Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Benjamin Franklin Awards

"SAT & BAF!" is now entered in the Benjamin Franklin Awards for 2012!! It's through the Independent Book Publishers of America and it's a big deal award. Wish me luck!
Benjamin Franklin Awards

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review of "M. O. D." by J. C. Allen

"M. O. D." by J.C. Allen was quite an interesting read. I truly enjoyed it from cover to cover. It contains a bit of a lot of different elements: adventure, technology, political intrigue, fantasy, and even a little romance. What's right? What's wrong? When does right cross over into being wrong and vice versa? This is the core of this book's plot, and it's done in an entertaining and original manner. It's quite well written.

Mr. Allen has created an entire world with feet in both the fantasy world and the real world. All of the details kept me turning the page, and there were enough surprises to carry it to the end. This is a good book and quite a bargain! I look forward to more work by J. C. Allen.
M.O.D. by J. C. Allen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Military Writer's Society of America review for "SAT & BAF!"

"SAT & BAF!" just received a terrific review from Lee Boyland of Military Writer's Society of America. I'm very proud of it, and it's quite fitting to post it on this eve of Veteran's Day. I couldn't have asked for a better reviewer.

"Young men, graduates of the Infantry School, arrive in Germany and are assigned to a special unit that guard's Pershing II nuclear missiles. They are given a high-pressure assignment that requires a secret security clearance with no preparation or special training for the job. Not what they expected.

Doug DePew tells it like it was, not something the average civilian can understand or relate to. You have to have been in the program to understand the pressure and responsibilities associated with nukes and guarding them. SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat is part of the "Cold War" story, and what it took to win. Unfortunately, the importance of the Cold War is being deleted from history books, along with much of what made America great.

For those not familiar with military terms, I suggest creating a glossary as you read. SAT and BAF, the reader discovers on page 56 mean Security Alert Team and Backup Alert Force. Guard towers were placed around the Pershing site and the men who manned them were "Tower Rats."

DePew's book is insightful, and gives the reader a peek into a corner of the secret world that protected the U.S. from the USSR. DePew and his buddies were hard drinking, brawling, fraulein-chasing, pranksters who, when duty called, seriously guarded the warheads and missiles from Soviet and peacenick attacks. Men who bonded and always had each others back. Men I would have been proud to have commanded, and I can speak from the experience of having had a couple of NCOs who were like DePew and his buddies.

I enjoyed the lieutenant and the password scene. I never forgot a password, but it brought back memories of a couple of men who did, and one who talked too much about them. I was very pleased to note that while the author and his buddies had numerous run-ins with the MPs, there was never a security breach or incident, and when all is said and done, that's all that matters.

The book contains descriptions of the author's travels through out Germany, Spain and Switzerland, along beer, wine and frauleins. I think DePew had a good time.

Having been a member of the nuclear fraternity, I appreciated DePews' story and will keep the book on my shelf."
SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review of: "SitRep Negative: A Year in Vietnam" by G. J. Lau

G. J. Lau's recollection of his year in Vietnam was quite moving. Like a previous reviewer stated, it's not an action-packed war memoir. It is simply his memory of what the war was like for him. There isn't a lot of dialogue in this book. It reads more like hearing him tell the story.

This is a good book that adds another piece of the puzzle to our understanding of the war in southeast Asia that had so much impact on our nation and our culture. It's a different perspective from many. It is worth reading. Thank you, Mr. Lau for sharing your story.
SitRep Negative: A Year in Vietnam

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review of "Changed By War" by Den Slattery

"Changed By War" is Mr. Slattery's story of his two tours in Vietnam. He spent one tour with the Marine Corps as an infantryman and later another with the Army as the war was ending. His descriptions of his time in Vietnam are quite good and he captures the feel of what it was like very well. It was also interesting to hear his experiences and some of his activities after the Marine Corps.

