Title: D.E.R.O.S.
Author: John Rider
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Tony Lazzarini

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1601453205

The year is 1968. Wired in-series, trip-hammer shocks jolt the country...the capture of the USS Pueblo, Tet, LBJ declines to run, the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

In Vietnam, a USAF pilot gets news that, to him, is every bit as jarring as those electrifying events: An airline wants to interview him for a cockpit job. In Dallas, three weeks from now. They have no idea he's in Vietnam. He still has fifty-six days and a wake-up before he can leave. Jack Boland is a Forward Air Controller pilot, part of a small USAF detachment stationed with a U.S. Army brigade, at a base camp in the jungle, seventy-five miles north of Saigon. Flying small, vulnerable spotter aircraft, the FACs fly over the jungle, looking for VC -- and when Brigade grunts get in trouble, bring in jet fighters to get Charlie off their backs.

The story is at times funny, as well as brutal, terrifying, idiotic, and in the end, tragic..Catch-22 in Vietnam.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Rider, John

Within the Walls of Santo Tomas: A saga of captivity and survival in Manila during World War II

Title: Within the Walls of Santo Tomas: A saga of captivity and survival in Manila during World War II
Author: Betty Bryon and Cassius Mullen
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1617773743

'Do you believe that what we do in life comes back to haunt us later?' 'You mean like fate comes along and throws you a curve ball when you least expect it?' 'Yes, exactly.' 'There are so many strange things that happen to people, nothing surprises me anymore.' 'I think life is a mirror. What you do reflects back at you.' Former army nurse Molly Martin has never forgotten her experience in the internment camp at Santo Tomas University during World War II. The horrors she witnessed in her younger days are burned in her brain, along with the memories of the people who walked with her through hell and the enemies who put them all through it. When she sees a picture in the paper of the doctor that committed some of the worst war crimes and got away, she knows it is time to tell her story. It is the last chance for justice. Travel back to 1942, when twenty-eight-year-old Molly Martin's life was changed forever. She and other army nurses and soldiers are taken from Corregidor to Manila, where they are imprisoned by the Japanese within the walls of Santo Tomas University with innocent US and Allied civilians. Molly leads the nurses in establishing a hospital in the former gymnasium, and they attempt to make the best of things. Soon Molly and her friend Clara befriend an ingenious teenage boy nicknamed Scrounger, who uses his skills to make life tolerable for the internees. Over a three-year period, Molly and the internees suffer greatly. Food and medicine are hard to come by, and the commandant becomes harsher. A sinister doctor carries out cruel experiments on selected internees, resulting in more death. Things become even more difficult as the American army draws nearer. But Molly is determined to make it out alive, to make the evil pay for their wrongdoings. Will Molly see justice before her days end? Go Within the Walls of Santo Tomas to find out.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Byron, Betty
Mullen, Cassius

Devil In The North Woods

Title: Devil In The North Woods
Author: Walt Shiel
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Stephen Phillips

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0974655317

What would you do if a wildfire swept through your area without warning?

In October 1908, a wildfire swept through northeast Michigan and consumed 900 homes and two million acres of farms and forest. Despite the valiant efforts of the farmers, lumbermen, and shopkeepers, only Lake Huron could quench the flames. With no fire watch towers, spotting aircraft, telephones, or organized firefighting and only limited telegraph, warnings were too few and too late.

Devil in the North Woods accurately depicts the fire's genesis, growth, and aftermath. The story's real-life protagonist, 10-year-old Henry Hardies, survived the fire but family did not. Relying on Henry's personal recollections and author Walt Shiel's faithful recreation of time and place, the book vividly brings Henry's ordeal to life.

Devil in the North Woods contrasts the terror of nature's destruction with a chronicle of family, love, sorrow, and recovery. The story leaves the reader buoyed by faith in the resilience of the human spirit and belief in love's ability to germinate amid the ashes of ruin.

Includes a map and six historical photos.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shiel, Walt

Barinelli's War

Title: Barinelli's War
Author: Eugene Basilici
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595385826

The Korean War rages in Southeast Asia. Every night the North Koreans hurl themselves against the outnumbered Americans who hold the Pusan Perimeter, and every night the overextended defenders are thinned even more.

Into this maelstrom lands Rick Barinelli, a teenager fresh out of Basic and is thrown immediately onto the front line. A natural leader with an innate understanding of combat, he’s able to command and hold the all-important “Bowling Alley” sector. Barinelli’s successes on the battlefield earn him quick promotions.

The Inchon landing relieves the pressure on Pusan and Barinelli’s platoon takes the point for an American offensive. At Hungnam, they’re ordered to the rear and reorganized as a reconnaissance company, while the Army’s Tenth Corps and First Marine Division advance to the Chinese border.

But a quarter-million Chinese secretly infiltrate the mountain passes and surround the Americans with orders to annihilate them all. The only escape route is along a narrow road past the Chosin Reservoir through the Funchilin Pass to Hungnam and safety. The Funchilin must be held. But when Barinelli’s company commander suddenly disappears, the survival of over twenty thousand men falls on him.

With fewer than two hundred men under his command, Barinelli faces the pressures of leadership in battle. More importantly, he learns of faithlessness and heroism and the inner gauntlet each soldier must pass through to survive.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Basilici, Eugune

Spur & The Sash: Middle Tennessee, 1865: A Novel, The

Title: The Spur & The Sash: Middle Tennessee, 1865: A Novel
Author: Robert Grede
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Dave Brown

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 159598092X

The Spur & The Sash is about a real person. Sergeant George Van Norman, a Yankee, was wounded in one of the last battles of the American Civil War, at Nashville. Left behind to recover when the armies marched on, he was ordered to guard a local plantation from January to July, 1865, where he fell in love with the owner's daughter. That much is fact. The story begins with his wounding at the battle, follows him to the plantation where he meets the woman, her family, and the former slaves who have been emancipated but have no place to go. George befriends a former Confederate soldier and, together, they overcome carpetbaggers, deserters from both sides, mobs of wandering blacks, and bushwhackers marauding throughout Middle Tennessee, including precursors of the Ku Klux Klan. Meticulously researched using letters, diaries, and official records, this is a story of passion and betrayal amid the anarchy of postwar Tennessee. George left behind a spur and a sash, passed down through the generations to the author, his great-great-grandson, along with the story of how he came to have them. This is that story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Grede, Robert