 1944, and our hero finds himself in Belgium, headed into a confrontation that will eventually become known as The Battle of the Bulge. Kutner spares the reader nothing as he describes in gruesome detail the sights, smells, and deafening sounds of battle. Irrational men and hulking machines of death confront each other and leave only ruin behind.

Enough? No. It’s now 1946, and Will Jamison is back from the war. Peace is settling over the land again, the baseball diamonds are calling, and relieved young men are leaping toward a chance to be a hero with a bat rather than a gun. Will wants to join them, but two invisible wounds hold him back —one deep in a thigh muscle and the other burrowing deep in his brain. In those post-war years, no one knew or understood the term PTSD, and it was certainly not clear to those most affected. A loud noise—a flashing light—almost anything could trigger an emotional outburst the sufferer was helpless to withstand.

At the end of the book, the author brings us back to the present, with a surprise ending that echoes and wraps the entire package into one satisfying conclusion. This is an amazing story—well-written, beautifully designed, and emotionally satisfying. It stands head and shoulders above most of the books I have read this year.

Review by Carolyn Schriber (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

In 1946, a returning World War II veteran is determined to reclaim his place among professional baseball’s upper echelon and win back the woman he once fell for. Two months into the new season, at the top of his game, he abandons his team, casting aside his fame and riches and vanishing forever from the public eye. What drives a man to walk away from everything he cherishes, never to be heard from again? The Batter’s Box follows the path of Will Jamison, a star player with the Washington Senators who enlists in the U.S. Army following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. When the war ends, Jamison returns to Washington, a decorated hero tormented by deep emotional scars. Burdened with a crushing guilt and harrowing memories he cannot escape, Jamison’s life is consumed by an explosive temper, sleepless nights, and a gradual descent into alcoholism. He must also navigate public misconceptions about mental illness in the 1940s, and stigmas that often silenced those who suffered and drove veterans like Jamison into dark corners. Will he continue on, alone with his anguish and misery? Or will he level with those around him, including the woman he loves, and seek the professional care he desperately needs, even at the risk of exposing his secrets and shame?

ISBN/ASIN: 9781944353216,9781944353223,9781944353230
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 304

Vietnam's Valleys of Darkness by H. J. Thomas

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MWSA Review

In his book Vietnam's Valleys of Darkness, author H.J. Thomas spins a tale of intrigue, combining combat with spies and smugglers. Never sure who is the good guy or gal and who isn't, Thomas's protagonist, Chief Warrant Officer Ray Bryant is simply trying to survive his third tour in Vietnam. When a fellow American soldier tries to kill him with a grenade, Bryant's worst suspicions become reality. When a Vietnamese waitress at the club on base warns him about an upcoming mission that she shouldn't know anything about, Bryant's faith in the system is again shaken. The author's own experience in the military intelligence and aviation can be felt and adds to the authenticity of the story, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Vietnam war and /or military history. 

Review by Bob Doerr (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

It's 1968 and the war in Vietnam wears weary on all involved. Chief Warrant Officer Ray Bryant is on his third tour, and as a dual-rated U.S. Army aviator, he's not happy when he is temporarily reassigned to fly Hueys for the 5th Special Forces Group out of Kontum. Both crew and aircraft are tested to their limits, struggling against what usually accompanies missions with a "special" designation. Combat can always become confusing, but Bryant finds it nearly impossible to separate the bad guys from the good. Even Special Operations and the chain of command seem to have a dark cloud hanging over their policies and activities. Bryant's military training and experience are tested to the maximum as he seeks to maintain his military career and complete the mission requirements.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781091978720
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 305 

Probe the Ocean, Plow the Sea: A Destroyer Sailor's Vietnam Era Odyssey by Paul Jewell

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MWSA Review

Probe the Ocean, Plow the Sea is a memoir that captures a time in our nation's military history through a personal telling of the author's own experiences. Not many people know much about our Navy's destroyers, let alone what it was like to be on a crew of one during the Vietnam War era. This is a very personal telling, through a well-written memoir, by a USN enlisted man, who was assigned on board one of those ships.

It was a time that our younger generations may never fully understand, nor appreciate the impact those times had on so many young men's lives in this nation. The author brings home to the reader some clarity, by sharing his own personal accounts of what his life was about and how he handled it all.

He also shares some insights on his unit's involvement and role in naval history for the closing months of the Vietnam War.

This should be a must-read for USN veterans and, I think, the greater audience of readers of military genre. I enjoyed reading Paul Jewel's memoir. I now feel like I know him personally.

Review by Bill McDonald (July 2019)



Author's Synopsis

“Probe the Ocean, Plow the Sea” chronicles, in prolific detail, the enlisted tour of duty of a destroyer sailor in the western Pacific during the Vietnam era. Naval memoirs tend to be written by senior commissioned officers or well-known biographers. Far less common is the view from the bottom looking up by junior enlisted sailors, particularly those who served in less glamorous surface ships such as destroyers. The lack of detailed U.S. Navy surface ship narratives is particularly chronic for the Vietnam War where if naval forces are acknowledged at all, it is generally the role played by naval aviation. Particularly overlooked is the important role cruisers and destroyers played in “Linebacker”, the final combat operations off North Vietnam in 1972. Author Paul Jewell joined the USS Richard B. Anderson in the closing phase of Linebacker and remained with the ship until 1974. Whether conducting combat operations at the close of the Vietnam War, suffering through prolonged yard periods, or gathering intelligence off the Korean peninsula, the ships of Destroyer Squadron 15 homeported in Japan were the point of the spear for U.S. foreign policy in half the world’s ocean. This memoir chronicles that history during the early years of the Anderson and other DESRON 15 ships forward deployment as seen through the eyes of an enlisted sonar technician.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781718722484
Book Format(s): Soft cover, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 254 

Baghdaddy: How Saddam Hussein Taught Me to Be a Better Father by Bill Riley

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MWSA Review

Baghdaddy: How Saddam Hussein Taught Me to Be a Better Father by Bill Riley is an insightful look at a time in history and into the life of a real warrior. It is an emotional journey that is so well told it feels like a classic novel. The author has a great way with words so that it feels like art on a canvas of paper and words. This book captures a piece of our lives and times that most of us just saw on the television news. 

