Historical

In Arms and Idleness

Title: In Arms and Idleness
Author: Emmett E. Slake
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Terry Shoptaugh

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B009G2KL3E

One June day at the mid-point of the twentieth century, the uneasy peace that had 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 were felt. In reaction to the vague threat, an Army of occupation from a previous war was ordered into action, forever altering the lives of those called upon to respond. This novel is a gripping account of the early stages of the Korean War, candidly presented without pretense or heroic embellishment. Also related in stark detail are the sordid aspects of garrison duty in Japan, graphically expressed with little sentimentality. The story features a distinctive cast of military and civilian characters, whose domain extends from the streets of Yokohama, to the halls of the Dai Ichi Building, to the treacherous landscape of Korea. In essence the novel provides a unique fictional journey that traces the lives of two young American soldiers who from a common starting point diverge toward their separate tragic fates—one heroic and the other treasonous. This unique rendering of history, framed in fictional form, will arouse the consciousness of the unacquainted and stir the memories of those who were once touched by that all but forgotten time and place.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Slake, Emmett E.

Sound of Caissons, The

Title: The Sound of Caissons
Author: Suzanne Hadfield Semsch
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Cathryn J. Prince

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1463510748

In The Sound of Caissons, Julia Crockett's relentless quest to excel is revealed as the story of five generations of an Army family unfolds through the first three-quarters of 20th century America. At age six Julia imagines growing up to be a general, like Fort Sill's post commander. When she shares this with her beloved grandfather, a retired major, he informs her girls can't be soldiers. Years later, her father forbids her joining the WAAC at the outset of WWII, and she decides the only way to achieve the position and power she desires is to marry an ambitious lieutenant and ride his coattails. But shortly after a hasty marriage to Lt. Robert Wells, she meets Lt. David Morgan, and realizes she's made a dreadful mistake. With a world in turbulence, it's six years before Julia and David are free to marry. Although she loves him deeply, Julia's insatiable yearning for status becomes apparent as she attempts to guide David's career. A man with his own objectives, however, David does not always fall in with her plans. At the same time, Julia continually urges their four children to follow in the footsteps of their military ancestors. Through triumph, tragedy, and infidelity, the Morgan family serves from the U.S. to Tehran, to Berlin, and back again. The children become adults, and the men weather America's conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Eventually David's patience with Julia's singular determination to see him with stars on his epaulets and their sons as West Point cadets, wears thin. Is the extraordinary love Julia and David share for each other strong enough to survive their conflicting visions? Filled with passion and engaging characters, this thought provoking family saga will keep you turning pages. It is not merely a love story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Semsch, Suzanne Hadfield

SUBIC: A Sailor's Memoir: Based on the Story of Bobby Earl Perkins

Title: SUBIC: A Sailor's Memoir: Based on the Story of Bobby Earl Perkins
Author: Barbara Elleng Brown
Genre: Memoir
Reviewer: Jim Greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1479134287

In this riveting memoir, Bobby Earl Perkins recollects the constitutional issue of racial discrimination and how his Christian faith ushers him amid the seemingly insurmountable struggles to establish his pride and dignity while stationed in Subic Bay Naval Base, Philippines. This sailor's account somehow mirrors the civil rights movements happening back in the U.S. soil in 1960s and provides a glimpse of how a group of servicemen, in a risk-taking effort, upholds the sense of justice and equality that every American is entitled of--even aboard a foreign land. Subic is a story that is not so ordinary; however, its significance is not alien to many.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Elleng Brown, Barbara

Call to Arms, A

Title: A Call to Arms
Author: William Hammond
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bob Doerr

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1612511449

A Call To Arms is the fourth volume in the award-winning Cutler Family Chronicles series. The backdrop of this novel is the First Barbary War, fought in the years between 1801 and 1805. Included are such real-life characters as Capt. Edward Preble, Lt. Stephen Decatur, Lt. Richard Somers, Prince Hamet of Tripoli, and army captain William Eaton. Also included are the cast of fictional characters that define the Chronicles. The action is set primarily in the Mediterranean and in North Africa.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hammond, William C.

Leave No Man Behind

Title: Leave No Man Behind
Author: George Galdorisi & Thomas Phillips
Genre: History
Reviewer: Dick Geschke

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0760323925

Beginning with the birth of combat aircraft in World War I and the early attempts to rescue warriors trapped behind enemy lines, Leave No Man Behind chronicles in depth nearly one hundred years of combat search and rescue (CSAR). All major U.S. combat operations from World War II to the early years of the Iraq War are covered, including previously classified missions and several Medal-of-Honor-winning operations. Authors George Galdorisi and Tom Phillips (both veteran U.S. Navy helicopter pilots) highlight individual acts of heroism while telling the big-picture story of the creation and development of modern CSAR.

Although individual missions have their successes and failures, CSAR, as an institution, would seem beyond reproach, an obvious necessity. The organizational history of CSAR, however, is not entirely positive. The armed services, particularly the U.S. Air Force and Navy, have a tendency to cut CSAR at the end of a conflict, leaving no infrastructure prepared for the next time that the brave men and women of our armed forces find themselves behind enemy lines.

The final chapter has not yet been written for U.S. combat search and rescue, but in view of the life-saving potential of these forces, an open and forthright review of U.S. military CSAR plans and policies is long overdue. Beyond the exciting stories of heroic victories and heartrending defeats, Leave No Man Behind stimulates debate on this important subject.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Galdorisi, George
Phillips, Thomas

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