This book is much more than that, though. It is also the story of how Mr. Slattery really was transformed by war. It chronicles his journey to becoming the person he is today. This book has a strong religious overtone. If that turns you off, I would not recommend this book. Personally, I found his story quite interesting and appreciate him sharing it. It is worth reading.
Changed By War

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review of "Light Casualties: A Private War" by J. C. Willis

"Light Casualties: A Private War" is an extremely well written book. It offers an unusual perspective in war memoirs. It gives us the view of a young, draftee private just doing his best to stay alive and get home during the peak of the Vietnam war. It carries us all the way from being drafted to arriving home as J.C. makes his way through time with the artillery and the infantry. The dialogue is realistic. The characters are well-developed. The voice is familiar and friendly. It's a very personal story that strikes me as a truly authentic look at what service in Vietnam was like for many people. I enjoyed reading Mr. Willis's story very much. It's one of the most authentic, real war memoirs I've ever read.

This book also has some very nice touches. The beginning of each chapter in the Kindle book has a personal photograph and map to match the setting. I love the way he scatters letters home through the book. This is simply a wonderful book, and I thank Mr. Willis for his service and for sharing his story with us. It's a good read that I recommend to anybody who'd like to see what life on the ground was probably like for many, many Vietnam veterans.
Light Casualties: A Private War

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review of "Christmas Eve Can Kill You" by William Marantz

"Christmas Even Can Kill You" by William Marantz is an extremely entertaining book! I enjoyed getting to know broken down, Jewish, country singer turned talk-radio jock, Val Virgo. The narrative flows well. The plot is interesting and exciting. The dialogue is realistic, sharp, and witty. The characters are well developed and interesting.

This story developed at a quick pace. There were plenty of twists and turns and even a couple hairpin turns that caused my breath to catch in my throat. The mystery kept me guessing. The romance was interesting and believable to me. The conclusion left me feeling satisfied yet interested in learning more about Val Virgo. I particularly enjoyed the flavor added by the Winnipeg setting. I could see the great, white north, and I've never even been there.

This is a good book. Yes, the narrative voice is sarcastic. As one with a deep sarcastic streak myself, I liked it. I wouldn't mind hanging out with these characters. I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it to anyone looking for a quick paced, interesting read.
 Christmas Eve Can Kill You

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Facebook is so cool!

I don't understand why some people are so against using facebook. It's like they wear it as a badge of honor. I completely get the privacy concerns, but that's not what it's about. They seem to take pride in refusing to use it.

I just don't get it.

I've found family that were lost since the 1970s. Well, I guess they weren't lost, but we were out of contact with them after my mom's dad died. I've set up family reunions, class reunions, and a lot of other events through there. I have a fan page for my book with a couple hundred members. We're going to set up a reunion of my Army unit through that. It's just really great for that...keeping in touch.

The latest thing that happened is a group some German girls created just for people who hung out in two nightclubs in Heilbronn, Germany. It's the "Alstadt-Uncle Sam" group. It's a closed group that even has rules. We have to post a face picture when we first join. I was stationed in Heilbronn and hung out in those clubs nearly every night I could. We're actually recognizing each other! People we thought we'd never see again, and we're chatting and having fun talking about the old days of Bon Jovi music and big hair!! We get to capture a magical era of our youth through faded photographs and vivid memories. I posted one picture, and a couple of the German girls have told me they recognize me already. I definitely recognize some of them. They've posted a lot of pictures, and I remember some of those night...even though they might be clouded through a haze of hefeweissen and Apfelkorn. It was a fun time. I never would have seen those pictures without facebook.

I just think that's awesome. I don't get why some people take pride in refusing to use it. I refuse to use a cell phone, so I guess I should get it. I just don't, though.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review of "The Brotherhood of the Tower Rats" by Goodwin Turner

Like the author, I was a tower rat. I served with C 2/4 Infantry (Pershing) in Heilbronn, FRG in the mid to late '80s as an infantry tower rat. We were on a Pershing missile site. The author has done a tremendous job of capturing that experience. The remarkable detail in his description of his time at Miesau very vividly took me back to those days. I remember the bunkers, the towers, the SOG shack, the razor wire, the SAT, the BAF...all of it was almost identical to what we had. Details of precise duties such as the roles of the alert teams, shifts, and such varied slightly, but his overall experience as a tower rat is exactly what I experienced as a tower rat. It was amazing. It was an experience that was impossible to understand unless you lived it. The author has done his part to help people understand. He also gives one of the best descriptions of basic training that I've ever read. I particularly enjoyed how the author sometimes injects his thoughts into events with quite humorous results. He had an attitude, but so did I. I think I would've liked to meet the author. This author tells us the whole story...warts and all. He is extremely honest.