The author constructs a background story of his childhood that allows the reader an insightful understanding of who this man was and why he saw his world around him as he did. His childhood was one of abuse and violence from his own father, all of which sets the outlook on the life of the author, as he treads down his own passageway of life. Lessons learned in childhood not only helped him deal with the war itself but also with his own fatherhood. 

The author is a talented wordsmith. The narrative truly fixes images into the mind and heart of the reader—a well written human experience, not just a war memoir.

Review by Bill McDonald (July 2019)


Author's Synopsis

As a child, he was raised in an unstable and violent home by a mother struggling with mental illness. An absent father with a firm belief in tough love left him with only his sister to understand or comfort him as they faced a home full of harshness, resentment, and physical abuse. As a man, he braved the war-torn landscapes of Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Having learned early from his father that only the strong survive, he enlisted in the Air Force after high school and began an impressive military career in intelligence analysis, communications, and supporting special operations, meeting incredible individuals along the way. Baghdaddy is Bill Riley’s memoir: an honest and colorful depiction of his journey through a turbulent youth and into a challenging adulthood. This very human account of living in some of the least humane environments delivers the message that no matter how different we seem, we are all trying to make the best of life and learn how to be the best versions of ourselves.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-61254-292-8
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 456 

Lions of the Sky by Francesco Chierici

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MWSA Review

Paco Chierici’s first novel, Lions of the Sky, is an expertly woven story about the determination, sacrifices, and camaraderie of the fighter pilot community. The author, an accomplished fighter pilot himself with over 3000 hours and 400 carrier traps, puts his experiences, both good and bad, into the characters and action, and tells a story like only one who has “been there” can.

“Slammer” Richardson has seen it all as a Hornet pilot, and now he’s training the next crop of stick jockeys. But he has a secret, and survivor’s guilt, and issues with women combat pilots; and all of those will be challenged when he trains his final class, which features two female pilots, “Quick” and “Dusty.” Are they the real deal? Can Slammer keep his demons in check long enough to teach the class what they need to know, despite the distractions and his personal feelings?

Things don’t get any better when by a twist of fate Slammer, Dusty, and Quick are all in the same squadron a year later when rising tensions between Vietnam and China put them smack in the middle of a powder keg waiting to go off. Mettle will be tested and lives will be lost, but who will come out still standing when the showdown is over?

I particularly liked how well the author weaved in his personal experience into the characters. He used parts of his later career, when he was a seasoned aviator, in developing Slammer, and did an excellent job. The trepidation and uncertainty from the earlier part of his career, as he was training for a difficult and dangerous job, is apparent in the more junior aviators. Finally, I was impressed with how the intricate movements of aircraft in combat—second nature to a fighter pilot—were easily and clearly explained to the lay reader. You don’t need to be a pilot to understand the action so well written here.

Fans of air combat action or former tactical pilots from any service will appreciate and enjoy this book. Chierici hit a home run his first time at bat.

Review by Rob Ballister (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Sam Richardson is a fighter pilot’s pilot, a reluctant legend with a gut-eating secret. He is in the last span of his tour as an instructor, yearning to get back to the real action of the Fleet, when he is ordered to take on one last class—a class that will force him to confront his carefully quarantined demons. Brash, carefree, and naturally gifted, Keely Silvers is the embodiment of all that grates on him. After years of single-minded dedication, she and her classmates can see the finish line. They are months away from achieving their life-long dream, flying Navy F/A-18 fighters. They are smart and hard-working, but they’re just kids with expensive new toys. They’re eager to rush through training and escape to the freedom of the world beyond, a world they view as a playground full of fast jets and exotic locales. But Sam knows there is a darker side to the profession he loves. There is trouble brewing in the East with global implications. If they make it past him they will be cast into a dangerous world where enemy planes cruise the skies over the South China Sea like sharks, loaded with real weapons and hidden intentions.

ISBN/ASIN: B07NSGRXCZ,978-1640620728,9781640620674
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 292

Midnight Blues by Robert Kidera

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MWSA Review

Robert Kidera weaves a fast-moving story around Gabe McKenna on his first assignment as a private investigator. Midnight Blues is a suspenseful yarn—twisted in horrifying circumstance and sprinkled with humor—that starts with the kidnapping of the young son of an Indian friend.

Gabe and his partner Onion misread the kidnappers, losing the ransom money and the boy. Gabe gets shot, and his client is murdered. This leads them on a chase through New Mexico’s backcountry that reads like a travel log on out-of-the-way places not on the top of any places you want to visit. As they pursue the bad guys, they pick up a strange posse of a 90-year-old hermit driving a 70-year-old motorcycle, a dwarf toting a Tommy Gun, a female archaeologist, and a Native American big truck driver.

What started as two suspects grows to a human trafficking cartel that had abducted young girls, most of them Indian, from small towns. As Gabe and his crew play tag with the bad guys in running gun battles, they learn the cartel is headquartered in an old village that time forgot: Midnight. They find a back road to the ghost town. That task becomes more urgent with the news that the gang is leaving Midnight and taking their captives to another location. 

The FBI is called, but don’t arrive until after Gabe and friends engage the heavily armed cartel in a fierce battle that leaves most of the bad guys dead or wounded and their leader, improbably called Angel, trying to flee in an airplane. Gabe has to stop him as the others free the young prisoners.

This is the fourth in a series of Gabe McKenna action-packed novels that grabs your attention and doesn’t turn you loose until the last sentence of the last page.

