Category: NON FICTION



Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home View a preview of this book online

Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home

by David Philipps

 

 

I have decided I need to start this review by saying upfront that I have never supported the involvement of Americans and Canadian military in the war in Iraq. I am proudly Canadian, and while I do not support the war, I do support our men and women who have taken part in the war. I believe these people join the military to support their country and that is why I support them. And I feel the same about the American military personnel. That being said, I will also say that I was in two minds about reading and reviewing this book. I didn’t particularly want to read about the war in Iraq, but I did want to see what the author had to say about PTSD.

 
My papa was a boy in Finland in World War II. He and his family hid in the hills when the German army came through, and then again a few long years later, when the Russians came through chasing the remaining Germans back. He only spoke of it infrequently and usually only after something had caused him to be reminded of that time, some sound, some sight or some smell that would cause him to think back. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about the things he saw as a young boy, things he could do nothing about. Even writing this short amount brings to mind the look he would have on his face. That is actually why I decided to read this book, his look. I know that he suffered mental trauma because of what he went through, and I know that to deal with it, he drank. I believe that he suffered from PTSD and that is why i decided to read this.

 
David Philipps takes us on a journey through the lives of several young men who volunteered to serve their country and served in the American Army. They served their country, were given several weeks, sometimes months of training in weaponry, tactics, fighting, shooting and physical endurance and then were returned to their own country broken, sad, struggling to cope in the aftermath of all they had witnessed and been involved in. With most receiving little to no help with their mental issues (I hate how that sounds, but I’m not sure how else to word it), they were sent home to their families and friends different people than when they had started in the military.

 
Some coped well and returned to mainstream living with little or no discernible changes. Others suffered from insomnia, nightmares and other troubles that they were helped with and then returned to living with some help and were able to barely cope. Still others returned, denying to themselves and others, that they were suffering from any problems and then couldn’t cope. They received no help and ended up in jail, charged with various crimes including murder, rape and assault. And still, these people who had served their country, were denied help.

 
PTSD has been known by a variety of names including combat fatigue, and has existed as long as man has warred. It is a difficult disease to diagnose and treat, made harder by the stigma attached to mental illness and the don’t ask, don’t tell approach that is still seen today.

 
The author does not excuse what these men did, but he does try to help explain the WHY. And also what the government, the military and the people themselves need to do to change the system and to get help for people suffering from PTSD.

 
This book is not for the faint of heart, it goes through all the harrowing details of what these young men went through while they were serving in the army and the crimes they did when they returned home. It goes a long way to showing how PTSD changes lives and what can be done to combat PTSD in our military and in civilians as well.

 
A very well researched, well written book. It gives an objective look at the trauma war causes to our troops and what can be done to help them heal from their experiences.
The copy I have has an updated forward written in January 2012. It has a quote by journalist Tom Ricks that to me sums up the Iraqi War…’The Vietnam Memorial is a gash in the ground, like a grave, I think ideally, the Iraqi War memorial probably would ideally be a dead end.’

 
I received my copy of Lethal Warriors through LibraryThing and my review was unsolicited.

Advertisements

downTown USA

downTown USA  by  Susan Madden Lankford

 

 

This book intrigued me from the start. My husband and middle son are both amateur photographers, so I knew a little about Susan Madden Lankford. Her first book in this trilogy Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes: Women Doing Time, was a powerful visual commentary on women prisoners. I was looking forward to Downtown U.S.A. as I wanted to see what her vision would be for the homeless.

 

 
The cover of Downtown U.S.A. helps set the stage for our journey through the lives of some of America‘s homeless. We start with the eyes, the windows of our souls. These eyes are just arresting, beautiful, intoxicating and at the same time frightening, scary, creepy. The eyes compelled me to open the book, I wanted more!

 

 
As I slowly made my way through this book, the combination of powerful photos and poignant stories, saddened and yet, at the same time, lifted me. I felt for each of the people photographed, the surly, the happy, the crazy, the addicted. But it wasn’t just sadness, or pity there was also amusement, joy and the biggest feeling of all, respect. Respect for these people and how they’ve coped, how they’ve shared their stories, how even with everything that life has thrown at them, they can still carry on. And respect for Susan Madden Lankford for making this beautiful book that shows how quickly life can change, and how people can survive those changes.

 

 
Filled with interviews of people such as Micheal, Papa and Mrs.Walton and filled with incredible photos, observations, and stories by Susan, this wonderfully visual and written commentary on the homeless is a must read/view! If you are a photographer, you really must view this book!