I can't vouch for the author's other duty stations or his experiences as an MP. I was an infantryman, so we did some duties as tower rats that the author didn't experience in his time there. He did some things we didn't because he was an MP like most tower rats. I can vouch that what he tells of his experience as a tower rat is all true. I experienced many of the same things including the loneliness, the antics, the disillusionment, the excessive drinking, the boredom, and the extreme brotherhood. It is so accurate that I recognize these people and these places, and I've never met them nor been there. I've just known people exactly like them in places just like these. I have no reason to doubt anything else he says because that is all one hundred percent true. I can vouch for that.

My only criticism is with the organization of the book. I read it easily because I was familiar with much of the material. Much of it sounded like me talking. It is arranged much like a diary, and the author sometimes jumps back and forth. I could see how it would be hard to follow. The author also gets some slight details such as the name of things a little off. I chalk that up to writing from memory. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book very much. It's a great story that was worth telling.

I easily give it five stars for material. I think there is definitely a great book here. If it was organized more traditionally with chapters and a little more organization, I'd say five stars. As is, I still give it a solid four. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about what it was like to serve overseas in the Cold War. Well done, Mr. Turner. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for your service. From a fellow tower rat, I salute you, brother.
The Brotherhood of the Tower Rats

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review of "BestsellerBound Short Story Anthology Volume 1" by various authors

This is a short story anthology by a group of very talented authors. All of the stories were enjoyable and well written. I enjoyed the entire collection. I found some stories more enjoyable than others, but I'm not sure if that was because of the story or because they fell more into genres I generally read. Several of the stories had quite interesting twists.

I was impressed by the variety in this collection. It ranged from romance to suspense to fantasy...even a folk tale! That kept it fresh from cover to cover. It was a quick, fun read with several excellent stories. Writing a good short story is a difficult writing task that was accomplished quite admirably by several of these authors. I look forward to reading more from this group of talented authors. Besteller Bound Short Story Anthology 1

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review of "Erich von Manstein" by Benoit Lemay

I purchased this book because I don't have a lot of resources or knowledge about the Eastern Front. I got it as a History Book Club monthly recommendation. It is a decent overview of Manstein's military career. Manstein was a knowledgable, talented soldier. I learned a lot from it. It does have a lot of information even if much of it was drawn from secondary sources. It served its purpose. My favorite part of the book was actually before Manstein moved to the Eastern Front, but I did learn more about the east.

My issues with the book are based on the insistence by the author and the repeated assertions that Manstein was complicit in the war crimes committed by the National Socialist Party. An entire chapter is devoted to the Wehrmacht's participation and Manstein's role, but it creeps into the entire book. I don't doubt that Manstein had more knowledge about what was going on than he later claimed. It would be impossible for him not to know. I just didn't need to keep getting beat over the head about it with so many incidents, anecdotal stories, and statistics. The author kept pointing it out over and over, and it got tedious. I would have liked to see brief mentions of activities that Manstein denied and evidence to the contrary. Then let it go and get back to the story. Much of what the author claims is speculation, anyway.

I also found the book dragged at times. The writing was a bit stilted, and it took months for me to finish this book. I generally read books relatively fast, but I sometimes had to lay it aside and read something more interesting. I did manage to finish it, and I found it educational. It was just a bit boring, and there's no reason for World War II to be boring. That might be because of the previous issue I mentioned or because it contains a lot of details without a lot of narrative. It reads a little like a textbook. As mentioned in a previous review, there is almost no mention of Manstein's personal life. A bit of that might have helped offset the textbook feel.

I recommend the book to expand someone's knowledge base about the Eastern Front, but not for a "sit down and enjoy it" read. It's not a horrible book, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. It'll go on my shelf with my other WW-II books, but I don't think I'll be reading it cover to cover again.         

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review of "Surviving An American Gulag" by Edward Patterson

This is the second of Edward Patterson's novels that I've read. I began it not quite knowing what to expect. I enjoyed the other of his novels immensely, so I did not think I'd be disappointed. I was not.