 Review by Joe Epley (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 What kind of person would harm a child? Private Investigator and Vet Gabe McKenna tracks a young boy taken prisoner by a human trafficking cartel through the wilds of New Mexico. With the aid of unlikely friends, including a 94 year-old former WW II vet, himself a former prisoner-of-war, a race against time results in a bloody final showdown at a remote, deserted, mining town called Midnight. Who will be willing to pay the ultimate price and make a difference in this struggle for freedom?

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN: 978-1723845062 ASIN: B07H5V4VZ3
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 251

Gambit by Karna Small Bodman

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MWSA Review

Gambit is the second book in Karna Small Bodman’s White House National Security Series. In this installment, Dr. Cameron Talbot, a brilliant young American scientist takes on the mystery of American civilian planes being shot down with no warning on radar and no claims of responsibility from any terrorist group. The result is panic for pilots, flight attendants, and potential flyers as well as the airlines and a falling stock market. Talbot continues to struggle with lack of support from her boss who is overridden by a request from the White House to solve this problem. As usual, she has an idea. She is once again paired with Lt. Col. Daniels, who left her without explanation after a romantic interlude in India, causing her much personal stress. When her name is leaked to the media as working on a solution, someone tries repeatedly to kill her.

Relevant details from the first book are nicely woven into this story so that it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Bodman’s knowledge of the White House, as a result of serving in the Reagan administration, allows her to include details of not only the buildings but also the complexities faced by any administration. The book would profit from a final proofreader as there are many typos, misspellings, and punctuation errors. However, these do not interfere significantly with this well crafted story.  

Review by Nancy Kauffman (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

The newly revised and re-released story of Gambit is the second book of the White House National Security thriller series (and is the sequel to Checkmate) where Lt. Col. Hunt Daniels once again works with Dr. Cameron Talbot to develop a defense against a new stealth shoulder fired missile that is taking down American commercial airliners. With the country in a panic and the economy taking a nose-dive, Dr. Talbot and Col. Hunt find themselves enmeshed in international plots in the highest levels of government.

ISBN/ASIN: (Trade paperback) ISBN: 978-1621577812; (Kindle) ASIN: B07D2J21DJ; (Audio CDs) ISBN: 978-1721358830
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 413

Edison 64 by Richard Sand

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MWSA Review

There are some history facts that just cry out for someone to personalize and share with the world. This book is one of those chronicles history that begs to be told. Edison High School in Philadelphia—which is now no longer standing and was replaced with a shopping mall—was home to the most former students killed in Vietnam of any school in the entire USA. There were sixty-four young men killed who had attended Edison, and they later became known as the Edison 64. A plaque and a flag now mark the old location of their high school. This book takes memories and stories of people who knew them and who went to school with them. Some family members, some high school friends—but all have been damaged emotionally in some way. In fact, the whole community of Philadelphia has suffered in some form. This book allows the rest of the nation to know these young men. The author shares photos of them along with the emotional remembrances of fellow alumni who also went to Nam and survived the war. The book is a written tribute and memorial to the sixty-four and to the community where the young men grew up and went to school: a moving reading experience. You cannot but feel some pain for all of us as a nation. Those at Edison High School gave more than their fair share. We can all be proud and grateful that such young men lived. This is author Richard Sand's best book to date.

Review by Bill McDonald (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

Edison 64—A Tragedy in Vietnam and at Home tells the moving, but little known story of 64 students from Edison High School in North Philadelphia who were killed in the Vietnam War. That is the largest number from any school in the Country.

Forewords are by Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, who calls it "an extraordinary contribution" and Former Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, who describes it as "remarkable.” Both are decorated Vietnam Combat veterans. The book contains history, interviews, and poignant photographs.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-948460-00-2
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 246

Notes from the Other Side of the Mountain: Love Confronts the Wounds of War by J. Allen Whitt

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MWSA Review

The novel, Notes from the Other Side of the Mountain – Love Confronts the Wounds of War, by J. Allen Whitt, spans the central years in the life of Gary Reed. This thoughtful young man spends his younger years in New Mexico and Texas, when he falls in love with the beautiful Kristi Preston. Losing Kristi’s affections, he joins the Navy in time to take part in the Vietnam conflict and experiences the horrors and losses of war. Vietnam comes home with him in the form of PTSD. However, he rekindles his romance with Kristi, only to lose her once more. Finally, decades later, Gary returns to New Mexico to reflect on his life there, the embers of his love for Kristi, and the lessons and perspectives life has granted him.

This novel is part coming of age, part romance, and part call to action in the cause of PTSD treatment, but primarily it’s a memoir in the form of a novel. Whitt’s voice is consistent throughout, and particularly strong in Part 4, when the text switches to present tense. It’s in this final phase of the novel that it gains its strength and emotional impact. His narrative depictions of scenic views in New Mexico are inspired, particularly for a first novel, and are testimony to a writer’s eye, ear, and nose for the surrounding world. Balancing crisp dialogue and narrative is an art in itself, and this one is certainly ripe for growth in that regard. Whitt has a talent for surprise and drama in creating his story arc, but there are issues here. Unresolved or unexplained episodes with his school friends in New Mexico—particularly the crumbling of his teen romance with Kristi—create an early disconnect from the story’s overall impact. There are repetitive scenes, layout problems with the book, typos, misspellings, and punctuation errors.

Review by Bob Mustin (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Through his vivid narration, we follow Gary Reed as he finds love in high school, then is called to Navy service in Vietnam. Traumatized by the carnage of war, he comes home, hoping to reunite with Kristina Preston and find peace within the serene mountains of New Mexico. Yet Kristy has harrowing secrets as well, and they will face daunting obstacles as they struggle to build a future together and survive unexpected twists of fortune.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 0692954252, ISBN-13: 978-0692954256
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Fiction—Romance
Number of Pages: 368

Job 2.0 by Del Staecker

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MWSA Review

Patterned loosely after the Book of Job, which was written three millennia ago, Job 2.0 by Del Staecker is a charming and engaging tale of the struggle between “good” and “not good.” Using contemporary language and situations, Lucifer asks God for a rematch after failing to compromise Job’s faith so long ago. Choosing Jake, an ordinary man, Lucifer unleashes all hell into Jake’s life and leaves him with nothing. His friends from his fast-pitch softball team, the Misguided Saints, rally around Jake to expound on their own versions of truth. From the book, Lucifer’s response is: “I love these guys. They focus on my kind of stuff—half-baked ideas born out of copious alcohol consumption.” Jake does not slam the door on God, but continues to question and search. In an interesting twist, Lucifer brings Jake relief and his heart’s desires in an effort to distract him from seeking God. 

