Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review of "A Physician's Plight" by Dr. Katherine Klein

I just finished "A Physician's Plight" last night, and Dr. Klein's story broke my heart. It follows her story from her youth through final personal triumph with twenty years of heartache in between. This book is well-written and moves at a good clip. It does a good job of sharing just enough that we can actually feel it from the inside. As the title suggests, there is an interesting contrast between Dr. Klein's escalating personal struggles and stories from inside the hospital.

Having lived through my wife's own struggles for custody of her son, I empathized with Dr. Klein's story. It's amazing what family court can sometimes conclude. Reality seems to have very little to do with their decisions in many cases.

This was a brave story. I thank Dr. Klein for sharing it and recommend it to anyone who likes a good, personal memoir.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The record is finished!

I've talked about my friend, Becky on here. Getting to know her again this summer and fall has been an amazing experience. I had no idea how much I missed her all those years until I had her back. I just love her so much. It's just a special bond that goes all the way back to kindergarten in a little town with 47 people. There's no way to describe it. Well, the CD has been much of what we've talked about. After a lifetime of singing, she finally took the plunge into the studio. She's been working on it for months. Well...

Oh my goodness! One of the most incredible moments of my life was at 6:00 am last Thursday morning. That was her worldwide radio debut on KZNN in Rolla, Missouri. She was so excited when they let her know that she drove down to her mom's just to sit in her car and listen. That station is a long way from my house, but I took a shot and drove as far east as I could before six...left about ten minutes early.

Well, about 5:56, the station started fading out of rock to Garth Brooks. It was going back and forth between the two. She was on a country station, so I pulled over when Garth was coming in strong. I was trying to hear the call letters (KZNN). I never heard them.

At 6:00 sharp, I heard my friend's angelic voice, though!! She kicked off the morning show. It was her song "Keep Christ In Christmas" which is very radio friendly. I sat there and cried.

My friend from kindergarten who loves nothing in the world more than singing was being played on my truck radio, and I got to hear it. Just a couple months ago, I talked with her for hours helping her decide whether to continue in the singing contest she was in or spend that money to go record this CD. I convinced her the CD would give her more return. I helped her get the CD submitted...three hours on the phone. My wife and I have been travelling a couple hours every couple weeks just to hang with her and hear her sing...and because she's a blast! We've spent hours and hours talking about and working on this CD. I didn't help with the recording, but I did help her get it from songs to a release. She told my wife the other day that I was getting credits on the sleeve "for pure awesomeness". I don't know if she was joking or not. It's hard to tell sometimes. Thursday morning, I heard her on the radio for the first time. I heard her biggest dream come true. By some magic of the airwaves, I heard it across the state. I Mapquested it once I got to work. I was 114 miles away.

It was great!

Since then, she's been put into the rotations on several stations in the eastern part of Missouri with more coming on all the time. It's been a whirlwind this week. The CD isn't even available (but will be very soon), and she's already on the radio!! Hopefully things will calm down soon so we can hang out. Meanwhile, it's been fun chatting with her at night. It's just amazing. She's amazing. You can hear the full album on Reverbnation if you'd like. The originals are the last two songs on the playlist, but the whole thing is incredible. I'm soooooo proud of her.


Christmas Lullaby by Becca Lee Roberts

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

As I reflect on the Hank Williams book I just read, I've been thinking about my own life. The Waylon Jennings song "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" keeps playing in my head. Those of you who've read my books know how close I came to entering music as my profession.

I'm lucky I didn't.

I have a strong premonition that I would've ended up much like Hank. I have many of the same demons. Where we got them, only God knows. I've always felt the same things Hank did, though. I listened to Hank Williams as I fell asleep as a kindergartener. I know what he felt when he wrote those songs. I wouldn't have made it.

I think Uncle Sam saved me from his fate.

Just thoughts running through my head as I reflect on the biography I just read. I'm sure Hank done it that way. I'm also lucky I didn't or I wouldn't have survived my twenties.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review of "Hank Williams: The Biography" by Colin Escott

As a child, I listened to old 78s of Hank Williams that I carefully pulled out of my dad's old cedar chest. Later, I got my very own 8-track player and fell asleep listening to Hank every night. All I can say after reading this book is,"Wow." I bought it at the Ryman Auditorium during a recent trip to Nashville and started reading it immediately. This is a very thorough look at Hank's short, sad life. Mr. Escott has included direct quotes from many of the people who knew Hank personally or were associated with him and has put together what might be the most comprehensive picture of his life yet.

I was particularly impressed with how well Hank's childhood and early life were covered. I had absolutely no idea prior to this book how far back his problems went. I was constantly doing math in my head as different incidents of Hank's drinking causing problems appeared to find dates that placed him in his mid-teens.

His meteoric rise and abrupt fall are covered quite skillfully. It even includes his earnings each year. A peek into the psychology of who Hank Williams was as a person is granted through quotes from his friends and associates. Learning the sad details of his last few months was horrifying to me, but it's the truth. I appreciate the truth. We also get a summary of the extensive aftermath following Hank's sudden death and the outcome for the people involved including his children.

I can't say I'm happy after finishing this book. I do feel like I know Hank Williams better than I did prior to reading it, though. This is the best Hank Williams biography I've read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in country music.

Hank Williams: The Biography

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review of "America's Unknown Wars" by William S. Shepard

I just finished "America's Unknown Wars" late last night. William Shepard has done a great job in compiling a bit of history that barely anybody talks about in this easy-to-read collection of essays. I've been a history teacher for going on twenty years, and I learned new things in his book. Little discussed history has always interested me the most, so I was eager to dig into this book. It didn't disappoint.

I enjoyed all four of the sections. The Spanish-American War has always been of particular interest to me, and it's covered quite nicely. That's been called a "splendid little war", but it had a tremendous impact on both US and world history. It was nice to see Mr. Shepard discuss it.

