Military Book Reviews

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 evidence that the military is on the path for even more inclusion of women in traditional combat roles. Surprisingly, however, it wasn't until the summer of 1976 that women were allowed to become cadets in college ROTC programs and plebes in the United States Military Academy at West Point.  "Refined by Fire," their first book in the Guarding of Peace historical fiction series about women in the military, Ruth Vandyke and Yvonne Doll masterfully entertain readers while providing accurate depictions...

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The Only Thing Worth Dying For by Eric Blehm

The Only Thing Worth Dying For by Eric Blehm

'The Only Thing Worth Dying For' is the harrowing true story of eleven Green Berets who fought alongside the future leader of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and bring hope to a nation during the early days of the Global War on Terror, or Operation Enduring Freedom— when the Soldiers on the ground knew little about the enemy, and their commanders in Washington knew even less. How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan On a moonless November night, in the aftermath of 9/11, five Blackhawk helicopters infiltrate southern Afghanistan, dropping Special Forces A-Team-ODA 574-deep behind enemy lines in the mountains of Uruzgan. Hundreds of miles to the north, the U.S. military, aided by the Northern Alliance's armies, is routing Taliban forces. However, here in the Pashtun tribal belt— the Taliban's own backyard— Captain Jason Amerine and his ten Green Berets are on a seemingly impossible mission. They must destroy the Taliban from within and prevent a...

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Killing The SS by Bill O’Reilly

Killing The SS by Bill O’Reilly

As the true horrors of the Third Reich began to be exposed immediately after World War II, the Nazi war criminals who committed genocide went on the run. A few were swiftly caught, including the notorious SS leader, Heinrich Himmler. Others, however, evaded capture through a sophisticated Nazi organization designed to hide them. Among those war criminals were Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death" who performed hideous medical experiments at Auschwitz; Martin Bormann, Hitler's brutal personal secretary; Klaus Barbie, the cruel "Butcher of Lyon"; and perhaps the worst Nazi of all: Adolf Eichmann. Killing the SS is the epic saga of the espionage and daring waged by self-styled "Nazi hunters." This determined and disparate group included a French husband and wife team, an American lawyer who served in the army on D-Day, a German prosecutor who had signed an oath to the Nazi Party, Israeli Mossad agents, and a death camp survivor. Over decades, these men and women scoured the world,...

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Truly Healthy Now by David Philip Leasure

Truly Healthy Now by David Philip Leasure

Like many military members, David Léasure was devoted to his fitness routine. When he joined the Navy straight from high school in 2011, the first thing he did with his paycheck was to join an online exercise program. He adhered to the meal plans, took all the supplements he was supposed to, and generally saw the results he wanted through hours at the gym. What Is It That Crumbles Away and Makes Us Give Up? Despite being physically bigger and generally healthier, he began to wonder why he was doing it all. But looking better through all the time spent lifting weights wasn't making him any happier, and it certainly wasn't enough to make him get out of bed early in the morning. "What is it that crumbles away and makes us give up?" Léasure writes in his book, "Truly Healthy Now." "It's our foundations or lack thereof. When a weak foundation falls away, you have to have the courage to build a new, stronger one. We do things for all the wrong reasons: we're told to eat better, look...

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The Twins Platoons by Christy W. Sauro Jr.

The Twins Platoons by Christy W. Sauro Jr.

As a symbol of patriotism and public support during a time when anti-Vietnam war sentiments were growing, the Minnesota Twins baseball team and Marine Corps recruiters in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area came up with the idea of the team sponsoring a recruit platoon to be named the 'Twins Platoon." A letter sent out to area Marine recruits informed them they would be sworn in on TV at pregame ceremonies the night of June 28, 1967. Among those receiving the letter was the author, Christy Sauro Jr. On the designated night, over one hundred young men and four young women stood in the open field in a casually fashioned "civilian" formation and were sworn in. By the end of the sixth inning, the new recruits were hustled out to waiting buses, sped away to the World Chamberlain Field Airport, boarded an American Flyers chartered flight, lifted off the Minneapolis runway and flew into the blackened night for San Diego. Before dawn the next day, the recruits of the Twins Platoon were standing...

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Restless Hearts by Dennis Baker

Restless Hearts by Dennis Baker

Dennis Baker fictional novel takes the reader into a highly detailed, realistic setting that is invaded by something that breaks the rules of our real-world - five fallen warriors get a chance to return home as they search for closure to their unfinished lives. Using the names of real live heroes who once fought for our country beginning with WWI to the current day, Baker's story takes us to the depths of our emotion of sorrow for those who are gone and joy for the outcome of the choices in their journeys to their past lives. The main character is Pete Baker, a Navy SEAL, and his teammate Lt. Frankie Leonardo, who is killed in Afghanistan. Escorting Frankie's body back to the United States, the plane runs into extremely turbulent weather, causing Pete to get knocked out for the entire 10-hour trip. That's when Frankie reappears and takes Pete on an adventure to Arlington Cemetery, where they meet warriors killed in all of America's wars. From the hundreds gather there, Pete chooses...