The deceptively breezy dialogue and cleverly simple situations contain nuanced truths that I found to be, quite simply, mind-boggling. Somehow Staecker manages to couch theological concepts in words that we humans can contemplate and—dare I say?—enjoy. Of particular note, God’s “character” was enlightening. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, this book will tug at heartstrings you may not even know you have.  

Review by Betsy Beard (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

God and Lucifer are at it again! More than three millennia after their first contest, the Creator of the Universe and his highest errant minion are struggling a second time over the fate of a single soul. What does this rematch mean - for you? Perfect for believers, seekers, and questioners of all ages, Job 2.0 answers the question of the meaning of life through humor and wisdom that is both entertaining and deeply profound.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN 978-0-310107583 (paperback); ISBN 978-0-310107590 (ebook)
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 67

Saga of a Lesser War by Emmett Slake

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MWSA Review

Author Emmett E. Slake spins a tragic tale about the interwoven lives of a handful of Americans and Japanese thrown together in Japan at the outbreak of the Korean War. Private Dave Ricksen is one of these soldiers who falls in love with a Japanese woman. He is selected to be in the first wave of American soldiers to be sent to Korea to stem the North Korean invasion. Ill prepared and ill equipped, his unit is slaughtered, and Ricksen narrowly survives the encounter. Barely alive, he evades the North Koreans and finally makes it back to the American lines. Flown to a military hospital in Japan, he slowly recovers, only to learn he has been charged with treason. Meanwhile, the life of everyone he left behind has been disrupted. He struggles to prove his innocence only to find the woman he loved has disappeared, and he is being thrown back into the conflict. This is an interesting and realistic account of the impact of war, not only on the battlefield, but on those left behind.

Review by Bob Doerr (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 One June day at the mid-point of the twentieth century, the uneasy peace that settled over the "Land of the Morning Calm" was shattered by an act of aggression. Not far away, on the "Islands of the Rising Sun" the first tremors of conflict resonated. In response to the vague menace, an army of occupation from a previous war was ordered into action, forever altering the lives of those called upon to respond. The novel is an intense account of the early stages of the Korean War candidly presented without pretense or heroic embellishment. The saga provides a unique fictional journey that traces the lives of two young American soldiers, who from a common beginning diverge to their separate fates: one heroic and the other treasonous. Involved in the course of action is a diverse cast of related characters, military and civilian, foreign and native, each confronting a range of moral issues, which include courage and sacrifice, misbehavior and intrigue, love and lust. The tragic drama evolves over a realm that extends from the backstreets of Yokohama to the power center of Japan: the Dai Ichi building in Tokyo, to the treacherous landscape of Korea. The vivid portrayal of events is a captivating fictional experience that serves to inform, entertain and reveal a largely disregarded time and place in history.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBNs 9781642375558, eISBN 9781642375565
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 363

Interview with a Terrorist by James Rosone and Miranda Watson

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MWSA Review

Interview with a Terrorist is an interesting and provocative firsthand account of author James Rosone’s time in Iraq with the United States Army. In 2006, Rosone trained for human intelligence gathering and deployed to Camp Striker in Iraq. From the training on how to stay within the letter of the law to his homecoming trip, the book details the eighteen months that affected his life in ways that could not be imagined. Daily contact with some of the worst members of terrorist groups as well as living conditions the American military endured as a matter of course produced a determination to make a difference to our fighting forces, our country, and the world at large.

Most members of the American public know little of the day to day grind of our military men and women who interrogate terrorists for human intelligence. Instead we have all too often relied on the sensationalist media and Hollywood’s version of the truth. This book provides an unvarnished antidote through the eyes of someone who actually spent time doing the work.

Review by Betsy Beard (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Have you ever wondered what really goes on in those poorly lit interrogation rooms overseas? Are you prepared to travel down a dark path into a world few know of…and even fewer have ever talked about? In 2006, when the Iraq war was all but lost, a new strategy was implemented—not only would America place combat troops in nearly every village and city across Iraq, the US would systematically hunt down every terrorist and insurgent group operating in the country. However, that strategy relied upon the success of a small interrogation unit within Task Force 134 to find, locate, and eliminate these threats to peace and stability within Iraq. Interview with a Terrorist follows James Rosone’s true life story as he joined the interrogation team to try and make a difference in the conflict in Iraq. Learn what it was like to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners and how he met the challenge of obtaining intelligence without the use of torture. Experience what it’s like to sit across the table from some of the world’s most evil terrorists—men who just hours ago killed dozens of civilians or American soldiers. Experience the thrill of a capture mission that goes well and the sinking depression and anger of a mission that goes horribly wrong. If you like insights into hidden worlds, conspiracies unraveled, and raw portrayals of American soldiers’ experiences, you’ll love Rosone’s frank and uncensored autobiography. James Rosone has spent over 2,000 hours interrogating Al Qaeda terrorists, cracking their secrets to prevent attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces. He helped uncover terrorist cells operating in Europe, East Africa, and in the U.S. Homeland. All the while, he endured challenges few civilians could image. Would you be willing to make the same sacrifice for your country? Grab your copy and find out what goes on in one of the dirtiest jobs of any war.

ISBN/ASIN: B01MFHWCCL
Book Format(s): Kindle
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 224

The History of Human Space Flight by Theodore Spitzmiller

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MWSA Review

The History of Human Space Flight by author/historian Ted Spitzmiller sets the gold standard for history books about space flight. This book gives the reader a true education in its 600+ pages of great storytelling. It might be "history" but the author makes the book feel like you are getting a personal tour of the space program from all the experts. Not only does he give us a great inside look at our own space program (NASA) but also some inside information on what the USSR was doing and what Germany contributed to both space programs. Insightful and informative. 