This isn't an in depth text book. It's a relatively light read that moves along at a good clip. It's an overview. I'd recommend this book to anybody with an interest in US history.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Beautiful review of "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat"

Here is a lovely review of SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat by Joanne Mazzotta.

Doug Depew stepped off a 747 after it landed in Germany. It was to be the most powerfully memorable annex of his life. Often it is said in written reviews, "This is not the sort of book I usually read." I must say it now. I have not experienced the armed forces. Though I am pleased and proud to be an American and have given due respect to our military men and woman, I would have not read this book if I did not meet Doug Depew on a writer's discussion group. His personality doesn't reveal the jolting experiences he tells of in SAT&BAF. He is likable and has a pleasant friendliness about him.

He takes you with him to Germany and introduces you to his platoon, a family of new "brothers" while your mouth hangs open in shock at some of their shenanigans. Aligning himself with the perimeters of a serious mission, he manages to preserve his passion for fun, sex, relationships with beautiful German girls, booze banquets and insane ideas while off base. SAT&BAF is written in a flowing conversational manner. He exhibits a style of his own while he describes the years he spent in West Germany. He goes on to explain in detail his nightlife in the military and his responsibilities as a soldier commissioned to guard a nuclear storage station in a country where he was a foreigner. The menacing fight to keep himself alive while evolving from boy to man, his cohorts often risk that process with some ideas that could have cost him more than his luck had to give.

His experience during a time in American history few really know of will inform you and make you rethink the cold war. He had only been on earth for 18 years when he became a tower rat and reading Doug Depew's rendition of the trouble he and his beloved friends got into, I wasn't sure which mission was more dangerous, his outings in Germany or his tower responsibilities as a soldier.

Seeing it all from a mother's vantage point, it was hard not to worry about him, and yet harder not to crack up laughing at some of his escapades with the daily threat of death hovering over that tower. When he boarded that 747 for the last time, I exhaled.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of: "Rock & Roll Homicide" by RJ McDonnell

Music and detective work. What a great combination! This book combines two of my favorite subjects. RJ McDonnell introduces us to ex-muscician, private detective, Jason Duffy in this wonderfully written mystery. I found the combination of the music industry and detective/police work was a super mix. As one who's dabbled around the edges of the music industry most of my life and been in or around law enforcement even longer, I truly enjoyed this read. Mr. McDonnell does a tremendous job of building and developing his characters. There are a lot of them in this book, and I never had trouble keeping track of them. They were all developed so fully that I got to know them and care. The relationship with his retired policeman father is particularly interesting. This book takes us everywhere from a recording studio to the Russian mafia. There's even some old-world Ireland in it!

The pace is quick. The narrative is done in a lively, friendly voice. Humor is strewn thoughout the entire book. It kept me turning pages late into the night. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys music, investigative novels, or a fun read. I'm looking forward to another installment in the Rock & Roll Mystery series.
Rock & Roll Homicide

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Heilbronn Stimme Article!

German Bestseller!!

At the urging of German fans on my Facebook fan page, I contacted the Heilbronn Stimme. It’s the newspaper in Heilbronn, Germany where my first book “SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat” happened. A month or two ago, an editor from the paper sent me a message to send him a book and he’d write about it. I put together a press packet and didn’t hear anything back for weeks. Then another reporter contacted me last week to send some pictures for the article! The original editor had the reporter read it because his English was better.
The article ran today! Several German fans contacted me this morning to let me know it was in the paper and mentioned on the front page! The reporter sent tear sheets to my e-mail, but I haven’t had a chance to translate them yet. The fans told me it’s a good article. Here it is if you’d like to take a peek.

 I’m on the front page of a major, German newspaper!! In case you wonder if print media still has any power, here are the rankings of “SAT & BAF!” on earlier today:

Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 161 in Englische Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Englische Bücher)

·         Nr. 1 in Englische Bücher > Geschichte > Weltgeschichte > 20. Jahrhundert

·         Nr. 1 in Englische Bücher > Reise & Abenteuer > Europa > Deutschland

·         Nr. 1 in Englische Bücher > Geschichte > Militär > Waffen & Kriegsführung

 For the mono-lingually challenged among us, here’s an English translation of the ranks:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: # 161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
# 1> in Books> History> World History> 20th century
# 1 >in Books> Travel & Adventure> Europe> Germany
# 1> in Books> History> Military> Weapons & Warfare

Awesome! I’ve been waiting for word to get out in Germany. It has been rising all day. I knew there was a market in Germany! I’d like to thank the Heilbronn Stimme for expressing an interest in the book and for running the article. What a wonderful day!


Ghosts of the Past

Social media is amazing. I wrote a while back about an old, Army friend I ran into due to my book. He found me on Facebook. Well, a couple months ago I ran into an extremely old friend named Becky. We were the dearest of buddies in first, second, and third grade at a very tiny school. We were in the same class for all three grades because it was the same teacher. In a town with 47 people, friends take on a whole new meaning. We moved away suddenly in third grade and as Becky put it “disappeared”. She found me and sent a friend request. As soon as we became Facebook friends, she sent a message that said, “Where did you go?” We’ve caught up a bit in the last couple months, and she also became friends with my wife. We mostly talk about music.

Becky invited us up to see her sing last weekend. She’s been singing professionally since she was nineteen years old. It was something I felt like we should do, so we drove the three hours up to watch her in a theater show. We watched her in a country classics variety show where she sang lead on five or six songs. After the show, she invited us to see her, her mom, and her daughter sing karaoke. She wanted a chance to show us what she could do on songs she picked. She said the band that hired her for the show picks her outfits, songs, and everything. She wanted to be able to take requests. It was at a little VFW hall in my old hometown.