The book follows Private Winslow Gibbs all the way through his difficult basic training journey. I also went to basic training in Georgia, and the descriptions were precise. Much of it is exactly how I remember. Private Gibbs takes his own side trip through "Special Training Unit" which is the landing place for homosexuals, overweight soldiers, and misfits in general. It's supposed to make them or break them. He makes many friends there and finds out a lot about himself. One scene near the end of the book is so well written that it gave me chills. I won't spoil the plot, but I think you'll know the scene when you get there.

What strikes me the most about this book is the autheticity. The dialogue sounds like soldiers sound. The personalities are like people I know. The places felt like places I've been. Mr. Patterson paints a picture unlike many other authors I've read. This is a book that is well worth reading that sheds light on a little known aspect of the military experience. I recommend it highly.
Surviving An American Gulag by Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review of "My Own Private Orchestra" by Ian Fraser

"My Own Private Orchestra" by Ian Fraser is a remarkably emotion packed book. It blends his experiences and personal struggles with his time serving in the South African Defense Force under apartheid. It is an extremely emotional story.

The style of the book is stream of consciousness which fits the events. It was sometimes a little hard for me to keep up, but it makes sense in context. He sometimes leaps back and forth between different memories. The events related are powerful and well told. He uses very sparse imagery that is quite effective in relating the story. It is very interesting to read how apartheid looked from the inside to Mr. Fraser. His personal growth through the terribly violent events he suffered is inspiring.

This is a good book with a story that deserves to be told. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a deep, very personal memoir.
My Own Private Orchestra by Ian Fraser

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review of "Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey" by Nicholas Schaffner

Every Pink Floyd fan should own "Saucerful of Secrets". It a fascinating book about this very private, secretive group. The writing is skillfully done, and it's a quick read. I used this book as the basis for an entire class I taught about Pink Floyd.

The book carries us through the history of the band from their births to the book's publication date in 1991. The early lives of the band members are interesting, but once the band is formed, it becomes fabulous. The book goes into great detail about the deterioration of Syd Barrett's mental state and how it affected the other members of the band. That's my favorite part of the book because I didn't know a lot of that. I was born in 1968 and came to Pink Floyd later. I always knew there was a guy named Syd in the band, but I had no idea how influential he was on everything the band has done since. It's great.

We also get a good look at much of the band's later work and the inspirations for it. I enjoyed reading about how the band evolved from a fringe, underground club band into one of the first super-groups playing stadiums. The book follows all the way through the break-up of the '70s/early '80s incarnation and their solo work. It also discusses the conflicts and court cases the former friends had following the break-up.

All in all, this is a great book. I recommend it to any Pink Floyd fan. I guarantee you'll learn something you probably didn't know about them.
Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

GED graduation...

Most of you probably know that I teach in a federal prison. Once a year we have a graduation ceremony for the GED graduates and the inmates who finish other big programs like apprenticeships, also. The GED graduates wear a cap and gown, and they're the focus of the ceremony. It's one of the biggest deals we have all year. The warden and executive staff are always there, and the work supervisors of the inmates usually come, also. We also have guest speakers from the outside. The president of Drury University spoke this year. We've had representatives, senators, and even Waylon Jennings speak before! It's a pretty big deal event.
Until late last year, I was teaching in GED class. When our GED tester retired, I moved upstairs to become the tester. I couldn't teach GED and administer the test by the GED rules, so this was probably my last graduation with my inmates walking. Anyway, I had one come up to thank me after graduation. He's a 68 year old meth cooker. I doubt if he'll ever get out of prison. He spent a couple thousand hours in class before I got him and another couple thousand in mine before I got him through. He did his mandatory hours a long time ago and was only staying in class to say he finished. I talked him out of dropping several times. Well, when he walked up to me, he was nearly crying. His lip was quivering and he told me,"I never could've done this without you. I just wanted to say thank you."

It's not often people in my line of work (corrections) get sincerely thanked. We're usually getting cussed or having urine/blood/feces thrown on us. This guy actually thanked me and meant it. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it has to mean something in the grand scheme of the universe to have an inmate nearly cry thanking me.