I found the book to be more than I had expected or hoped it might be. It left me satisfied that I had gotten a full picture of what transpired: the early efforts to get rockets into space, the first daring men to ride rocket ships into space, and the moon landings. This is truly an adventure story witnessed by the world, but until now it was not documented so we could all fully appreciate and understand. This book has filled that gap of knowledge with abundant information and data and stories about real people who had courage.

This book is on my personal bookshelf and I will have my grandchildren read it. I salute the author's efforts. Well done!

Review by Bill McDonald (May 2019)


Author's Synopsis

Provides a broad perspective on the efforts to send humans into space. Beginning with the aerostats (balloons) of the 18th century through the rocket planes of the 1950s, to the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. All of the efforts are chronicled along with coverage of the key technologies and principle individuals involved (including management and technical support). Extensively illustrated with a detailed index.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-8130-5427-8
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 633 

Echo in Ramadi - The Firsthand Story of U.S. Marines in Iraq's Deadliest City by Scott Huesing

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MWSA Review

Ramadi is the capital of Al Anbar province in Iraq. In 2006 it was the location for some of the bitterest fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom as insurgents and Coalition Forces fought for control of the strategically important city. Into the middle of this cauldron of devastating urban warfare was thrust Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines led by then-Captain Scott A. Huesing.

Though well trained and leavened with a cadre of Iraq war veterans, the Echo Company Marines were still shocked by the ferocity of violence that greeted them during the height of the insurgency, something that never let up during the unit’s deployment.

Echo in Ramadi joins other books on the subject as an excellent account of the Battle of Ramadi. What sets it apart, and gives it a particularly gripping veracity, is that it’s a story of the unit told from the point of view of its commander. Huesing spares no detail, nor himself, in the telling of Echo Company’s effort to wrest neighborhoods from insurgent control. The result is a war with no quarter asked or given—one where, as he graphically details, rules of engagement are callously manipulated by the insurgents and turned into weapons against Coalition Forces.

Huesing’s narrative covers the gamut of Echo Company’s experience, from the bonding that began with training to the fellowship that grew stronger when the Marines went into battle. Huesing reveals the complexity of company command, from basic leadership to the stress of chaos of urban combat. The many interlocking layers of command responsibility are vividly recounted, no more so than when Huesing makes a satellite phone call from his command post to comfort the mother of a Marine under his command who had been wounded.

Huesing pulls no punches in revealing the physical and emotional cost of their deployment. The tally of the butcher’s bill paid by Echo Company did not end when they left Iraq, but continued after they returned to the States and later, after discharge. Along with the physical wounds were the psychological scars of post-traumatic stress that contributed to the suicides of some men from the company and to Huesing’s own brush with death in a single-vehicle automobile crash.

Echo in Ramadi is one of most powerful accounts of the Iraq war. Its page-turning narrative reveals the stark, gut-wrenching triumph and tragedy that is the human cost of war.

Review by Dwight Jon Zimmerman (May 2019)


 Author's Synopsis

"In war, destruction is everywhere. It eats everything around you. Sometimes it eats at you." —Major Scott Huesing, Echo Company Commander From the winter of 2006 through the spring of 2007, two-hundred-fifty Marines from Echo Company, Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment fought daily in the dangerous, dense city streets of Ramadi, Iraq during the Multi-National Forces Surge ordered by President George W. Bush. The Marines' mission: to kill or capture anti-Iraqi forces. Their experience: like being in Hell. Now Major Scott A. Huesing, the commander who led Echo Company through Ramadi, takes readers back to the streets of Ramadi in a visceral, gripping portrayal of modern urban combat. Bound together by brotherhood, honor, and the horror they faced, Echo's Marines battled day-to-day on the frontline of a totally different kind of war, without rules, built on chaos. In Echo in Ramadi, Huesing brings these resilient, resolute young men to life and shows how the savagery of urban combat left indelible scars on their bodies, psyches, and souls. Like war classics, We Were Soldiers, The Yellow Birds, and Generation Kill, Echo in Ramadi is an unforgettable capsule of one company's experience of war that will leave readers stunned. About the Author Scott A. Huesing is a retired USMC Infantry Major with over 24 years of service, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer. His career spanned 10 deployments and he conducted operations in over 60 countries worldwide. During his deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa he planned, led, and conducted hundreds of combat missions under some of the most austere and challenging conditions. He had the privilege to command Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Special Operations Capable (SOC) while attached to 1-9 Infantry Battalion ("Manchu"), 1st Brigade Combat Team (1 BCT "Ready First"), United States Army (USA) as part of the Surge Strategy in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 1621577341, ISBN-13: 978-1621577348
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 256

Mortal Men, Immortal Warriors by Steven London

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

A snapshot and insights of modern-day “warriors”

Author Steven London takes readers into the hearts and minds of modern-day warriors of the Army’s 4th Infantry. He captures the history of the unit’s time in Afghanistan through the personal experiences of those who served—not just officers, but an over-all good cross-section of soldiers that served there during these current times of war.

There is an intensity and honesty in the simple telling of what these young warriors did while there. Some of it highlights events of their tour of duty in a diary form, while other stories are shared in a more reflective narrative including some of the emotional hardships endured after they returned home to divorces, PTSD, and TBI issues, among other things.

This book makes a good snapshot of what life was like for these troops and also shares an important piece of military history told from those with their boots on the ground. It makes for an interesting read for both military people and for those who never wore the uniform but who may wish to understand a little deeper what happened to these warriors once upon a time.

London doesn’t try to sell everyone as heroes but shows them as very much human, and that makes this a very honest look at how war feels and looks like to those who have served in combat zones.

