The Final Mission of Extortion 17: Special Ops, Helicopter Support, SEAL Team Six, and the Deadliest Day of the U.S. War in Afghanistan
by Ed Darack
Published by Smithsonian Books
Rating: ❶❷❸❹❺ 5 of 5 stars
The author presents glimpses into the background, training, and motivation of some of those on the final mission. This really drew me into the book and made me want to keep reading.
The book covers not only the final mission of Extortion 17, but also some of the lead-up to the mission. The author explains the many military acronyms in a straightforward way that helped me grasp their importance to the narrative, if not their full importance in the wider military setting.
A list of abbreviations and acronyms is provided.
Photos and maps accompany the chapters.
The Sources section briefly describes how the information for each chapter was obtained.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in military aviation, recent history, and modern military.
I was provided with an uncorrected proof of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Smithsonian Books.
Far Away by Victoria Blake
Troubador Publishing Ltd / Matador
Genre: History, Fiction
Rating: * * *
Two soldiers captured in Africa in WWII meet in an Italian prison camp. Along the homeward journey, they write journals: one a memoir, the other a fairy tale. Interspersed with the soldiers’ story is the story of the soldiers’ grown children years later, unraveling the war experience they didn’t hear firsthand from their parents.
What I like about this story: I knew next to nothing about Italy or the Italians during WWII, and this book filled in some details.
Thank you to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Norwegian by Night By Derek B. Miller
(c) 2012. First US edition 2013
Rating: * * * * *
Norwegian by Night is full of unexpected little gems like a magic dust bunny carefully transported in a hobo pack.
A grumpy old man living in an unfamiliar world rescues a traumatized little boy from his mother’s abuser. Meanwhile, we ponder. What is dementia, and who decides if someone has it? What and who are family? If we talk to someone who isn’t standing beside us, does that mean he isn’t there?
Is this an adventure story? An account of an existence heavily defined by being Jewish? A tale about relationships and our expectations of others? A commentary on the after-effects of war? A treatise on aging? A sweet story of caring for a child one has just met? Yes.
I can’t say what drew me to this book. Not the cover picture, although that has a charm all its own. Suffice it to say that the books I find hardest to explain are the ones I most enjoy.
If you like this book, you may also enjoy The Last Ferryman by Gregory Randle.
On Two Fronts by Sgt. Adam Fenner and Lance Taubold
Copyright 2013 by 13Thirty Books
Rating: * * *
Sgt. Adam Fenner, deployed as a medic to Afghanistan with the Nevada National Guard, and his friend at home, Lance Taubold, write about their separate experiences of the deployment. The book, written largely during the deployment, consists of each of them writing chapters in their own style and from their own perspective. The story concludes shortly after Adam’s return from Afghanistan.
I love the asides: notes from Adam included in a chapter by Lance, and vice versa. Often as simple as [Adam: Eye roll], the interactions make me chuckle. Lance’s splashy style contrasts with Adam’s pragmatism, making an interesting combination.
Lance is in patriotic, save-the-world mode from start to finish, as a way to support Adam. Adam is more matter-of-fact, only showing depth of emotion at one point, in the form of disillusionment following an explosion in a village thought to be friendly. Adam’s chapters convey mind-numbing boredom interspersed with fierce activity, which he indicates is usual for deployments. He speaks in broad terms about friendship and love, but rarely displays the emotion with which Lance’s chapters vibrate. Lance deals more directly with the fears and feelings of separation experienced by those at home, the things Adam downplays or puts out of mind in order to focus on the here and now in a combat zone.
I struggle with the timeline in the book, sometimes unable to determine what is present day and what is being recounted from earlier. All in all, an interesting read.
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan
Rating: * * * *
A novel in letters between two women whose husbands are off at war during the 1940s. Nostalgic, sentimental, sometimes funny, this is a celebration of women who uphold each other, scold and keep each other in line, laugh and cry together, and form a firm bond despite having never met each other in person.
The Desert Here and The Desert Far Away by Marcus Sakey
(alternately titled The Desert here and the Desert There)
A short story in the collection Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down, edited by Clive Cussler
Rating: * * * * *
When his military buddy Cooper calls on him for help, Nick doesn’t hesitate. Now stateside, the bond that was forged in Iraq still holds strong. Nick learns that Cooper’s troubles are far larger than he implied, and more dangerous, causing Nick to have flashbacks to their time in Iraq. The story explores war through its toll on soldiers and through the bonds they form. Perhaps because the story is short, its punch is concentrated. If you like this story, you might also like the 2007 movie In the Valley of Elah.