Graduation is my favorite day of work all year.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review of "The Road to Grafenwöhr" by Edward C. Patterson

This is the first novel I've read by Edward Patterson. I spent a couple years in Germany, and "The Road to Grafenwohr" captures that experience masterfully. A lot of the universal elements that make up the life of a soldier in Germany are described perfectly in this story. I love the way the German landscape is painted, and many, little bits of German culture are described precisely. The added specter of Vietnam during the era of this book gave it another layer. It is a very interesting story that I enjoyed immensely.

Edward Patterson is truly a master wordsmith. He weaves together a quite authentic, realistic plotline of a young soldier finding his way in Germany with elements of fantasy in such a way that the entire story is captivating. I couldn't wait to get to the next page. His characters are authentic and well developed. I truly cared about what was happening with each of them, and he has done a wonderful job of capturing the bond soldier's share. I really liked the way the characters matured with the plot. The ending is terrific. This is a very good book. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Patterson's work.
The Road to Grafenwohr

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Recall! Return of the IRR

Good news, everybody! I have a new book out!! It's available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords right now with a print version coming soon. It's a bit of a sequel to my last book "SAT & BAF!" which relates my experiences as a recall from Individual Ready Reserves during Desert Storm. With the many controversial IRR recalls in the last ten years, I think this book might prove interesting to see how the current era of recalls started.

It's a bit more serious than my last book and has a lot more military stuff. It still includes my brand of irreverence, though. It's an entertaining book that I think turned out quite good. I hope you check it out. It's only $..99 on Kindle or Nook with a print version coming soon. I'm excited!
Recall! Return of the IRR

Here's the synopsis:
There hadn't been a full-scale recall of the Individual Ready Reserves since the Korean War in January of 1991. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people believed it would take World War III to trigger a recall of the IRR. Many people were wrong.

They came from cities and farms and towns in every corner of the country. With only a few days' notice, they quit their jobs, dropped out of college, kissed their girlfriends or wives, and got on planes to Atlanta, Georgia with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had long hair, beards, and bad attitudes. They descended by the thousands on Fort Benning, Georgia, and they were not happy about it at all.

In this entertaining, true story, the author relates his own experiences as one of the twenty-thousand IRR recalls who were ordered back to active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm. In a story reminiscent of "The Dirty Dozen" times ten thousand, the author takes you through the entire experience from beginning to end. He carries you along for the ride and explains exactly what it was like to be a recall. With the many IRR recalls over the last ten years of warfare, this first hand account could shed some light on how the current era of recalls began. (29,000 words +/-)


On a sad note, I lost one of my favorite uncles to lung cancer the other day. He was a good guy. We made two four hour trips to St. Louis in the last couple weeks. One was to say hello to him. The other was to say goodbye. Tell your family you love them because they can be gone any time.

Everybody take care.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review of "No Justice (A Michael Sykora Novel)" by Darcia Helle

Wow! I just finished "No Justice", and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Darcia Helle is a fabulous writer. The pace of the book is quick. The scenes and characters are well developed. The dialogue is realistic. This is an excellent book.

I enjoyed the Michael Sykora character very much. He seems quite likeable for a hit man! I've always been a fan of vigilante type stories, so this one was right up my alley. Darcia has pulled off the difficult feat of getting the audience to root for a lead character who is a murderer. There is an undercurrent of romance throughout the book, and there are also some surprisingly funny comments and scenes. "No Justice" has many different threads that are weaved together quite nicely in this page-turner. I can't say enough good things about this book. I mainly read non-fiction, but I enjoyed this novel a lot. I look forward to reading more of Darcia's work. She's a very good writer. I was enjoying the book so much that I had to stop reading parts of it to my wife as I read it so I wouldn't spoil it for her! I wouldn't hesitate to buy this book again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review of "Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning)

"Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning)" by David McKoy and Lynn Halbrooks is quite entertaining. There is a lot going on in this book! It has adventure, action, suspense, intrigue, and even romance! I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. It's a quick moving book that held my interest from prologue to epilogue. It strikes me as an alternate future much like the alternate histories that have been written. The style is much like the writings of Dick Marcinko (who is acknowledged as an influence). I think it does justice to that type of hard-hitting action adventure.

