Military Book Reviews

Secret Soldiers by Philip Gerard

Secret Soldiers by Philip Gerard

They were masters of the craft of illusion and deception, and their greatest disappearing act was to vanish from history. The men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops were recruited to become phantom warriors in a ghost army to help win the Battle of Europe. A thousand strong, they fought in more campaigns, from D Day to the Rhine River, with more Allied armies, than any other unit in the European Theater of Operations - yet, not even their fellow American soldiers were aware of their...

read more
Make Peace or Die by Charles Daly

Make Peace or Die by Charles Daly

As many readers of the Dispatches Newsletter might be aware, "Make Peace or Die" is the motto of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. For Charles Daly, it became a regular choice he would have to make, time and again, over the course of his entire life.  "Make Peace or Die: A Life of Service, Leadership, and Nightmares" is everything the name promises it to be. At times terrifying, the book is always engrossing and descriptive. It’s one of the finest personal recollections of the Korean War...

read more
Firehammer by Ric Hunter

Firehammer by Ric Hunter

If you'd like to know what it's like to pilot a high-performance jet in training and combat - without risk and actually having to get into one - you cannot do better than to read Ric Hunter's just published 'Firehammer.' A resident of Burnsville, retired Col. Hunter had 27 years and 4,000 hours of high-performance jet time, and was commander of an F-15 C Eagle squadron. His book describes the last days of the Vietnam War, including the SS Mayaquez rescue and the final evacuation of military...

read more
The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy

The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy

The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy The second novel by Army veteran Paul C. Steffy, The Good Soldier is a story of a young volunteer who suffers deeply as a result of his service. Alcoholism, multiple failed marriages, and recurring nightmares: Brad Thomas is in a pit of regrets with no recourse. None, that is, except confronting his trauma and returning to Vietnam to deal with the consequences of breaking a promise which he’d exchanged for an unexpected gift.Despite its dark subject matter,...

read more
The Boys on Cherry Street by Ron Boehm

The Boys on Cherry Street by Ron Boehm

Tens of thousands of books have been written on the Vietnam War. Thousands more are in the process of being written, and thousands more are being considered by other veterans. Such books inevitably deal with heroic actions and stories of courage and sacrifice.  Boehm brilliant book also includes stories about heroes and their courage, but he wrote the book to be a different kind of book on Vietnam. He was highly successful. It is a collection of the experiences of Boehm and his friends doing a...

read more
Events in the Life of an Ordinary Man by Richard R. Pariseau

Events in the Life of an Ordinary Man by Richard R. Pariseau

In his introduction, the author wrote: "ordinary implies middle-class Americans without special privileges of wealth or title." He was referring to his own family in Attleboro, Mass. When one reads the entire book, however, one learns he is a modern renaissance man and a high achiever who excelled in sports, academics, science, military and almost anything he set his mind to - as well as a few failures. He referred to it as a cumulative assortment of life experiences that were humorous, others...

read more
Rucksack Grunt by Robert Kuhn

Rucksack Grunt by Robert Kuhn

Rucksack Grunt author Robert Kuhn served in the US Army between 1970 and 1972 in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry. He ventured out of the suburbs of Pennsylvania into the dangerous jungles and mountains of Vietnam’s Central Highlands. In his book, Kuhn details the traumatic and even disturbing encounters he experienced as a ‘rucksack-carrying grunt’ on his tour of duty. Vietnam vets and those who love them alike have found common ground and insight in Kuhn’s writing.  Kuhn was just a...

read more
Once a Warrior by Jake Wood

Once a Warrior by Jake Wood

When Marine sniper Jake Wood arrived in the States after two bloody tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was not leaving war behind him - far from it. Ten years after returning home, Jake's unit lost more men to suicide than to enemy hands overseas.  He watched in horror as his best friend and fellow Marine, Clay Hunt, plunged into depression upon returning, stripped of his purpose, community, and sense of identity. Despite Jake's attempts to intervene, Clay died by suicide, alone. Reeling,...

read more
Refined by Fire by Ruth Vandyke and Yvonne Doll

Refined by Fire by Ruth Vandyke and Yvonne Doll

Privates Joyce Kutsch and Rita Johnson became the first women to graduate from a modified Basic Airborne Course on December 14, 1973. In 2007, Army medic Specialist Monica Lin Brown was only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star. Eight women were admitted to Army Ranger School for the first time in 2015. All failed, but three were invited back for another try. Obviously, these were historical inroads in what had been the male soldiers' exclusive domain and...

read more
Walk In My Combat Boots by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann

Walk In My Combat Boots by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann

James Patterson, the author of "Walk In My Combat Boots", is the worldwide, best-selling creator of the "Alex Cross" and "Michael Bennett" series of books. Matt Eversmann is a U.S. Army veteran who received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for leading a team of Rangers in Somalia in 1993. His exploits were depicted in the 2001 film "Black Hawk Down". The two teamed up to create a touching, thoughtful book about the U.S. military, the people who join it, and veterans of three separate eras of...

read more
Just Dust: An Improbable Marine’s Vietnam Story by Wes Choc

Just Dust: An Improbable Marine’s Vietnam Story by Wes Choc

By their very nature, books on war deal with death, near-death experiences, injuries and all the unpleasant but inevitable aspects of war, like homesickness, bad food, substandard leadership, impossible missions and seeing friends die but above all, is the fear; fear of being killed, fear of losing body parts, fear of not living up to the challenge, fear of fear itself. Just Dust: An Improbable Marine's Vietnam Story has all of that but focuses more on the author's contemplation of the...

read more
To Hear Silence by Ronald W. Hoffman

To Hear Silence by Ronald W. Hoffman

Five years ago, the author returned to Vietnam on a battlefield tour with his wife, Nancy. In a conversation with the guide, Bill Stilwagen, he mentioned how his unit had accomplished a lot in its first 13 months in-country, yet when he looked on the internet, he couldn't find anything. Stilwagen challenged him by saying, "Why don't you write a book about it?" Hoffman took the challenge seriously. Upon returning home, he immediately set out to write a true account of Charlie Battery, 1st...

read more