She is incredible!! Seriously, she’s among the best female singers I’ve ever heard live. I don’t know how she’s not a star. She’s an extremely talented singer. I suppose it had something to do with raising four kids. She’s still out there making money off her voice, though. We meant to go home after the show. Then we meant to go home about ten or eleven from karaoke. Then we were staying as long as Becky was willing to sing. She’s that good. What’s the hurry? Watching one of my oldest friends doing what she loves was the most important thing in the world this weekend.

It was also a lot of fun catching up. She has a whole lot in common with my wife, and I think they both found a new buddy. They were chattering all night long. Becky told all kinds of stories from the old days in Cherryville…population 47. She is so funny! She says things like, “I grew up so far out in the country that a two-lane road meant going to the city.” My wife told me on the way home that it feels like she’s known Becky their whole lives when she just met her. She’s such a sweet girl and incredibly funny! She had us rolling all night long. She’s also excited to collaborate on some songwriting. It meant a lot to her that we were willing to drive up there to watch her, but it was a pleasure. We had her autograph the show tickets before we went home, and she almost cried. She finished the night by performing Martina McBride’s “Broken Wing”, and it was unbelievable. When everybody fizzled out and it was time to say goodnight, everybody hugged. When she hugged me, she said, “I missed you so much!” It’s not every day that you get a chance to touch someone so deeply. It meant a whole lot to her that somebody would travel that far to hear her sing. It meant a lot to me, too.

All in all, it was a really fun weekend. Facebook is an incredible tool. Our friendship might have been frozen in time during the Ford administration if it hadn’t been for modern technology. Now my wife and I have a very dear new friend.

I don’t think it’ll be thirty-six years before we see Becky again. There’s some big book news, but I’ll save that for another post. This one is about my old friend. If you ever get a chance to hear her sing, I highly recommend it. She’s great! 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What a terrific day...

Well, after a few weeks of insanity at work dealing with an unstable co-worker, I needed a bit of good news. Guess what? Karma came through for me!! It's been a while since I posted here due to life getting in the way, but this has been a wonderful day.

First, I noticed a review notice in my e-mail about a new review on Smashwords. My second book "Recall! Return of the IRR" just got a five star review today!! Not just that, but it's a terrific review by a woman who was also involved in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in a medical capacity. She "got it" as they say. Here's the text of the review

 Review by: Sharon E. Cathcart on Aug. 21, 2012 : star star star star star
This book took me back in time. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, I was the deputy public affairs officer for a military medical center. During those conflicts, author Doug DePew was recalled to active duty as potential backfill for casualties (some of whom came through the medical center where I worked).

DePew outlines his plans to become a recording engineer -- plans he was well on his way to accomplishing -- that were interrupted by his recall. He then shows his readers exactly what it's like to be brought back on active duty during a confusing time (no orders beyond what got the soldiers back on-base, no schedules ... but plenty of time for physical training).

DePew does a great job of explaining both the psychological and physiological effects of recall, and brings readers right into the barracks with him. His fellow servicemen become like buddies for us as we get to know their stories and see their hopes and fears.

Well-done and highly recommended for those who enjoy military memoirs.

Recall! Return of the IRR

On top of that, guess what I found when I looked at As you know, Germany is one of the major markets for my first book "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat". A lot of Germans are on my fan page. Here's what I found on the German front:

Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #5.124 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)
Nr. 3 in Englische Bücher > Geschichte > Militär > Waffen & Kriegsführung
Nr. 4 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Biografien & Erinnerungen > Politiker & Persönlichkeiten > Militär
Nr. 4 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englische eBooks > Biografien & Erinnerungen > Fachleute & Akademiker > Militär & Spione Germany! In English, that says:

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: # 5,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
# 3> in Books History> Military> Weapons & Warfare
# 4 in Kindle Store> eBooks> eBooks Foreign Language> English eBooks> Biographies & Memoirs> Politicians & People> Military
# 4 in Kindle Store> eBooks> eBooks Foreign Language> English eBooks> Biographies & Memoirs> Professionals & Academics> Military & Spies

"SAT & BAF!" on

How's that for some good news? Wow, what a good day! I needed a smile, and the world gave it to me. I hope everybody out there is also having a good day.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review of "They Met at Gettysburg" by Gen. Edward J. Stackpole

I enjoyed "They Met At Gettysburg". I've studied the Civil War pretty extensively, but much of my reading has been about the Trans-Mississippi and western war. I only briefly studied the big battles of the east in college. I grabbed this book to help expand my knowledge to a more full picture.

This book gives a great overview of the major players of the battle on both sides with particular emphasis on Lee and Meade. It draws mainly from secondary sources to paint an overall picture of both commanders' leadership style. This is not a minute by minute account of the tactical actions. It's more of a strategic overview. It kept me interested because I've never been overly interested in blow by blow looks at major battles unless they come from the line soldier's point of view. I liked the style of this story and how it was told.

There are maps and pictures throughout the book. I found them very hard to read on a Kindle. In a paperback, they would be interesting. I love to read maps and see pictures as I go through a history book and was disappointed that I couldn't see any details. I must have picked up this book on a free promotion because I see it's now $9 on Kindle. I wouldn't pay that for it on Kindle. It is worth the regular price in paperback to me.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning a bit about a pivotal battle of the American Civil War and the commanders who engineered it.

The Met At Gettysburg

Thursday, July 26, 2012


It's amazing what can stir up memories. My first book "SAT & BAF!" was sparked by re-gaining contact with one of my old team leaders from Germany. He sent me a message on facebook that reminded me of what an amazing, life-changing experience we had over there. That flooded into the book. The memories came back so fast that I could barely get them down on paper.

I tried to find as many of the main characters as I could when the book first came out. I wanted to send all of them a copy. They're really why I wrote the book. It isn't that I think my experiences were all that amazing. It's not that I was some kind of super-soldier. I was just one of millions. I wrote it for all of us. I think I was pretty typical of the American soldiers who served overseas in the Cold War. Yes, we were a unique unit that did an important job, but everybody did something we did. I wrote the book for the guys who were next to me literally and for the million who were figuratively. It's a book for the Cold War warrior.