There is a lot of military jargon in the book that could lose some readers. If you find something you don't understand, skip to the back of the book where you'll find an extensive glossary. The book is written from a distinctly conservative viewpoint that I personally enjoyed. If you don't share that viewpoint, you might look elsewhere. If you do, I think you will find the book entertaining. It's a fun book with a lot of layers. I look forward to more works by these authors.
Call Sign: Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning) by David McKoy and Lynn Halbrooks

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Fair news for "SAT & BAF!"

Good news for fans of "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat". Today it was registered for the new book showcase at the Beijing Book Fair at the end of August and the Frankfurt Book Fair in October!! I'm especially excited about the Frankfurt fair because there an audience for the book in Germany. I'm very excited to get it displayed there, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed on a translated deal. That would be something I'd love. A lot of international deals are made at Frankfurt. It's huge! Here are some links to the fairs in case anybody would like to check them out.

Beijing International Book Fair

Frankfurt Book Fair

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review of Beyond the Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters

Major Dick Winters was a very humble man, and it is a pleasure to read the story of Easy Company in his own words. The writing and narrative are marvelous in this first person account of what it was like to serve in the proud unit. It is almost strictly an account of the military actions of E Company, 506th PIR in World War II, but it does delve more deeply into the personalities making up Easy Company. "Beyond Band of Brothers" shares many stories that were not included in the original book or series. It also expands on stories that were in both giving more personal insight. It is not simply a re-hashing of what's already been said. It is a great work in and of itself.

I think any of us can learn lessons from Major Winters. He was a true leader put into an impossible situation. He gives all the credit to the men he served with which is the sign of any great leader. "Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters" by Dick Winters and Cole C. Kingseed is a must have for any collection of military books, World War II books, or leadership books. I recommend it highly.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review of "Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla" by Albert E. Castel

"Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla" was a great book from beginning to end. Civil War literature is severely lacking in anything about Bill Anderson relying more on legend and myth than real life. This book corrects some of that. I enjoyed every minute of it. My only complaint is that it was too short, but, then again, so was Bloody Bill's life. It ties in well with the other Missouri guerrillas who went on the greater infamy after the war. The brutality of the irregular war in Missouri is very clear in the pages of this book.

As a student of the Civil War in Missouri, I was enthralled with every page of the book. It is very well written and documented. Relying heavily on the Official Record, contemporary news reports, and eyewitness accounts, this may be the definitive book on Bill Anderson. I recommend it highly!

Review of "A Perfect Hell: The True Story of the Black Devils, the Forefathers of the Special Forces" by John Nadler

"A Perfect Hell" is a superbly written book detailing the creation of the First Special Service Force in World War II. As part of the lineage of modern day Special Forces, this unit is fascinating. The book begins with a detailed description of the creation of a hybrid U.S. and Canadian force specialized in arctic warfare during an especially bleak period of the war. It then details their brutal training and the period when the unit was caught in limbo.

The baptism by fire of the unit was in fierce fighting in Italy. Upper echelons still did not truly believe in capabilities of the unit, but the Germans did once they faced them in battle. The book then describes what happened to surviving members of the 1st SSF including the founder, Colonel Robert Frederick. Illustrated with maps and genuine photographs, "A Perfect Hell: The True Story of the Black Devils, the Forefathers of the Special Forces" is a must read for anyone who enjoys WW-II history or military history in general.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review of "The Stranger Beside Me" by Ann Rule

I've worked in prisons most of my adult life. I have looked many killers in the eyes...some who committed crimes as disturbing as Bundy's. You can see it in most of them. The most disturbing thing about Bundy is the fact that most people couldn't see it. Even his friend, Ann Rule, didn't see it.

"The Stranger Beside Me" by Ann Rule is a brilliantly constructed book. It's amazing how she transitions from not knowing anything about the murders to not believing the murders to accepting that her friend, Ted, was a serial killer. It's shocking and interesting to read. This book includes a lot of details that I never heard anywhere until I read Rule's book.

