Non-Fiction

Cave, The

Title: The Cave
Author: Same McGowen
Genre:
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1403302448

The story of an Air Force enlisted man shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. A cave explorer and marksman, Samuel Tobin Carter discovers a cave and uses it as sanctuary from which to wage his own personal war.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
McGowen, Sam

Outlaws in Vietnam

Title: Outlaws in Vietnam
Author: David L. Eastman
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0914339974

Ride a Huey with the Outlaws of the 175th Aviation Company (AML) in the Mekong Delta and experience a first-hand, first Lieutenant's account, of a tour in Vietnam from 1966-1967. Eastman's lively prose reveals an exciting untold story of camaraderie, competence and fellowship. The aviation units were the sole combat element of the U.S. Army that kept their discipline and spirit.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Eastman, David L.

I Served

Title: I Served
Author: Don C. Hall, Annette C. Hall
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1552124894

I SERVED was written differently from most other Vietnam memoirs. Instead of being a chronological recitation of my experiences growing up in the orphanage and then going to Vietnam and serving with Co. F, 51st Long Range Patrol (Airborne) Infantry, I made its focus be the characters in the story. That is its greatest strength and what makes it such a good read. Because I focused so closely on character, you really get to care about the person Don Hall because you know what makes him tick, what is important to him, and what drives him. You are also engaged by the other people you meet in the story because they are so clearly drawn. You don't have to be a military buff to enjoy the book.

I SERVED is a factual story backed up by official U.S. Army records. Col. William C. Maus, the man who formed F/51st LRP, told me where to find that documentation. I also have copies of handouts we received when we went to Recondo School. Before he died, he told me how much he enjoyed reading the book. He praised me for having written such a great story about a unit he was proud to have commanded. He was a visionary who knew our unit was the vanguard for future U.S. Army military strategy and tactics. I remember his telling me at the time that F/51st LRP was making history. Being just a naïve 19-year-old staff sergeant, I didn't understand the significance of that statement. I do now.

We hope readers are so intrigued that they will order a copy of I SERVED when its available. The paperback version is a reprint of the original 1994 hardbound edition, with a revised preface and afterword, a new War Stories section (with stories from other men with whom I served), and new photographs.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hall, Don C.
Hall, Annette R.

Grief Denied: A Vietnam Widow's Story

Title: Grief Denied: A Vietnam Widow's Story
Author: Pauline Laurent
Genre: Non-ficiton, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0967142407

Grief Denied is about healing: it is about coming to terms with the intimate pain and emotional violence that was unleashed by the Vietnam War. It is also a bittersweet love story in which a young girl meets a soldier-boy, a young bride loses her soldier-husband and how, on the 30th anniversary of their marriage, the mature woman is finally able to say good-bye to the man she will always love. Laurent tells her story with clarity and candor and a great deal of caring. There are vivid descriptions of her husband, Howard, who died in combat in Vietnam on May 10, 1968, when she was 22 years old and in the last phase of her first pregnancy. There are also sharp, tender portraits of her daughter Michelle, her parents, her friends and her lovers. The author doesn't seem to have held back anything or to have denied readers a full and complete view of her personality, including her dark side. So there are emotionally wrenching accounts of her depression, her suicidal feelings, her "insanity," as she calls it, as well as her therapy and recovery and rediscovery of prayer and faith. Grief Denied offers deeply moving passages from Howard's letters to Pauline shortly before his death. Laurent describes how Vietnam got to her, though she was thousands of miles away from the heat, the dirt and the mortars. If somehow or other you never did appreciate how Vietnam got to the heart of America, then this book ought to be at the top of your list of books to read. And if you are thinking of writing a memoir to express your seemingly inexpressible pain, then this book is also for you. "In writing I finally found a container which could hold my grief," Laruent writes. "the blank page wanted to hear it all--every last detail." -- The Press Democrat, August 29, 1999 by Jonah Raskin, Chairman of the Communication Studies Department at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Laurent, Paulin

G-DAY, Rendezvous with Eagles

Title: G-DAY, Rendezvous with Eagles
Author: Stephen D. Wiehe
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: Memoir
Reviewed by: Gail Chatfield

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B005FHX1DG

When I started my research, the twenty plus years that had passed began to shrink. By the end of the project, the events that changed my life two decades ago seemed like yesterday. The reconnection with old friends was well worth the time it took to put the book together.

In working on our unit history, I found very little about our important missions and objectives during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I was amazed that the units themselves had very little information regarding our objectives and the reasons for them. In a day when the internet and cell phones are everywhere, including the front lines of combat, there is a rich and living commentary written by the troops as they live it. But, just a few decades ago during Desert Storm, there were no blogs, satellite radio or internet. When it comes to Desert Storm there is a void in the written history. Our children would be hard pressed to put all of the pieces together. My goal when I started writing G-Day was to create a factual, historical document that all of us could be proud of and that could be used as a reference for future generations.When visiting with Dr. John O'Brien, Chief Historian at the Don F. Pratt Museum at Fort Campbell, I told him I didn't want this to turn into a book of "fish stories" or a compilation of war tales that are told so many times over the years that they gradually become the truth.

There are some great books written by accomplished authors who give us a great view of the "big picture" in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In writing this book, my hope is that it will help you see, and appreciate, the day to day activities of the soldiers who were there and how they fit into the "bigger picture."

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Wiehe, Stephen D.

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