Well, a week or so ago a fan showed up on my Author page on facebook. He's one of the main characters I couldn't find. I tried very hard to track him down because he played such an important role in my life and in the book. I heard from his old roommate that he stayed in the Army and went on to become a helicopter pilot, but the last contact he'd had was in the mid-'90s. Since then, he'd just dropped off the face of the earth. The last time I saw him was in a chow hall at Fort Carson around 1989. Then he showed up on my fan page! I sent a friend request, but I hadn't heard anything back...until early this morning when I got this message.

"Doug, I just finished SAT & BAF! in one sitting. Thank you brother for a fascinating journey through some of the most cherished memories of my life."

Gregory A. Mc(deleted) aka Egghead

That's exactly why I wrote this book.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review of "Plague" by Lisa C. Hinsley

I finished "Plague" late last night...probably a huge mistake. It's an extremely detailed account of a family's descent into Bubonic Plague's grasp. It actually could be a town, a nation, or a world's descent. The deeper plotline of love and loneliness made the graphic descriptions even more horrifying. It's well done.

I began to feel like this must be how the victims of the plague felt. Ms. Hinsley just managed to move them to a modern day setting. I believe she did a masterful job of capturing that experience. I recommend this book highly. I don't recommend it just before bed, though.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review of "The Scorpion" by James A. Anderson

I just finished "The Scorpion" last night. It's an extremely fast-paced thriller that definitely kept me entertained. Mr. Anderson weaved together several plotlines that flash back and forth throughout the book. We have a terrorist plot, a newspaper story, and a wedding all entwined. They reminded me of the strands of a rope winding through each other until he finally tied them into a knot at the end. It was quite well done. The style reminded me a bit of the Bourne movies.

I haven't read Mr. Anderson's introductory novel, "Deadline", yet, but I look forward to it. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a quick, high-action thriller. I found it quite entertaining.

The Scorpion

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review of "Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip" by Harry Leslie Smith

I just finished "Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip", and I'm nearly speechless. I spent a couple years living in Germany decades after the author, but I still found many bits and pieces that seemed familiar. Harry Leslie Smith has written a masterpiece. The plotline is gripping, the narrative flows, and the dialogue is stark. This memoir is beautifully written. He sets scenes with such detail that I felt as if I was experiencing the story with him. It's just a great book.

I truly got to know Harry, Friede, and the other characters as this story progressed. It gives us a glimpse into a little told part of the World War II story. Prior to this account, I knew almost nothing about life in the British zone of occupation Germany. Mr. Smith has given us a rare gift by telling his story and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in WW-II history or a good love story.

Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review of "Our Father's War" by Julie Thomas and Hal Thomas

I enjoyed "Our Father's War" very much. I read a lot of World War II history and history in general, but I particularly enjoy reading the stories of the regular men and women who fought it. This collection is extremely rare and valuable. First of all, it's from a fighter pilot. I haven't read a lot of their stories. I also don't know if I've ever read a WW-II memoir from a New Zealander. This is a great collection.

Hal Thomas had quite a sense of humor which made this book very readable. I enjoyed getting to know him through his letters. The book is spiced with enough of the war to remind us that it's a deadly serious business Mr. Thomas is in, but the off duty travels and hijinks lent a realism. It's just a great addition to World War II literature.

I realize Julie Thomas put this together for the younger members of her family. It is a treasure for anyone who'd like to see World War II from a different perspective.

Our Father's War

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review of "The Jockey's Justice" by Michael Phelps

I previously read "The Execution of Justice" and enjoyed it a lot. I was really looking forward to the followup novel by Michael Phelps, "The Jockey's Justice". I was not disappointed at all. This was a great read for my vacation. This book picks up the story of former homicide detective, Mike Walsh, after his move to Florida to begin his new life. Having moved on from police work, Walsh is now an investigator for a defense attorney working on the other side of the criminal justice system. It's a fascinating transition.

This book carries us through a thrill ride from Miami to the racetracks of Kentucky. Like Mr. Phelps's other novel, it includes a lot of small details that lend an authenticity that can only be gained by living. The story contains a lot of action and moves at a quick pace. I enjoyed the banter in the dialogue. It kept me entertained all the way to the final page.

Mr. Phelps clearly writes from a lot of life experience. I enjoyed this book and look forward to more installments in The Mike Walsh Detective Novels.

The Jockey's Justice

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review of "Memoirs of a Holocaust Survivor: Icek Kuperberg" by Icek Kuperberg

I bought this book months ago and kept it on my Kindle waiting for a time when I felt prepared to read it. I'm so glad I bought it. "Memoirs of a Holocaust Survivor: Icek Kuperberg" is a tremendous addition to the historical record. It was uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Mr. Kuperberg is a survivor. Listening to him tell all he went through to make it through the war was extremely moving. To hear the words of a man who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald with not only his life but his spirit intact is something anyone who's a member of the human race can learn from. Seeing the way he used his talents, wits, and will to make it moved me.

I've seen criticism in other reviews of the style. I must disagree strongly with that criticism. As the story progressed, I found myself hearing Mr. Kuperberg's voice talking to me. It was transcribed directly from tapes, and it's told the way he remembered it. Additional backstory or dialogue would make it seem contrived and fake. As it's written, it seemed authentic. It's told in his voice. Last night, I literally started hearing his voice in my head. That's when I knew it worked. I think it came across in a way that made the story very real. It's his story. The book was well edited and clear. It's just one man telling his story. It's a story that everyone should hear.

I thank him and everyone else who helped put this together. I recommend this book to anyone.

Interview with Darcia Helle...