I rank this book as possibly the greatest true crime book ever written. It might be second to "Helter Skelter". I enjoy all of Rule's work, but this one is different. Her personal connection to the subject makes it even more disturbing. It's brilliant. Her very rounded background and relationship with Bundy give a perspective that we'll probably never see again in another book. I recommend it to anyone who likes reading crime books. It reads like a novel, only it's more difficult to stomach. It's real.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Operation eBook Drop

I am proud to announce that I'm now a member of Operation eBook Drop which provides free e-books to deployed service members around the world. It is a program run by author, Ed Patterson, in partnership with Smashwords to distribute e-books worldwide. I am very proud to say that I am now a member and "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat" might bring a smile to a servicemembers face. It is a wonderful program. Thank you Ed Patterson and Smashwords for making this possible!

If anyone out there is an author who would like to participate or knows a deployed servicemember who would like some reading material, you should check out the program.
Operation eBook Drop

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review of "Special Men: A LRP's Recollections" by Dennis Foley

"Special Men: A LRP's Recollections" is a terrific book. Dennis Foley takes us through his entire twenty year Army career in this book, but the bulk of it is spent in the first ten years of his career. I really enjoyed this memoir. It's well written in a conversational, humble voice. Foley comes across as likeable. The years prior to Vietnam were quite interesting. Foley tells us about his time as an enlisted man in Cold War Germany. He also gives quite detailed descriptions of OCS and Airborne School in the pre-Vietnam era.

One extremely unusual aspect of this story is the connection to LTC David Hackworth. Hack was famous as a warrior, author, and reporter. Foley served under Hackworth multiple times in Vietnam. It's interesting to see another view of Hack. The descriptions of combat in this book are gripping and real. The realism throughout the entire book is incredible. Foley is a very talented writer. This is a good overview of an impressive military career. Most of Foley's career was spent with special operations (LRP/Ranger/Special Forces) units. He is extremely humble about what was an amazing career. I recommend this book highly.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review of "19 Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership"

"19 Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership" is a wonderful study of the leadership styles of four of the most prominent generals in World War II: MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and Patton. It gives a brief synopsis of each of their biographies then goes on to address how they handled themselves in different facets of leadership such as dealing with subordinates, character, courage, and preparation. It pays great attention to how they each used a different style to accomplish the same thing which was defeating fascism and winning the greatest war the world has ever fought.

I particularly enjoyed how each leader is contrasted. The most interesting part of the book for me was when Mr. Puryear compared and contrasted them. It was interesting how they were all so different yet so alike. They came from extremely diverse backgrounds, but they all found common ground in the military. The book is well written and would provide useful insight to anyone studying military leadership, WW-II, or leadership in general. I recommend it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guardian Article about Douglas Adams

Gone ten years now. This is for all the Hitchhiker fans out there. Rest in peace, and thanks for the memories.

US Army Historical Foundation

I just got word from the chief historian at the US Army Historical Foundation. They want to house "SAT & BAF!" in the library of the National Museum of the US Army! That's very exciting! I'm putting together the donation copy right now.

This is a huge deal to me!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

To Hell and Back

Reading Audie Murphy's account of his World War II experiences in "To Hell and Back" is a surreal experience. I've seen the movie many times, but I only recently bought the book. It always amazed me watching him on-screen realizing he really did these things. Many of the characters in the book seem like stereotypes. They were all real.

Much of this book would seem cliche being written today. What we have to keep in mind is the fact that most stereotypes began as types. The reason these characters appear in so much fiction about war is because they appeared in the reality of Audie Murphy's war. Writers and film makers have copied Audie Murphy's story repeatedly over the years. He set the standard. I don't think any book has ever been written that better captures what war feels like from the perspective of the men fighting it. It's a masterpiece.

There isn't a whole lot I can add to what's already been said. I will only say that this is a book that should be read by anyone with an interest in World War II or the men who fought it. I recommend it highly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blog Tour de Troops

This is a wonderful event being hosted by the Indie Book Collective at Goodreads to give free Kindles and books to our troops overseas. It's taking place next weekend for Memorial Day. If anybody would like to participate, please visit the site.
Blog Tour de Troops

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Now available on Smashwords!

