Listening to the Voice of Reason as a Military Writer

by Ann DeWitt

Imagine before the first book is distributed by Ingram Book Company that an historian slams a novel based solely on the subject matter.  Now, imagine that you later find out that the goal of said historian is to "put 19th Century American slaves back in their rightful place in American Civil War military history."  Finally, imagine that the first young adult to read the same book receives an "A" on a school book report. 

Alan's Letters

Title: Alan's Letters
Author: Nancy Rial
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: jim greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0982270003

This is a personal chronicle of a teen soldier in WWII from basic training to his adventures across northern France on the front lines as a member of the Fifth Division, part of Patton's Third Army. Using all primary sources from the historical period, the book is attractively designed in beautiful color. The letters from Alan to his family represent all the young soldiers' voices when he expresses a yearning for a normal life again and appreciation of all that he has had as a youth growing up in America. For young adults and up.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Rial, Nancy

Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel

Title: Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel
Author: Jim Kosmo and John Kriesel
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: John R. R. Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1592983375

When SSG John Kriesel lost his legs and two buddies in a roadside bomb explosion, no one expected him to survive. He died three times on the operating table. Miracles, a lot of miracles, starting with a few grunts who refused to let him die in Iraq, ripped the young warrior from the grip of death and sent him on to four hospitals, thirty-five surgeries, and months of recovery and rehabilitation. Medical miracles put his body back together, but it was an incredible confluence of angels at every step along the way that breathed life into his shattered body.

This is not just another war story. This is the story of an ordinary young man who overcame extraordinary challenges with a lot of help from others, including many strangers and he emerged stronger and more in love with his country, his wife, his children, and ultimately, his own life.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kosmo, Jim
Kriesel, John

The Sentinel & the Shooter

Title: The Sentinel & the Shooter
Author: Douglas W. Bonnot
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: Lee Boyland

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1595944184

Secret societies have existed for millennia; their purposes myriad. Generally, they are exclusive and require members to take an oath to keep their organization and activities secret. They possess guarded means of identification and communication. Some exist in the open, their purposes known, their activities undisclosed, and their practitioners anonymous. The US Army Security Agency was a separate organization within the Army having its own installations, training, academic, logistic, communications and scientific institutions and members took an oath to keep the organization and its activities secret, their identity and communications guarded. Until the advent of the Vietnam War, their purpose was intelligence gathering for national strategic objectives. As the US role expanded from advisory to active combat, intelligence support to combat units changed the structure and character of the Agency. Organizational secrecy, guarded communications, and member anonymity remained. The 265th Radio Research Company (Airborne) sentinels operated in the shadows, yet stood beside their warrior counterpart providing intelligence to the 101st Airborne Division. 101st Airborne units involved in the war are etched in the stone of their memorial at Arlington Cemetery. The 265th RRC (ABN), the only unit etched on the back, remains in the shadows. Nearly forty years have passed since the last Sentinel departed Vietnam. This is their story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bonnot, Douglas W.