Hi everybody! Darcia Helle was kind enough to interview me for her site Quite Fury Books. I'm the feature story today on her blog "A Word Please". It's very exciting. Darcia recently read and reviewed my book, Recall! Return of the IRR, and she requested an interview.

We discuss the book and assorted other topics. I hope you'll visit Darcia and check it out!

Music, Military, and Doug DePew

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We gave peace a chance...

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech in West Berlin. Later in that speech, he mentions the Soviet SS-20 missile. We were all listening intently along with the rest of the world. It took on a more personal meaning to us because on June 12, 1987, I was sitting on Pershing II nuclear missiles. We were the direct response to the Soviet SS-20 and also the veiled threat in the speech. I was on Waldheide Nuclear Weapons Storage Area in Heilbronn, West Germany with the missiles that were going to fire if the USSR decided to launch theirs. Yes, we were all listening closely.

So was Mr. Gorbachev.

As they like to say in the Pershing world, we gave peace a chance.

I just wanted to take a minute to remember President Reagan and my brothers and sisters who protected the Pershings until they were no longer needed. By 1991, all of them were gone. 

That speech meant so much to me that it's quoted on the back of "SAT & BAF!".

Remembering Reagan's Tear Down This Wall Speech 25 Years Later

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review of "Babe Ruth As I Knew Him" by Waite Hoyt

"Babe Ruth As I Knew Him" by Waite Hoyt is a rare piece of baseball history. As a teammate on two teams, Hoyt knew Ruth well. His insight is fascinating and valuable. I enjoyed watching the evolution of Ruth from a young, impulsive kid into a superstar. Hoyt works in enough of Ruth's personal life to make this a biography of Ruth worth reading. It has numerous illustrations. Some of them were a little hard to read on a Kindle, but I enjoyed the pictures.

This is a book that would be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in baseball history. There are a couple of minor formatting problems in the Kindle edition and it's not a masterpiece in biographical literature. Hoyt's style can probably be described as "down home". It is a quick, interesting read that I enjoyed, though. The list of records Ruth held at retirement is worth the price of admission. It goes on for pages at the end of the book. Baseball is a sport built on statistics, and I found these truly interesting.

I recommend this book to any baseball fan.

Babe Ruth As I Knew Him

Review of "Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit From Them" by Bud Allen

I was just discussing this book and it struck me that I'd never reviewed it. There probably isn't a whole lot I can add to what's been said about this book except to say this: I've worked in federal prisons for thirteen years. I was a correctional officer and now am a teacher. Like others have stated, this is required reading in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Prior to the BOP, I worked in two state prisons and two state juvenile facilities. My dad was a county jailer. I've been in or around corrections my entire life.

There is no better resource for new correctional staff (in any capacity including volunteers) than this book.

Almost nobody gets into corrections to be a dirty staff. Most of us hate dirty staff. Most who do get compromised started out with noble ideals. They didn't want to break the law and endanger other staff, inmates, or society. We want to help society. Most of us just want to support our families and keep the bad people off the streets. Some days, we just want to get home alive. It's an honorable profession with almost no thanks. This book will help you stick to those honorable ideals you entered with. I recommend it highly whether you work in a prison, volunteer in a prison, work in any other institutional environment, or just know someone who does. It's filled with valuable information that could save your life or your job.

Games Criminals Play

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review of "Zellwood: A Dog Story" by Rebecca Stroud

This is the second of Rebecca Stroud's works that I've read. The other one was a full-length work about revenge. This one is quite different. The language in this short story is perfect. The words are precise. It's an emotional read that brought a tear to my eye. The language used is so precise and perfect that it captures something magical...simple yet eloquent. Anyone who has ever loved a pet or really loved at all would enjoy "Zellwood". There is a lot packed into this little story.

Simply beautiful.

Zellwood: A Dog Story

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review of "War Stories: Utah Beach to Pleiku" by Robert O. Babcock

I bought this book as soon as Mr. Babcock released it. I'm a life member of the National 4th Infantry Division Association and served with 1/8 Infantry at Fort Carson. As a peacetime/Cold War era veteran, I've always been in awe of the men who lived these stories. This book is very well done. It's a wide variety of true stories ranging through multiple wars and settings. The pages of this book detail the history of my division. I'm proud to be a part of it. They're in the words of the veterans themselves. I found it fascinating, and I will read it again and again.

I especially liked the layout of the book. Each story is self-contained. This is a super book to pick up, read a bit, then lay aside to absorb. Some of the stories are intense. Some are funny. Some portray the tedium of soldiering. It's just a great collection.

Mr. Babcock has done us all a great service in collecting these bits of history for all of us. Thank you, sir. This is history at its very best. Real people doing real things. History isn't just generals, kings, and presidents. It's this. Word has it that another collection will be released in the future. I'm waiting for it.

War Stories: Utah Beach to Pleiku"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review of "The Execution of Justice" by Michael Phelps

"The Execution of Justice" by Michael Phelps is an extremely realistic police story. Having spent my entire life in and around law enforcement, I was very impressed with the authenticity of this story. For a work of fiction, it comes across as very real. We follow Detective Mike Walsh through his first year as a homicide detective and see how the career move impacts his professional and personal life. I grew to know and like these characters.

There were several interesting quirks in this novel that I grew to enjoy as the story progressed. I won't spoil it by stating them, but I think you'll notice as you read. Certain details are included regularly that I first found unusual until I figured out that they were laying a groundwork. They're expanding the characterization. They add a realism that I found well done. Read this book all the way to the end, and I think you'll enjoy it.

This isn't a shoot-em-up thriller. It's the real life of a police officer. Much of the book is spent behind a desk and many of the overtime hours are spent pounding the pavement just like in real police work. This is an excellent debut novel, and I look forward to more work by Michael Phelps. "The Execution of Justice" was worth the read.