Review by Bill McDonald (June 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

 For nearly seven continuous years the "Warriors" maintained a combat presence in some of the most austere and remote locations during the height of the war in Afghanistan. Through written accounts, interviews, and photographs the Soldiers illuminate the shadows of war to provide personal insight into the tolls of combat. From its opening words to its closing remarks, 'Mortal Men, Immortal Warriors' leads you across an uncharted terrain within narrative non-fiction. Journey alongside with them in this visceral and compelling tribute to one of the United States Army's unsung military units. Standing strong as a 'Band of Brothers' meets ' The Things They Carried' novel, it presents an alternative interpretation of modern conflict at home and away. Raw, captivating, and emotional, the book resonates the lives of brave Soldiers through a balanced approach. Every generation needs its heroes. These are ours. This book is sure to be required reading for any military leader or historian.

ISBN/ASIN: 1980971463, B07CRM8W8J
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 294

To Any Soldier: A Novel of Vietnam Letters by Kathryn Watson Quigg and G.C. Hendricks

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Click on cover to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Two innocent lives are brought together in a war-inspired love affair through a letter addressed to “Any Soldier,” tacked to a bulletin board in a combat ready-room. The reader is drawn into a titillating experience reading personal revelations in private letters from a 23-year-old Marine Corps pilot. Moved by monotonous routine, he unpins and reads the letter out of boredom and curiosity. Lieutenant Jay Fox lives day to day at the incompetence of unseen enemy gunners, identified only by the character of their barrage attempting to destroy him and his A-6 Intruder before his bombs obliterate the “gooks.” He lives each dreary day to maybe die each night. Squadron mates do. Dullness through a daily routine prevails until he thoughtfully answers obviously silly questions from an innocent 19-year-old college student. Hesitantly, guardedly, an exchange begins. Ashley Beth Justice suffers the difficulties encountered away from home the first time. She writes about problems, and delights, in dealing with college roommates and routines experienced by a first-year college student having known and experienced little outside her rural South home.

At first, letters are innocent and probing. Then subtly over months, nearly every subject of life is explored, from the sharing sadness of losing a favored pet to questioning the war and politics. Flirtation, sex, and love intrude. Writing in increasingly personal levels, each writer elevates the other’s maturity and awareness in life. Respect and trust emerge. Frivolity and flights of silly imagination lighten gloomier thoughts and fears. Despite his conservative leanings and her staunch liberal attitude, each begins to understand life in grander perspective through understanding the other. Slight misunderstandings in expressed words or phrases create tensions as their relationship sometimes wavers, however, always to strengthen and grow—like a couple in a long-term affair. The ending is both surprising and understandable.

Descriptions of combat and life as a Marine Corps pilot in Vietnam are without flaw, obviously coming first-hand. Life as an emerging young woman away from home for the first time is authentic. Both voices ring true in language and tone through all topics.

The book’s presentation is somewhat unique with letters from Jay Fox printed out in faux typewriter font and Ashley Beth’s in computer-generated cursive font. This reality along with flawlessly spelled and formatted letters did bring forth some consternation when there appeared no strikeovers, errors, or corrections, as one would expect in real letters. Cursive also may offer some reading difficulty for young readers no longer taught cursive. A minor flaw was the author’s choice to combine both a literary fiction with military history with the inclusion of actual photos of individuals who were the foundation of the letters along with supplemental information on the real letter writers.

Unpinning a letter “To Any Soldier” from the bulletin board begins a delightful love story.

Review by Tom Beard (May 2019)


Author's Synopsis

In 1968 Jay Fox is a young marine attack pilot in Vietnam and Ashley Beth Justice is a college freshman in North Carolina when they meet each other by chance, through letters.

Ashley Beth, naïve and totally separated from the Vietnam War, begins her letter-writing as a way to personally contribute to the war effort. Having recently moved away from her small hometown, she's beginning to see the world from a new perspective.

Jay, in the midst of bombing runs each evening, has purposefully distanced himself from any close relationships, but there's something about Ashley Beth's innocent and forthright manner that compels him to answer her letters.

The reality of the war hits home for Ashley Beth when Jay describes his plane almost colliding with another after a dangerous bombing run. The stakes are higher now—the disagreements, more intense; the flirtations, more significant.

Even amid the bloodshed in Vietnam and the civil unrest at home, Jay and Ashley Beth dare to dream of a life together while struggling to understand the war and themselves in To Any Soldier

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN: B00TKTE6UM (Kindle) ISBN-10: 1505206448 ISBN-13: 978-1505206449 (soft cover)
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 264

Across the Inlet by Gail Summers

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Across the Inlet by Gail Summers is a novel for today. As baby boomers age to the point where they must address the care of their elderly and ill parents, this novel shines an unapologetically realistic light on family dynamics and end-of-life issues. Admittedly, the family in the novel is more dysfunctional than most, but their interactions show the range of emotional responses and reactions that we all might experience. The characters drive the novel, and the ensemble is well developed and believable.

I especially like the way the author reveals the individuals’ backgrounds as the novel wears on, rather than dumping it all in the first few chapters. It’s a sophisticated way to deal with the varying motives and past experiences, shifting loyalties and agonizing separations. And it demonstrates how we can at the same time both love and hate our family members. Also impressive is the author’s choice to use first person point of view and present tense. It places the reader squarely in the middle of the drama and gives a sense of immediacy and intimacy that allows readers to share the characters’ emotions. The author used dialogue and email correspondence as well as first person observations of the narrator to develop and reveal the other characters, so I never felt that the narrator violated the mandate that she only share the things she could know.

The novel is organized chronologically, dating each entry as the narrator’s stepfather progresses slowly from life to death. The use of flashback, sometimes sudden and startling, mimics the way our minds cannot easily focus on the present when the present is painful and difficult. I had a hard time putting this book down because I was never sure where the next page would take me. I also found the choice of setting to be significant. The backdrop of the beauty of Alaska’s natural features contrasted sharply with the psychological angst of the characters, showing that we can appreciate beauty even when we are in pain and that nature can bring respite in times of despair. Although I have yet to travel to our 49th state, this novel put Alaska higher on my list of places to go. 