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Spearhead by Adam Makos

Spearhead by Adam Makos

Have you read Spearhead by Adam Makos? When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner's seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He's a natural-born shooter. At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit. After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art "super tank," one of twenty in the European theater. But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That's how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle...

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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 conflict, "Walk In My Combat Boots," on bookshelves on Feb. 8.  "Walk In My Combat Boots" is a series of short stories, as told by veterans themselves. The stories cover the entire lifecycle of the veteran experience, starting before becoming a recruit, to war stories, to answering questions about military service from one's children.  Patterson said he was inspired to write the book after watching veterans' interviews and realizing he'd never heard stories from his own veteran family...

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Baghdad Underground Railroad by Steve Miska

Baghdad Underground Railroad by Steve Miska

In 2007, Iraq was mired in a nearly country-wide civil war. The United States military needed Iraqis to help them quell the violence between Sunni and Shia militias who were tearing the country apart and ambushing American troops.  Bodies were turning up in the streets overnight, IEDs were a constant threat to U.S. forces, and innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire. Thousands of Iraqis, most with no military training, risked their lives to be interpreters for American military units throughout the country.  Their services proved invaluable in the years to come, and they became part of the “family” of the American men and women with whom they served. At home, however, they and their close relatives faced violence, death threats, and other reprisals for aiding the United States. Death Squads roamed the streets and raided homes to find, intimidate and kill Iraqi interpreters.  To incentivize Iraqis to continue their service, Congress authorized special visas for...

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With The Old Breed by E. B. Sledge

With The Old Breed by E. B. Sledge

Sledge's memoir gives a firsthand and unapologetically honest perspective on the Pacific Theater of World War II. His memoir is a front-line account of infantry combat in the Pacific War. It brings the reader into the island hopping, the jungle heat and rain, the filth and malaise, the fear of potential "banzai attacks," and the hopelessness and loss of humanity that so uniquely characterized the campaign in the Pacific. Sledge wrote starkly of the brutality displayed by Japanese soldiers during the battles and of the hatred that both sides harbored for each other. In Sledge's words, "This was a brutish, primitive hatred, as characteristic of the horror of war in the Pacific as the palm trees and the islands." Sledge describes one instance in which he and a comrade came across the mutilated bodies of three Marines, butchered and with severed genitals stuffed into their mouths. He also describes the behavior of some Marines towards dead Japanese, including the removal of gold teeth...

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The X-15 Rocket Plane by Michelle Evans

The X-15 Rocket Plane by Michelle Evans

When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into low-earth orbit in 1957, it set the Space Race in full motion. The United States was determined to break the barriers of man's entry into space and dominate this undiscovered country.  While NASA projects Mercury, Gemini, and especially Apollo are often remembered and celebrated, a little-remembered partnership between the US Air Force and NASA brought an incredible new aircraft, arguably the first-ever manned spacecraft, to life: the X-15. Author Michelle Evans' 2013 book "The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space" brings new life to the story of the X-15, those who flew the powerful plane, and the men and women who made the X-15 possible, in the air, on the ground, and behind the scenes.  The X-15 was a hypersonic, rocket-powered airplane capable of flying as high as 100 kilometers above the earth's surface, meeting the internationally-accepted boundary of space. It was capable of...

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The Patient Was Vietcong by Dr. Lawrence H. Climo

The Patient Was Vietcong by Dr. Lawrence H. Climo

Thousands of books about Vietnam have been printed. Nearly all of them are memoirs, authored by those who experienced what is scripted. A few are fiction, occasionally written by someone who was in Vietnam at the time of the war while others are creations of fertile minds. Some have been made into Hollywood movies. What makes "The Patient was Vietcong" different than the standard Vietnam War narrative of books and movies and all those memoirs? Because it is about a healer whose remarkable and uncommon and humbling experiences in a strange land with widely different cultures leads to a self-discovery that is both enlightening and satisfying. In the 1960s, Lawrence Climo was opposed to the war but, unlike many other protesters, did not burn his draft card or leave the country. In 1965 the draft caught up with the young physician just out of medical training. When he finished his military training he would be sent to Vietnam. During training, he learned about a unique humanitarian...

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