The Execution of Justice

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review of "The Naked Truth About Hedonism II" by Chris Santilli

My wife and I are having a fifteenth anniversary next year, and we're considering a trip to Jamaica. As I was researching Jamaica trips, I kept having Hedonism II pop up in searches for things we enjoy doing. Hedonism II!! I always thought that was a swinger place! Well, as I started reading reviews of Hedo II, I realized that my perception wasn't completely acccurate. Hedo can be that. It can also be a lot of other things. It kept showing up in my searches, so I needed to learn more. This book by Chis Santilli kept showing up as one of the best resources to learn more about Hedo, so I grabbed a copy. I'm glad I did!

Ms. Santilli does a great job of explaining what Hedo is and what Hedo isn't. She covers a lot of areas that only a many time repeat customer such as her would even know. She thoroughly explains Hedo and gives a lot of information that's useful to anyone travelling to Jamaica. Her stories, pictures, and the stories of other Hedo regulars she shares are priceless to anybody considering a trip there.

...and she's FUNNY!!

I'd recommend this book to anybody considering a trip to Jamaica with an open mind. If nudity offends you, don't buy this book because most of the pictures are nude. Then again, if nudity offends you...I doubt if you've even heard of Hedo II! I don't know if we'll ever take a trip there, but this book was enjoyable and my wife wants to read it now. We're still probably going to take a trip to Jamaica either way. This book allows us to make an informed decision as to whether it might be at Hedo.

That makes it quite valuable. My copy was autographed by the author as well.

The Naked Truth About Hedonism II

Random thoughts on D-Day...

Well, here it is D-Day. I always think of that. My unit at Fort Carson (1/8 Infantry) had a Presidential Citation for being the first unit on the beach at Utah Beach. I read the citation on the wall at battalion headquarters one night while I was doing CQ duty. It was the original signed by the president. The first unit on the beach. That little piece of ribbon on our uniforms was for that.

I always try to remember that.

General Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. received the Medal of Honor leading the 8th Infantry Regiment (my regiment) onto Utah Beach that day. He was the only general to land by sea on D-Day in the first wave. He was 56 years old!

It's simply awe inspiring. I hope everyone takes a minute today to remember that day sixty-eight years ago. There are almost none of them left. It's up to us to remember.


Review of "Traditional Bowyer's Bible Volume 4" by Jim Hamm

I've been a subscriber to Primitive Archer Magazine for many years. I read it from a historical, archaeological perspective for a long time. It's just fascinating. These books were written by a group of regular contributors to the magazine and participants at the lively message board. I bought the first three volumes when I finally decided to make the leap into creating my own wooden bows. It is fabulous. This fourth volume is an excellent update with the latest research. I ordered it as soon as it was released. It has a wonderful overview of various woods and their performance. For a skill that's thousands of years old, we still learn all the time. It's amazing how much we have to re-learn that our ancestors just knew. I've read all four books cover to cover multiple times. I recommend this set for anyone with an interest in a simpler life. One of my life goals is to harvest a deer with gear I made completely myself.

Using these books, a person can take a tree, some cane, and a few pieces of rock and create an efficient, deadly weapon. If you want to learn about making wooden bows and other primitive archery gear, this is the set of books to own. Primitive archery is more than a hobby. It's a lifestyle. Try it, and you'll see. It gets in your soul.

Traditional Bowyer's Bible: Volume 4

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review of:"Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis" by David Pietrusza

"Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis" is an essential read for fans of baseball history in my opinion. It's well researched and well written. I found this book fascinating from both the baseball perspective and also from the general history perspective. I try to read some baseball books every year around the start of spring training. It's one of my traditions. This year, David Pietrusza's book sat on my list. I'm glad I read it.

Nearly anyone who knows even cursory baseball history has heard the name Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Even people who aren't familiar with how much he influenced baseball has probably heard of him from the Black Sox scandal. Until I read this book, I wasn't aware of much else about him. This book does a great job of filling in the blanks to give us a more rounded picture of who the judge was. I really appreciated the history prior to 1920 when he assumed the commissionership. It was great! The extensive notes in the back also help people like me who enjoy further research.

I think this was a very fair, balanced look at a complicated man. It addresses myths that have surrounded the judge back to his lifetime. I appreciate all of the work Mr. Pietrusza put into this book, and I will read it again.

Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review of "The Only War We've Got: Early Days in South Vietnam" by Daniel Ford

I've read a lot of Vietnam memoirs. Most are by soldiers and Marines deep in the hottest years of the war. "The Only War We've Got" by Daniel Ford gives a completely different perspective. As a young Army vet and reporter, Mr. Ford was sent to Vietnam to cover what was going on there in 1964. This book is composed of his notes and dispatches home.

He takes the reader all through South Vietnam and gives us a glimpse of military activities throughout the country at that early stage of US involvement there. He participates in a wide variety of exercises ranging from US Air Force to US Navy to US Army (conventional and Special Forces). In his time in southwest Asia, he managed to sample a wide variety of units. He also had quite a bit of interaction with the native peoples. His insight is truly fascinating. The characters he meets on his journey are too interesting to be fiction. People like this only come from real life. Meeting the advisors who were running the war prior to its escalation was a real treat to me.

As the author explains in his epilogue, his attitude and that of most of the advisors he met were very naive. That's part of the magic of this book. It's difficult to step back beyond hindsight and view things the way we did when we were young. Mr. Ford has managed to do it. This book is an important addition to Vietnam literature and military history in general. I enjoyed it a lot.
The Only War We've Got: Early Days in South Vietnam by Daniel Ford

Monday, April 9, 2012

Latest review for "Recall! Return of the IRR"

Here's the latest, customer review for my book "Recall! Return of the IRR". It's great!! This book is still only $.99 on Kindle, Nookbooks, Sony, Kobo, and Smashwords if you'd like to check it out.