Review by Betsy Beard (July 2019)


Author's Synopsis

Anger is easier than forgiveness—but at what cost? There’s much Abby has tried to forget in her life, including her biological father who, besides crueler things, labeled her a “dumbass girl.” Her stepdad, Bill, on the other hand, Abby doesn’t ever want to forget. So when her sister Aurora informs her that he only has days to live, Abby hops on a plane to Alaska. But Aurora lied. While Bill is dying, his is a lingering death, the wearisome kind marked by bedsores and soiled sheets. As days turn into weeks, Abby discovers that, among other things, Aurora has been stealing money from their parents, and her anger begins to harden into hatred. Although Abby’s central desire is to protect Bill from needless suffering, the discord between her and her sisters threatens to destroy the peace she longs to offer him. Thus begins the The Alyeska Saga and the beginning of a transformative journey set in the mysterious land across the inlet of Cook Inlet, Alaska.

ISBN/ASIN: ASIN: B00TKTE6UM (Kindle) ISBN-10: 1505206448 ISBN-13: 978-1505206449 (soft cover)
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 264 

Borderline Decision by Hugh Simpson

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Borderline Decision is a fun read. I read it twice. The first time, I read it at a fast, exhilarating pace that matched the story. The second time, I read it at a slower, more leisurely pace that allowed me to better experience the unfolding of the story. 

The character of LTC Hap Stoner is a glorious action figure, living true to what he says, "Doing what is right and letting the man upstairs sort the bullshit." The Scorpion character starts out as a memorable bad guy, but does not live up to his potential evilness. Stoner is a strong, powerful character and deserves strong, powerful adversaries, perhaps more powerful. 

Helicopter jargon is delightful and adds strength to the story even when the reader doesn't always understand it. The remaining military jargon is pervasive and sometimes distracting. Thank goodness for the Cast of Characters and the Glossary. 

The plot line was energetic and suspenseful and surprises us when the story does not end when we think it will. To soften some of the military hardness, there are elements of affection presented through the Carla character and touches of the perverse through the Senator character. 
Overall, the strength of the story is Hap Stoner. I look forward to his next adventure.

Review by Gail Summers (June 2019)


Author's Synopsis

BORDERLINE DECISION by Hugh D. Simpson Synopsis Deadly alliances between Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel, Black Stone and their mysterious Middle Eastern collaborators spill across the US/MX border leaving an unknown American brutally assassinated followed by an ambush of a US Marine Observation Post, and leading to the capture of LtCol Hap Stoner’s Commanding Officer, LtCol Chuck Warden. With a stubborn streak that’s as big as his heart and as strong as his loyalty to country, family, and his fellow Marines, LTCOL HAP “KANG” STONER leads his squadron of Marine Aviators on an unauthorized mission into Mexico to bring Warden home. US Marine LTCOL “TUNA MAN” WARDEN is a high-value prisoner, an American warrior infidel - whose head will bring a high price for a certain American Senator and the Black Stone cartel. Disgusted by the US Administration’s inaction and recriminations of Tuna Man, Hap leads the Nomads to save his CO’s life while barely staying ahead of his nemesis, Group Commander COLONEL TED SHANK. A Careerist, Shank will do anything, step on anyone to get a star. Colonel Shank works with a corrupt Senator, who chairs the Armed Forces Service Committee. Without US approval, Hap reaches out to his longtime friend, THOMAS “BLAD” LEFFLER and Will Kellogg. Blad, retired from the USMC, has joined forces with the mysterious founder of SHADOW SERVICES INTERNATIONAL, a privately held global intelligence network. Will Kellogg is a former Recon Marine, CIA Operative, former business partner, and casino owner in the Caribbean island of San Andres Columbia. In their initial phone conversation, Hap and Blad realize their missions overlap as Blad discloses that he is missing an agent, SHADOW 28, who was tracking cartel activity along the border - specifically human trafficking. Recently, six teenaged girls disappeared from Phoenix Arizona and now it appears that they and Shadow 28 are victims of a Cartel kidnapping. He and LtCol Warden are being held in a secret jihadist compound deep in the cartel’s territory, a location unknown to those ready to launch the rescue mission. Still entrenched in his CIA roots, Will Kellogg contracts out to various countries and companies around the world. Meanwhile, Marine Corps Commandant, GENERAL RUSS VERBIE testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee defending the actions of LtCol’s Warden and Stoner. However, Col Shank counters Verbie’s testimony under orders from corrupt SENATOR SCOTTY JOURDAN, head of the SAS Committee, who has been making a fortune for himself by conducting illegal business with the head of the drug cartel, known as the “SCORPION.” With help from a number of former combat vets, Hap and the NOMADS elude the feds and embark on a rescue mission to bring back the missing girls, Shadow 28, and LtCol Warden. The action rises during an air attack on Scorpion’s remote cartel ranch, also a training camp for jihadist recruits. Although casualties on both sides are high, the Marines are successful: high-level captives are in custody and the severely wounded are jammed onto one overloaded helicopter for a treacherous emergency transport back to a U.S. hospital. To capture Scorpion, Hap, Blad, Will Kellogg, and their team move in for a dangerous night insertion into Mexico, where they meet up with Blad’s tough female operative ZAIDA, aka Shadow 86. They breach the cartel leader’s posh Mexican resort with Zaida’s invaluable intel and aid. While an ongoing firefight ensues, Hap angrily confronts traitorous Senator Jourdan, a guest in Scorpion’s private penthouse suite, elicits, and secretly records his confession on his phone. After a perilous rooftop battle, a wounded Hap and his battered Marine squadron, who barely escaped with their lives, now must head for home to face the wrath of US officials. CARLA MCCREERY, Hap’s smart, feisty live-in attorney girlfriend, and a top legal team, along with Hap’s very persuasive recording of the Senator’s confession, implicating both Col Shank and Jourdan; turn the tide for the Marine Aviators. Combined, it is a strong enough incentive package for Shank to release and honorably discharge the NOMAD Marines from Marine Corps service. At Hap’s ranch in Texas, Carla nurses Hap as he recovers from his injuries sustained in the firefight at the resort. It’s a well-earned vacation until a mysterious visit with a message from Blad, followed by a phone call from Will Kellogg sets up Hap and the now-discharged NOMAD Marine Aviators, along with Shadow operatives for their next adventure.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-692-08298-0 (Soft Cover),978-1-949393-02-6(Hardcover),978-1-949393-00-2 (eBook)
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 415

