Non-Fiction

New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah

Title: New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah
Author: Richard S. Lowry
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1932714774

New Dawn is the story of the kids who grew up down the block and then flew halfway around the world to fight in the battle that changed the war in Iraq. Richard S. Lowry places you among the brave men and women who fought a determined enemy at the crossroads of civilization. This is the tale of their courage, sacrifice and valor.

Richard tells the stories of the men and women who fought to clear Fallujah, Iraq's most violent city. This is no ordinary historical account. Richard provides gripping narratives of individual sacrifice and valor while documenting the battle for military historians. He weaves a page-turning story that will educate and entertain in a style reminiscent of Cornelius Ryan's Longest Day.

New Dawn opens with the brutal murder, bludgeoning and burning of four Blackwater security contractors, followed by the aborted first assault and tense standoff during the spring and summer of 2004. Then, New Dawn tells the complete story of the massive final attack as seen through the eyes of those who were there.

Walk down the narrow city streets and into the courtyards, kitchens and bedrooms of Fallujah. Venture into the unknown as young soldiers and Marines kick in door after door, never knowing if they will be greeted by an incensed insurgent or a cowering Iraqi family. This is a story of young Americans at war.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Lowry, Richard

Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942 - April 1943

Title: Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942 - April 1943
Author: Bruce Gamble
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 076032350X

For most of World War II, the mention of Japan's island stronghold sent shudders through thousands of Allied airmen. Some called it "Fortress Rabaul," an apt name for the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific. Drawing upon a vast array of Japanese as well as Allied sources, award-winning author Bruce Gamble chronicles Rabaul's crucial role in theater operations. Millions of square feet of housing and storage facilities supported a hundred thousand soldiers and naval personnel. Simpson Harbor and the airfields were the focus of hundreds of missions by American air forces. Fortress Rabaul details a critical and, until now, little understood chapter in the history of World War II.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Gamble, Bruce

Truman and MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common Cause

Title: Truman and MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common Cause
Author: Donald J. Farinacci
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0557409020

The author's purpose in writing this book was to tell a story of events which occurred during a brief but momentous period in American history, involving two extraordinary men, President Harry S. Truman and General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. The story tells of their interaction during a time of grave national crisis, how they veered badly off course and ultimately collided head-on. It was a collision which both altered the course of history and irreparably changed their personal destinies.

What is related here is first and foremost a human story, but one that plays out against the panorama of the Korean War--a nasty, brutish and fearsome slice of hell where what was at stake was nothing less than the determination of whether the Communist Sino-Soviet alliance would gain dominion by force over large regions of the continent of Asia or be contained and held in check by a coalition of United Nations Forces led by the United States.

As the drama unfolded during a critical period of approximately ten months in 1950 and 1951, the all-pervasive tension holding the principal players in its grip was the ever-present threat of nuclear war looming over all of humankind.

Other larger-than-life personalities also emerge in this epic tale and are interspersed with the two main characters. They include Eighth Army Commander Matthew B. Ridgway, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, South Korean President Syngman Rhee, NATO Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ambassador Averell Harriman, Army General Walton W. Walker, Marine General O.P. Smith, Army Chief of Staff J. Lawton Collins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Omar Bradley, and Marine Colonel "Chesty" Puller. Every one of them played an integral role in the drama and some of them such as Ridgway, Acheson, Marshall and Eisenhower actually changed the course of history. But, the overarching giants of this tale are Truman and MacArthur. Their saga of 1950-1951 underscores the fact that no matter what the magnitude of events, history is still primarily a collection of stories about people.

This is one of those stories--one that is part of the larger framework of the forty-five year-long Cold War, but one that is surpassed in importance by none other in that singularly perilous epoch of world history.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Farinacci, Donald

Riding a Donkey Backwards Through Afghanistan

Title: Riding a Donkey Backwards Through Afghanistan
Author: Mick Simonelli
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Hodge Wood

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1934937924

A behind-the-scenes account of America's critical effort to build an Afghanistan National Army. Written from the unique vantage point of the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, this book reveals the inside story of the United States' army-building efforts. As the first comptroller responsible for funding the Afghanistan National Army, Mick earned the Bronze Star Medal while spending $400 million taxpayer dollars and planning the spending for $2.1 billion more.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Simonelli, Mick

American Knight, An

Title: An American Knight
Author: Norman Fulkerson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): ISBN / EAN

This first cradle-to-grave biography of Colonel John W. Ripley provides readers with the complete story about a great man who is considered by Marines, such as General Carl Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, to be on the same level as legends Chesty Puller and Dan Daly.

Colonel Ripley is most commonly known for his heroics in Vietnam during the Easter Offensive of 1972, where Colonel Gerald Turley ordered him to hold and die, in the face of over 30,000 North Vietnamese and 200 enemy tanks. John Ripley proceeded to blow the Dong Ha bridge, preventing the enemy from crossing. He unhesitatingly obeyed and earned the nation s second highest honor, the Navy Cross.

As stunning as the Dong Ha story is, there was much more to Colonel John Ripley. An American Knight: The Life of Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC narrates his early life and the influences which shaped his personality.

In youth, he was a rambunctious Huckleberry Finn who spent his days getting into all kinds of mischief in Radford, Virginia. The stories from this time period, so well narrated in An American Knight, will leave the reader with at least a smile, if not a laugh.

After his mischievous Huckleberry Finn days in Radford, he learned to discipline his wild side and, in spite of his intellectual weaknesses, went on to graduate from the Naval Academy. The strength of will with which he accomplished this task was later applied on the battlefield, where he earned the status of legend during his first tour in Vietnam as a 28-year-old Captain.

Readers will also get to know about John Ripley, the father, but more importantly the chaste husband. When he was approached by people wanting to make a movie about his life he agreed as long as his character was not portrayed as having a romantic relationship in Vietnam. I have never been, he said, nor will I ever be unfaithful to my wife.

The final chapters narrate the struggle Colonel Ripley endured with a bad liver. He would finally undergo two liver transplants, the last one of which was defined as the most dramatic in history.

If a young officer or Marine ever asks what is the meaning of Semper Fidelis Colonel Ripley once told a friend, tell them my story.

This is his story!

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Fulkerson, Norman

Pages