5.0 out of 5 stars THE PATRIOT, April 9, 2012

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Recall! Return of the IRR (Kindle Edition)
I had the pleasure of reading Author DOUG DePEW'S "SAT & BAF: Memories of a Tower Rat", and could not wait to read his new novel; "RECALL: Return of the IRR". Anyone who has served in the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps Navy and Coast Guard will definitely enjoy both books. A walk down memory lane to jog your memories, rejuvenate your feelings of brotherhood for those with whom you served, and experienced all the "B_ _ _ S _ _ _", the "HURRY UP . . . and WAIT" of military life. One thing that came across loud and clear in Mr. DePew's "RECALL: Return of the IRR" is his pride in the United States of America, and his trust and love for the members of his unit(s). I must admit I was worried (probably as much as he was) that I would read of horrible experiences of war in Iraq. I was touched by the "Welcome Home" and parades given to those who answered the call to arms. Each of you deserved it. We did not have that coming home from the Viet Nam war.

Mr. DePew has written a novel that shines through with pride and respect. It gives his readers a very important lesson, that the young men and women who wear the uniforms of our Armed Forces can sleep well knowing our Constitution, our Bill of Rights and the freedoms we all take for granted are PROTECTED 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holidays included by the best, brightest equipped and trained military forces on this earth.

I salute you, Sir and thank you for your Service in both the United States Army and the United States Navy Reserves.
I am glad to know your life has turned out so well, your family can be very proud. You are a true PATRIOT.

One of my Sergeants, ART PARNELL is (was) from "The Ozarks in Missouri", as he would proudly say. I loved my travels through the 'Show Me' State, it is indeed, as Doug DePew says, 'Beautiful'!

Michael Phelps
Author Miami Shores, Florida

Recall! Return of the IRR

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nashville Songwriter's Association International

Anybody out there who's read my second book "Recall! Return of the IRR" knows how important music is to me. I came very close to getting into the industry at one point. That's a central theme to that book. Anyway, I've flirted with it ever since but always found a reason to put it off.

I'm finished putting it off! I got a life membership to NSAI today. It's an incredibly important organization to belong to if you want to break into songwriting in Nashville, and it's very helpful anywhere in the world. I took a trip to Nashville last weekend and decided I'm tired of waiting. I'm going to start developing my talents in music again.

That'll give me a great retirement hobby. I'll probably make another trip down to Nashville next month. I need to start networking again, and NSAI will give me a place and a way to do it.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of "Bloody Omaha: My Remembrances of That Day"

Bloody Omaha - My Remembrances of That Day by James Robert Copeland is different from most military memoirs. It isn't a harrowing account of back to back battles with non-stop action. It's just the story of one, regular guy from West Virginia. That regular guy happened to be a U.S. Army Ranger on the beaches of Normandy. We get to learn about Mr. Copeland's life from beginning to end in this book, and the war is really a pretty small part of the book. This is the story of an ordinary man taking part in extraordinary events. It is the story of America. I enjoyed it.
This book isn't written by a professional historian or writer. It's written by someone who knows J. R. Copeland. There's a bit of hero worship in it, and the writing could be better in places. That doesn't detract from the value of the story, though. In no place did it prevent me from following and enjoying the story.
"Bloody Omaha" is well worth the price I paid for it. I appreciate hearing Mr. Copeland's story. We've been losing thousands of these stories a week for years. Before long, there won't be anyone left to tell them. I was very pleased to see Mr. Copeland had the chance to tell his before it was too late. This isn't "Saving Private Ryan", but, then again, neither was the war for most people. It's a good book worth picking up. I say who cares if there's some hero worship in this book.
Men like Mr. Copeland deserve a bit of hero worship.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review of "Ty Cobb" by Charles C. Alexander

I think Ty Cobb by Charles Alexander is a must read for any fan of baseball. I've read other books about Cobb, but none compare to this one. Alexander presents us with a very balanced, fair view of Ty Cobb that I found quite interesting and well written.

This book is mostly recording Cobb's on the field accomplishments. It does talk about his personal life a bit, but it sticks mostly to baseball while he was still playing. I found some of Cobb's off the field antics quite interesting. I think there were some stories in this books that I hadn't read about in other Cobb biographies. Once Cobb is finally out of baseball, the last part of the books deals with his personal life in a more in-depth fashion. It also gets into his business life a bit. All of it is informative and interesting.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Ty Cobb was a fascinating character. He was an extremely complex person psychologically. This book is a must read for anyone that calls themselves a fan of baseball.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"SAT & BAF!" won Second Place!!

I'm happy to announce that "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat" got second place in Reader Views Literary Awards (History/Science Category) for 2011!!

I haven't stopped smiling for days. Here's the complete list of winners for this year's contest.
Reader Views Literary Awards 2011 Winners

It's entered in several other contests that should be announcing finalists and winners over the next couple months. If nothing else, "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat" won in this one. Thanks to everybody for your support. It's been a great week.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reader's View Literary Awards

I just got word that my book "SAT & BAF! Memories of a Tower Rat" has made it as a finalist in the 2011 Reader's Views Literary Awards!! It made it under History/Science. The winners should be announced in the next few days. I'm so excited. I entered several contests, but this is the first one where I've done anything. This is exciting!! Wish me luck.
Reader's Views Literary Awards 2011 List of Finalists

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review of "Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth" by Bruce Paley

Bruce Paley has written a great piece of Ripper literature. "Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth" is meticulously researched, well written, and quite entertaining. It paints a picture of Whitechapel and East London that made it quite real to me. He lays out a convincing case against Joe Barnett. Paley's thesis was quite original when he first introduced it. There is very little actual evidence against Barnett, but Paley uses modern methodology to point right at the person who would be one of the first suspects today. The boyfriend of one of the victims.

The Kindle version does have some formatting problems, but I didn't find any that interfered with the flow of the book. I'm reviewing the book, and I found it very well done. It's well worth a read to anyone interested in Ripperology, Victorian London, true crime, or serial killers. I liked this book very much and could barely put it down. I can't say if this is the best Ripper book out there, but I can say that I enjoyed it a lot.