Occupied by Kurt Blorstad

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

This is a well-told story of what occurred in "neutral Norway" during World War II, based on journals kept by a young man who helped the resistance. A family with an American father, Norwegian mother, and four children—two of whom were born in the US—was separated by the outbreak of the war. The father had returned to the States in 1936 to earn enough money to bring his family back to America, where they would be safer. The young family, left behind in Norway, moved back to the mother's parents’ home, where they had no electricity and no running water but plenty of chores for the seven-year-old and eight-year-old brothers with a good work ethic.

By early 1940, the Nazis had invaded Norway, changing the boy's lives. The Nazis built a prisoner of war camp near their home as well as an airfield, and they took food and whatever else they wanted from residents. Although the boys were young, they were able to help the resistance, a story they did not tell for many years.

The chronology of the book is clear, and the story moves along at a good pace. Sometimes there are only days between entries; other times, there are months. World War II buffs will find this an excellent contribution to the history of the era, and all readers should enjoy the story of this young family's experiences from 1935 to 1945.

Review by Nancy Kauffman (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

KURT BLORSTAD and his father, TRYGVE, are in Norway celebrating the elder’s 70th birthday. As they visit landmarks from Trygve’s childhood, Trygve reveals that he has carried around a secret for years. Trygve begins his narration with the day he (age seven), his brothers THORALF (eight) and ODD (three), and his mother PAULINE go to live with his maternal grandmother in a small town outside of Vanse, Norway. Although Trygve was born in Brooklyn, New York, his family moved back to Norway to live with his father, OLAF’s, parents during the Great Depression. In 1935, Olaf returns to America to prepare things for Trygve and the rest of the family to join him. Soon after arriving at their grandmother’s house, Pauline informs the boys that she is pregnant and his sister, THELMA, is born. While living with his grandmother, Trygve helps with household chores, works on his uncle TARALD’s farm, and attends the school in town. On Trygve’s tenth birthday, he catches the eye of MR. ELLENES, the owner of a local shop—he soon begins working for Mr. Ellenes after school. One day while in the shop, Trygve’s teacher MR. DUNGVOLD comes in and tells them that the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, has invaded Poland. Mr. Dungvold fears that under Hitler’s leadership the Nazis will soon move into Norway. As life for Trygve continues in Norway, his father prepares for their arrival and finally in 1940 they have enough money to reunite in America. Just as plans were being made for the trip, the war comes to Trygve’s doorstep. Trygve describes life living under German occupation—new identification papers, curfews, limited resources, prisoners brought in to do manual labor, and most notably, the cancellation of their voyage. As all of this is going on, Trygve is asked to serve as a lookout during secret meetings local business owners have at Mr. Ellenes’ shop. Trygve takes another job at the local nursery and one day Tore, his co-worker, is captured by the Germans for spying. MR. JAKOBSEN, an attendee at the secret meetings, reveals that Tore used to work for him as a coast watcher and asks Trygve to take his place. Now 15, Trygve accepts without hesitation—having seen firsthand how cruel the Nazis were, he wants to do his part to get them out of his country. He uses the location of his grandmother’s house to view and report on German operations on the coast and airport. When the war ends in 1945 with Germany’s surrender, Trygve (age 16) and Thoralf (age 17) join their father in America by virtue of their American citizenship. It would be another two years before Pauline, Odd, and Thelma can join them. When they do, the reunion is joyful and a new chapter begins for the family. The story ends with Trygve reflecting on the danger he put his family in and Kurt realizing that the sacrifices of his family will stay with him forever.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-7326-3240-0, 978-1-7326-3241-7
Book Format(s): Soft cover, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 258

The Mayor of Successive Miracles by Hamlin Tallent, author; Dell Putnam, editor; and Steve Collins, contributor

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Mayor of Successive Miracles was riveting and fast-paced. As a career naval officer myself, I probably related more to the subject material and the characters than most, but I still think it's a story that anyone interested in the military and military history would find very entertaining. The US Navy is an organization steeped in enormous talent, but like all large, bureaucratic organizations, there are anomalous characters that somehow defy the norms. I knew officers very much like the main character, who "succeeded" in the system with guile, cunning, and blind good luck—as opposed to the expected character traits of hard work, talent, courage, and superior leadership. Hamlin Tallent , a retired Navy admiral, knows his material. And his vast knowledge of ships, aircraft, systems, and strategy comes through extremely well. At times, there is an overload of detail on Navy terminology, for the unaccustomed reader, but it doesn't really distract from the main story line. Tallent also does an excellent job of weaving in the actual timelines and historic events of his plot with the characters he has manufactured.

Review by Phil Keith (May 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

 Jack Grant is a total ass. He rises to fame as a MIG killer over the skies of Iraq and his success leads him to command the Navy's premier aerial combat school, TOPGUN. But, things go awry and the Navy sends him to the Pentagon. The TAILHOOK scandal nips at him. Jack survives a shoot-out with Saddam's thugs in the wilds of Iraq and is given command of a Navy air wing. He miraculously emerges as a hero from every tight spot. But Jack is haunted by his dying wife and by the growing realization that his is a terrible husband, selfish friend, lousy pilot, and an absolute fraud. Jack seeks answers and forgiveness and, just maybe, a final mission against Iran will provide both.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781731038623
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Fiction—Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 424