Author: Stephen A. Peterson
Publisher: AuthorHouse (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 204 pages
The more than sixty short stories that make up "America's Finest" details the humanitarian service as well as the personal sacrifices of the men and women of each of the branches of the United States Armed Services in Iraq. United States service members provided Iraqi citizens health care services, formal education, public works and many other services too numerous to describe. Though the United States Armed Services are trained in the art of war, more than 70% of its activities, even during the period of armed conflict, was dedicated to non-combative work for and on behalf of the Iraqi people. within days following combat action, American service members began initiating public service work toward re-building the infrastructure and personal lives of individual Iraqis in a spirit of compassion, mercy and forgiveness towards those who had been enemies only hours before. Airmen/women, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers gave thousands of manhours each week in their attempt to make life better for the Iraqi people. A number of these service members gave the citizens of Iraq the greatest gift any person could render-their lives. Privates, junior enlisted non-commissioned officers and junior company grade officers most between the age 18 and 24 years of age make up the majority of the figures in these stories. These brave, resourceful young men and young women are the REAL heroes and heroines. From rural communities, suburbs and inner cities; rich, middle class and poor; every racial and ethnic group make up the United States armed services. As an all volunteer force, there is no compulsion to serve. Yet each do so willingly for freedom and liberty for all. They are indeed "America's Finest" and patriots all!
MWSA 2010 Honorable Mention for Creative Non-Fiction
Petersen has compiled a collection of not just sixty short stories but sixty examples of what truly makes this country great. The title says it all America's Finest. These are the stories of real Americans and the job they are doing to improve the lives of others, stories all too often gone missing in our media.
No other nation and its military can compare to the excellent job this country does in terms of helping the less fortunate, most certainly not something thought of by others as part of the militaries job or purpose. Highlighting the fact that our military is "all volunteer" Petersen provides a "job well done" to all our veterans.
The stories are centered within a religious theme but the book is not a book of religion. The interaction between military personnel amongst themselves and with the civilians in the areas where they are serving demonstrates clearly and exactly how much alike we all are. There are many messages indirect and direct and much to learn from reading each of these short stories. It is worth your afternoon to balance out all the wrongs we are bombarded with on a daily basis concerning our military.
Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2010)