Good news for anybody who's interested in getting "SAT & BAF!". It's now available in all digital formats on Smashwords and has been reduced to $2.99 to celebrate. It will soon be available on Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Scrollmotion thanks to Smashwords.
SAT & BAF! Memories of aTower Rat on Smashwords

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pritzker Military Library

A donation copy of SAT & BAF! is on the way to Pritzker Military Library in Chicago. They're the largest military library in the world, and they're including it in the collection. I'm honored. That's exciting!! Pritzker Military Library

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hall of Heroes

Here's a link to the 2/4 Infantry Hall of Heroes. It has a wealth of information about the unit's past and present for anybody who's interested.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review of "Gone Native: An NCO's Story"

Cornett's credentials are beyond reproach. He's been there and done just about everything the Army has to offer. This is a well written and very personal story of his journey through more than six years of combat in the jungles of southeast Asia. It is an amazing story. The author shares a lot of personal information that often would make a retired senior NCO uncomfortable, but he delivers it with the same candor as he does the combat stories. He saw parts of the war that few other men saw and lived to tell his story. He also made nearly every mistake it was possible to make. As a former Infantryman myself, I am in awe of men like Cornett. His story simply must be heard. He does it in an extremely straight-forward, direct way in this book that brings across the brutality of war and the bond of combat. His honesty and candor are laudable.

Alan Cornett was sometimes in conflict with his superiors over a rebellious streak, but he delivered when it counted. He managed to survive a rocky start to his career and to survive nearly seven years in combat. Being able to recover from a stay in Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks to the ranks of upper NCO is remarkable. Being willing to admit it is even more remarkable.

This is an amazing account of an amazing life. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys military memoirs or Vietnam history. Actually, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story. I think it would be useful for any young person to read...especially one who is struggling to make it. It's a great book!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I just sent donation copies of SAT & BAF! to the National Infantry Museum and The Cold War Museum! A copy is going to Pritzker Military Library in Chicago as well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The active duty unit

Here's a link to the active duty battalion if anybody would like to see what they're up to. 2nd Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good news!

"SAT & BAF!" is now entered in the Writer's Digest Self Published Book Awards, also! Finalists and winners will be announced in October.

Monday, March 28, 2011

USA Best Book Awards

"SAT & BAF!" has been entered in the USA Book News "Best Books of 2011" Awards. Winners and finalists will be announced in October 2011. Wish me luck!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The SAT & BAF! facebook fan page...

The fan page is at 99 members now! Thank you to everybody who has supported the book and keep spreading the word to keep our history alive.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A huge thank you

Thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and supported it. If you read it and like it, please spread the word. Word of mouth is the best advertising. Thanks everybody!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The book has received some very good reviews on Amazon if anybody would like to check them out. My old roommate left an incredible one. I am proud that he liked the book!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Search inside now active!

Search inside is now active for SAT & BAF! on Barnes & Noble if anybody would like to read a portion of the book!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Small Press Month

Did you know March is Small Press Month? Here is some information on getting out to support small presses and independent publishers.

Now out on Amazon!

"SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat" is now available through Amazon in print! Get more information from the official page.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Big News!

SAT & BAF! is available in print. Now in addition to Kindle, anybody that would like to purchase it can get it from Barnes & Noble. Later on it will be on Amazon as well. You can get a link to either one from the homepage.
SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat Homepage

Monday, February 28, 2011

Good News!

SAT & BAF! is now published! I put a link to the book's page here and on the blog. The purchase links aren't active yet because of the lag time with Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it is on the way!

Welcome to Main Tango...

Welcome to the new followers, and thanks for joining my blog! I am still building the place, so you'll have to excuse the clutter. I promise it will get better. I just uploaded my book to Google books, so it will be searchable there soon. The whole process is a little overwhelming, but it is moving along. Welcome again, and thank you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat: I'm getting this figured out...

SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat: I'm getting this figured out...: "Ok, I'm starting to get this blogging thing figured out. I'll add a link to my book web page once the print version is released. In the mean..."

I'm getting this figured out...

Ok, I'm starting to get this blogging thing figured out. I'll add a link to my book web page once the print version is released. In the meantime, it is available on Kindle. We're at #22,025 overall in the kindle store right now!

Hi, everybody!

This is my first post in my new blog. I'm announcing the release of my new book "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat". It's about my tour in C Company, 2/4 Infantry (Pershing) as security for Pershing II nuclear missiles. We were in Heilbronn, West Germany. I was there from '86 to '88, and we "interesting" time. It's good to meet you. The book is currently available on Amazon Kindle with the print version coming in a week or two. I'll share more information as it's available.