I also found the meticulous endnotes and research very useful for further study.
Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review of " American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing" by Lou Michel

I think "American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh & the Oklahoma City Bombing" by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck is an important book for Americans to read. It is very unbiased and straight-forward, and it helps explain just what happened to lead to the greatest domestic terrorism incident in our history. I think it will help the nation heal. As others have stated, it won't leave you with a feeling that McVeigh was a psychopath. That's the most disturbing part of the the entire book. He wasn't.

The book follows McVeigh's life all the way from his birth and innocuous childhood, through his military career, and to the fateful day when he placed a truck bomb outside the Oklahoma City Federal Building and murdered hundreds of people. It's an interesting journey. Following a regular guy who went way off the tracks and did such a horrible thing from beginning to finish is...sobering. I found the information about how he planned the bomb with Nichols the most interesting. It's hard to believe a regular guy could sit in his friend's house and plan it that way, but it makes sense.

I've recommended this book to friends, and they often recoil. "I don't want to read about that freak." I think people should read about that "freak" because there's no other way to begin the healing. Knowing what happened is the first step.

This book was constructed through interviews with McVeigh on death row and interviews with many other people involved who knew McVeigh. It's probably as close as we'll ever get to understanding what caused him to do what he did. It is well written. Although it will make you cringe and recoil at points because of the drastic nature of the events, I think it's an important book.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review of: "Pride: The Charley Pride Story" by Charley Pride with Jim Henderson

I love country music and music in general. Charley Pride's story moved me deeply. This memoir follows him from a sharecropper's son in the Mississippi Delta to the life of a professional baseball player to the Army to the mines of Montana to country-music superstardom. It's a great overview of a life that's been purely American. Through it all, he stayed the same, old Charley Pride. He tells his story with an honesty and humility that is refreshing. He tells it like it is.

This book touches on many elements of Pride's story that I hadn't heard much about. His life in minor-league and negro league baseball was quite interesting to me as a fan of the game. It discusses the racial tensions he faced as the first, black man to break into country music. It covers his struggles with alcohol and depression. It tells of his family and the difficult relationship with his father. I found this book to be deeply touching. It's a story that deserves to be read. Charley Pride sings country music because Charley Pride is country music. If ever there was a person that was meant to sing country music, it was Charley Pride. This memoir will go on my shelf right next to Charlie's old friends, Waylon and George Jones.         
Pride: The Charley Pride Story

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review of "Enemies and Playmates" by Darcia Helle

I've read two or three of Darcia Helle's other novels and also several short stories by her. I've enjoyed every one. "Enemies and Playmates" is no exception. The characters are very well crafted. I was particularly impressed with the way the writer uses such things as clothing and snippets of lyrics to give more depth. I identified with one of the lead characters, Jesse, very much. Nearly every character has depth, and I enjoyed getting to know them. The mental struggles of nearly every major character are quite evident, and there were a several interesting twists.

This is an interesting story with a fast-moving plot. It is a dark story, but I felt resolution with the ending. It's a very well written book, and I recommend it a lot. I'd also recommend reading beyond the end of the story to a short explanation of how song lyrics helped craft of of the characters. I found it to be an interesting glimpse into the writing process. This one is worth reading!Enemies and Playmates

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review of "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye" by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair

I've struggled for months with what appeared to be a mid-life crisis. In researching how to get through it, I tracked the source down to delayed grief. I lost my brother in 1995 and my dad in 2000 in very similar auto accidents. I don't think I ever grieved them properly and it surfaced in my forties. This book is one of the ones I found to address my particular situation.

This is a well written guidebook to carry anyone through the experience of losing a close loved one suddenly. It contains sections dealing with specific losses such as: a spouse or partner, a sibling, suicide, mass death (such as terrorism), fallen heroes, and others. Each section is thoughtful and helpful. It also has a wonderful portion of the book carrying the reader step by step through the immediate aftermath of sudden death. The back couple chapters are dealing with additional resources and activities to help with grief work.

The authors of this book have both dealt with sudden death themselves. Part of what I found most useful was reading the sections they wrote about their personal situations. I'm still working on the back exercises. I think that will take a while. I wish I'd had this book in 1995 when I lost my brother. Even though my grief was delayed by decades, I am still finding it helpful. Grief is a very individual experience that nobody except the person inside your head will ever understand. These authors have written a resource to help you find your way through that deep, dark forest into the light again. I recommend it to anyone who's experienced a sudden death. I'll keep my copy when I'm finished to hand on to the first person I know who needs it. It helps.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of "Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat" by Robert Peter Thompson

In "Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat", Robert Peter Thompson has given us a glimpse of what the war looked like through his eyes. It is very authentic. This book reads much like sitting and hearing Mr. Thompson tell his story. The stream of consciousness style lends itself well to the confusion of war. His conversational writing is pleasant. It's like sitting in a bar and listening to an old friend relate his memories. At times, I became a little lost but I'd keep reading. Then I'd say to myself,"That was well done!" I especially liked the little updates at end of some of the chapters.

I enjoyed this book. It's good to find more Vietnam veterans telling their personal stories. Our history is made up of millions of regular people. Real history isn't made by famous generals and presidents. It's made of regular people like Mr. Thompson. Too often, nobody knows about it except the people who were next to them. This book very clearly shows the struggles to mentally survive the war. I'm sure it was cathartic for Mr. Thompson to tell us his story. I thank him for sharing it with all of us.
Everything Happened in Vietnam: The Year of the Rat

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ForeWord Book of the Year Awards

"SAT & BAF!" is now entered in the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. This is the last contest I had planned, and it's another big deal award. It's done by ForeWord Reviews Magazine through the American Library Association. Wish me luck!!
ForeWord Book of the Year