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.