The Ultimate Mr. Cool, Leonard Cohen is back doing another world tour. Singer, songwriter, artist and poet, he is extremely multi-talented.  I grew up listening to his music as my mom was a big fan of his. My friends got a kick out of it, calling it old-fashioned among other things. Imagine my surprise, but even more the surprise of my friends, when the movie starring Mel Gibson and Gloria Hawn, Bird on a Wire came out, and Leonard Cohen did the song of that movie. Suddenly my friends thought he was great!. They wanted to listen to all his older stuff, which I loved.

 

 

A few weeks ago I was at a Salvation Army thrift store looking for older, out of print and first edition books. I never really thought much of Leonard Cohen being an author and artist til I came across Book of Longing.

 

 

Even more surprising to me was when I opened the book and found this inscription. I was curious to find out if it was genuine and began to sleuth. I contacted friends, who contacted friends, who contacted…well you get the picture. I was finally introduced to a young man who is a personal acquaintance of Mr. Cohen and he had it authenticated. In Toronto, at a book store there, Mr. Cohen had signed several copies of the Book of Longing that had been preordered. This turns out to be one of those books. I was tickled!

The Book of Longing includes many of Leonard Cohen’s poems and drawings. They really show how multi-talented this man is. A great book.

 

Finding little gems like this makes it even more fun to go to thrift stores and used book stores. You just never know what you are going to find

 

 

ONE OF MY LETTERS

I corresponded with a famous rabbi

but teacher caught sight of one of my letters     

and silenced me.

“Dear Rabbi,” I wrote him for the last time,

“I do not have the authority or understanding

to speak of these matters.

I was just showing off.

Please forgive me.

Your Jewish brother,

                                                                       Jikan Eliezer

Please forgive me

Your Jewish brother,

Jikan Elizar.


Dutch Schultz, the beer baron of New York  by  Nate Hendley

Nate Hendley’s biography of the violent life and death of Dutch Schultz, a New York mobster who rose to be a top boss mobster during the Prohibition era.

 
Dutch Schultz, born Arthur Flegenheimer, was born in Manhattan in 1902.  At 14, his father abandoned the family, which made Arthur very bitter. He dropped out of school and took wholeheartedly to a life of crime.  At age 19, Arthur’s gang member friends gave him the nickname of Dutch Schultz, sometimes shortened to the Dutchman.  In his 2o’s Dutch’s business interests included speakeasies, bootlegging, protection rackets and number rackets. He was also suspected of murdering or ordering the murders of several people. By age 32 he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. A year later, Dutch Schultz was dead in what became known as the Chop House Massacre.

 
At 122 pages, this true crime story is a short, to the point history of Dutch Schultz. This book includes photographs, the transcript of Dutch’s “death prattle”, a bibliography and internet resources. This would be a great book for a teenager who has to do a book report, for a classroom to learn about the Prohibition era or for anyone who would like an introduction into the beginnings of organized crime in New York

Visit the author’s website at http://natehendley.com/


A Short History of the World  by  Christopher Lascelles 

A Short History of the World is a very well written account of world history from the start of the planet (the Big Band theory) to the events of the 20th century and ending with what we can expect from the near future in terms of our natural resources and the world’s population.

 
The book flows easily and clearly through all phases of world history.  It gives short, concise details and moves on to the next chapter. This is a history book that anyone, whether you’re a history buff or someone just wanting  a general overview, will enjoy reading.

 
Included in the book are 33 maps which show the changing world and an easy to read and follow timeline which shows the changing continents, religions, key events and key people.

 
This would be a great starting book for students, teachers and anyone with little knowledge of the world’s history.


Midnight in Peking   by  Paul French 

 
Midnight in Peking is  Paul French’s account of the brutal murder of Pamela Werner.  In 1937 Peking was still reeling from the ongoing turmoil caused by the Japanese invaders in the north of China and the many warlords who had come and gone in the preceding years. Pamela failed to return home one evening and her badly mutilated body was found the following morning. British Detective Chief Inspector Richard Dennis was sent from Tientsin to assist Chinese Colonel Han Shih-ching in finding the perpetrator.

 
From the customs and superstitions of the Chinese people to the foreigners located in what was known as the Legation Quarter, the history of this time in Peking is brought to life. As the investigation into the murder of the young white girl unfolds we learn more about underground culture and lifestyle that was present at that time as well.

 
This was a fascinating read. It drew me in from the opening pages straight through to the surprising end. That era is amazingly brought to life with the colorful descriptions offered. It reads more as a modern day mystery/thriller than a rehash of a decades old unsolved murder.

%d bloggers like this: