ON Point Book Reviewshttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/default.aspxen-USCommunityServer 2.0 (Debug Build: 60217.2664)The First Marine Captured in Vietnamhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/10/25/7516.aspxThu, 25 Oct 2007 18:44:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:7516ON Point0http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/7516.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=7516<P><IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/7514/200x300.aspx" border=0></P> <P>By Donald L. Price</P> <P>McFarland &amp; Co., 2007, <BR><A href="http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/">www.mcfarlandpub.com</A>, $ 35.00<BR>ISBN # 978-7864-2804-5</P> <P>Reviewed by Andrew Lubin</P> <P>Long before the names and battles of Khe Sanh, Hue City, and Firebase Gloria were seared into America’s consciousness, there were Marines and soldiers fighting, dying – and being captured - in Vietnam.</P> <P>First-time author Donald Price’s brings back the terror and heartache of these times. Price’s thoroughly-researched biography of Marine Col. Donald Cook blends the story of Cook’s wounding and capture in December 1964 through his December 1967 death with interviews from several of the POW’s imprisoned with him as well as the equally courageous story of his wife Laurette and her four small children.</P> <P>An advisor to the South Vietnamese Marines, Capt Cook was the first Marine captured by the Viet Cong. Unlike the American aviators shot down over North Vietnam and interned at the infamous Hanoi Hilton, Marines and soldiers captured in the south were normally locked inside small bamboo cages in small camps throughout the Mekong Delta. As opposed to the systematic and calculated isolated torture of Sen John McCain, Adm Jerimiah Denton, and others, life in the south consisted of slow starvation, disease, and simply trying to survive in an extremely harsh environment.</P> <P>Author Price – himself a highly decorated Marine officer from the Vietnam era – details the abject misery endured by Cook and his fellow captives. Given only starvation rations by disinterested guards who also withheld the few medicines to which they might have access, often made dying easier than attempting to survive another day. But drawing on his strength as a Roman Catholic and a Marine officer, Cook took charge of the other POW’s in the camp, and did his best to give them the hope to stay alive.</P> <P>Through his three years of captivity, his family received only one letter from him. Her major source of comfort came from the Marine Corps, as then-commandant Gen Wallace Greene, Jr. contacted her personally and ensured she and her children were cared for to the best of the Marine Corps ability – indeed, they continued to receive the benefits commensurate with her husband’s rank, as he was promoted twice ‘in absentia.”</P> <P>Col Donald Cook is the only Marine ever to receive the Medal of Honor while being held prisoner of war, and Col Donald Price has written a story of honor – courage – commitment that encompasses the entire Cook family. Highly recommended!</P><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=7516" width="1" height="1">AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service – and How it Hurts Our Countryhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/10/18/7005.aspxThu, 18 Oct 2007 15:13:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:7005ON Point4http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/7005.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=7005<P><IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/6830/254x375.aspx" border=0></P> <P>By Kathy Roth- Douquet and Frank Schaeffer<BR>Harper Collins, 2006<BR>ISBN # 978-0-06-088859-6</P> <P>Reviewed by Andrew Lubin and J.C. Rawley</P> <P>Anyone who disputes the premise of this book, that there is a great value to national service (be it military or civilian), need only to look at the genesis of the war in Iraq to understand what the authors are saying.</P> <P>Of the major promoters of the war in Iraq; Cheney, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Feith...none served in the military. Only 17 of 535 Senators and Congressmen have a son in the military. The rah-rah gunslingers at FOX News - O'Reilly, Hannity, Geraldo - not only did they not serve, but neither have any of their children. It's remarkably easy to promote sending someone else's son to fight and die, when they have no family of their own at risk.</P> <P>This book acknowledges these contradictions, discusses why national service has become so “untrendy,” and suggests reasons why patriotism and service to the country need to be pursued.</P> <P>Neither author has military experience. Mrs Roth-Douquet, married to a career Marine Corps officer, served in both the Clinton White House and Dept of Defense, while Mr. Schaeffer is a Boston-based writer, and father of a former Marine - and as they state early on- neither had ever considered joining the military as either a career or as an obligation of citizenship. But now They now understand what they’ve missed.</P> <P>Through extensive yet interesting vignettes, research, and footnotes, the authors trace the history of the draft and national service from the days of the Founding Fathers through 9/11. The authors make the excellent point that those who do not sweat and fight for their country tend to take it less seriously, and equally, take more for granted that someone else should do the heavy lifting. National service can be either military or civilian: Peace Corps, AmeriCorps; The Marine Corps – just do it!</P> <P>The military today is no longer the refuge of those delinquents who chose between the army and a jail term. It's a hi-tech, hi-stress career with better pay and career opportunities than back in the Vietnam - post Vietnam era. It's a career well worth considering - except it's not considered sufficiently "trendy" by today's media and financial elites.</P> <P>But perhaps in these days of virtually instantaneous Wall-Street wealth, the concept of Honor-Courage-Commitment is considered old fashioned and out-of date. Too bad, as American citizens as diverse as George Bush Sr., George McGovern, John Kennedy, Al Gore, and John McCain all could not volunteer fast enough to serve this country; certainly a concept of honesty and commitment that is sorely lacking in these same media and Wall Street elites who have rarely broken a good sweat.</P> <P>With a recommendation from Sen. John McCain, this book is not likely to be read by the white wine and brie cheese crowd, which is exactly the audience to whom the book is directed. Highly Recommended - this is a book well worth reading.</P><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=7005" width="1" height="1">Book Review: &quot;The Highway War&quot;http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/08/02/5139.aspxThu, 02 Aug 2007 14:13:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:5139ON Point0http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/5139.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=5139<P><IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/5138/original.aspx" align=center border=0></P> <P>The Highway War<BR>Maj Seth Folsom, USMC<BR>Potomac Books, 2006, $ 29.95<BR>ISBN # 1-57488-988-5</P> <P>Years ago Marine artist Col Charles Waterhouse drew a cartoon of a grizzled Marine Gunny, complete with cigar, pulling on a Santa outfit as he prepares to entertain young children, as compared to his normal demeanor of an intimidating&nbsp; Gunny. Maj Seth Folsom’s book details a similar transformation, as he grows from a nervous young officer facing his first combat to that of a skilled and articulate officer and husband.</P> <P>A Captain at the time, Folsom is a blunt and honest writer who discusses his fears and concerns of what he is about to encounter in Iraq. The likely-hood is that many Marines and soldiers, both officers and enlisted, can identify with his worry of how he will fare in his first combat: Can he hack it? How well will he perform? Will he make any mistakes that might cost the lives of his Marines? The difference between them and Folsom is his frankness in discussing these concerns. </P> <P>Folsom uses the story of his role as company commander to tell the story of Delta Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion as they participated in the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. From breaching the berms into Iraq, to watching and waiting as his fellow Marines fought at An-Nasiriyah, to the fighting on the way to Baghdad and beyond, Folsom pulls no punches and spares no feelings in his descriptions of leading 130 Marines into combat. The invasion in March 2003 was the beginning of an unusual war against a non-traditional enemy, and Folsom has to find his balance as an officer when dealing with both his superiors and the Marines under him while learning how to lead Marines in combat. Sand, stink, rain, lack of sanitation, fatigue, grime, and nerves are just some of issues with which he dealt even before he and his men even encountered the enemy. Folsom covers the military actions from 21 March 2003 through the April 2003 capture of Baghdad, and he accurately recounts the stress, excitement, and confusion of those historic days.</P> <P>With the book written from the notes and recollection of his wartime journal, this is a fascinating memoir revealing are his feelings as he dealt with his Marines, and how he matured as an officer and as a human being. Many readers, especially his fellow officers will find much to critique in his rough and abrasive leadership style, and his dislike of the media is at odds with Marine Corps policy. But it is Folsom’s same bluntness that lets him write so revealingly – and perhaps these same readers can use his vignettes as an ‘after-action report’ in order to guide themselves in similar circumstances.</P> <P>In perhaps a reflection of the asymmetrical nature of this war, Folsom recounts participating in briefings with the generals and colonels leading the invasion, and later singing with his men as they blast rock &amp; roll music at rock concert levels. Perhaps one unexpected bonus of war in the wired age is that we readers can share in our warrior’s thoughts and experiences while they are still fresh, and as such, Maj Folsom’s book is both an exciting read and highly recommended.<BR></P><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=5139" width="1" height="1">Book Review: &quot;The Sling &amp; The Stone&quot;http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/07/16/4842.aspxMon, 16 Jul 2007 18:28:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:4842ON Point0http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/4842.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4842<P><IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/4841/original.aspx" border=0></P> <P>The Sling and The Stone: On Warfare in the 21st Century<BR>By Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, USMC<BR>Zenith Press, 2004<BR>ISBN # 0-7603-2059-4</P> <P>Reviewed by JC Rawley</P> <P>Col. T.X. Hammes has written an excellent book on the topic of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) in an effort not only to explain how the United States lost Vietnam but also at how the US Military establishment is seeking the wrong tools and using the wrong strategy with which to fight future wars.</P> <P>Hammes explains how warfare has progressed and evolved in the years since the creation of the nation-state in Europe. First Generation Warfare involved relatively small professional armies fighting in set piece battles. Napoleon expanded on this to create Second Generation Warfare involving hundreds of thousands of soldiers now fighting with the weight of a country’s infrastructure behind it. </P> <P>This Second generation lasted the 100 years from Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo to the First World War when technology and tactics led the development of the Third Generation Warfare where the enemy’s means of production became as important to destroy as his soldiers in the field. This was perfected in World War II when civilians were actively targeted to defeat the enemy.</P> <P>But the latest is Fourth Generation Warfare that Hammes credits Mao Tse-Tung with perfecting. Put simply it is:</P> <P>When the enemy advances, we withdraw<BR>When the enemy rests, we harass<BR>When the enemy tires, we attack<BR>When the enemy withdraws, we pursue</P> <P>Mao claimed that this is the way to fight a superior military force; that it could be defeated by destroying it’s will and motivation to fight far more easily than by fighting fixed battles. This is how the United States who never lost a battle in Vietnam lost the war. </P> <P>Why is this important today? Because Hammes argues the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq are attempting to fight a set-piece Third Generation War against a force that refuses to follow a game plan practiced in 1945 and perfected at West Point. Additionally, Hammes says that the Pentagon has put too much effort into so-called “cyber warfare” and high-tech weapons and systems that are useless in fighting an insurgency, and that this mind-set reduces the key element Hammes concludes is necessary for a victory: Flexibility.</P> <P>Just as generals between Napoleon and WW1 were faced with incredible technological and societal change they preferred to ignore, Hammes argues that our current military is doing the same; they are seeking to ignore the lessons of Vietnam and every other successful insurgency and instead concentrating on fighting the war for which they’re already prepared.</P> <P>Hammes also includes not only Mao’s use of 4GW in his defeat of the Nationalist Chinese Forces but the “Vietnamese Modification” of 4GW and the “Sandinista Refinement” and the Palestinians’ Intifada and explores the latter in its two distinct phases and outcomes. From there he looks to Afghanistan and Iraq and the future. These are all cogently presented and well written chapters. He also argues that our military, in seeking to re-fight World War Two, is looking to a China or other country to provide that enemy that will allow it to employ all the sophisticated&nbsp; high-tech weapons which is has amassed for fighting.</P> <P>A concern historically about this otherwise excellent book is the focus on Mao as the father of 4GW because guerilla warfare has been practiced for many thousands of years. The Jewish Revolt against the Romans in 66AD was 4GW as was the German destruction of Quinctilius Varus and his three legions in 9AD. But warfare is too often conducted between large and small forces, and the small forces tend to “adapt and overcome” far quicker and easier than the large forces.</P> <P>This is a book that needs to be read by all concerned about the future of the American military as it faces more conflict in the 21st century.</P> <P>&nbsp;</P><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4842" width="1" height="1">Book Review: &quot;Mission Al-Jazeera&quot;http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/07/10/4725.aspxTue, 10 Jul 2007 17:33:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:4725ON Point6http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/4725.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4725<P> <IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/4722/original.aspx" border=0> <P></P> <P>Josh Rushing<BR>Palgrave MacMillan, 2007<BR>ISBN # 13-978-1-4039-7905-6</P> <P>By Andrew Lubin<BR>With America losing the information and public relations war around the world today, “Mission al-Jazeera” is a fascinating and timely book that should be required reading by the many Administration Public Affairs and press secretary’s.</P> <P>Author Josh Rushing first came to the public’s attention in the award-winning documentary “Control Room.”&nbsp; He was the young Marine Lieutenant Public Affairs Officer dealing with upstart Arabic television station Al-Jazeera in early days of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.&nbsp; Using these exciting days&nbsp; at Centcom’s headquarters in Qatar, Rushing’s book has two main themes interwoven throughout the story.</P> <P>The first theme is how important it is to use media properly in order to influence international public opinion; or at least to fight the international media war to a draw.</P> <P>Assigned as the Al-Jazeera liaison because all his senior officers preferred to deal with the western heavyweights like ABC, NBC, and the BBC, Rushing was notable for his even-handed views of the war, and his foresight in realizing that positive and honest media relations might be the key to “spreading the word” into the Arab world. Unfortunately the senior leadership did not share these same view and Rushing describes how&nbsp; Centcom’s lack of interest in dealing with the various Arab media organizations hurt the United State’s efforts to “sell the war” to the Arab world.&nbsp; He explains in detail how marginalizing Arab media only serves to diminish American influence in the Middle East. Western concepts of strength are too easily construed in the Arab world as humiliation, and that pictures of dead Iraqi soldiers can also viewed as pictures of dead relatives – which lead to still-occurring consequences. </P> <P>Author Rushing also begins to discuss the relationship between the military and the media.&nbsp; On a strategic level, both sides need each other; the military has a story to ‘sell’, and at the same time the media needs a story to ‘buy.” But it’s on the tactical level that Rushing begins to tell the story as he discusses the media’s infatuation with the military and how the Administration was able to use their softball-style of reporting to it’s best advantage.</P> <P>Finally, Rushing describes Al-Jazeera Television and it’s role in the world today. With offices in most major international cities, and distribution throughout most countries except the United States ( including such western bastions as England, Germany, and Israel ), Al-Jazeera English is part of a multi-media organization that includes a children’s channel, several sports channels, a documentary channel, and a C-SPAN-like channel that focuses on debates and current events. </P> <P>Written in an informal, yet informative style, Josh Rushing digs into his background of Texan, with 14 years in the Marine Corps, as he discusses covering a war from both the Arab and American point of view. Rushing has produced an invaluable book on the importance of dealing with international media, instead of just chatting with the TV folks from your hometown. <BR></P> <img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4725" width="1" height="1">Book Review: &quot;Here, Bullet&quot;http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/06/26/4497.aspxWed, 27 Jun 2007 03:52:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:4497ON Point0http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/4497.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4497<P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><IMG src="/photos/onpoint_blog_gallery/images/4496/200x306.aspx" border=0></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN></SPAN>&nbsp;</P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN></SPAN>&nbsp;</P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>Reviewed by Kate and Will Conway<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN>Here, Bullet</SPAN></I><SPAN>, a collection of poems written by Brian Turner, offers a raw, honest perspective of the Iraq War.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>Turner served in the US Army for seven years, and was an infantry team leader in Iraq for one year (2003-2004). Individually, each poem captures a moment stopped in time visually detailing a fragment of war.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>But collectively, they provide the reader with an opportunity to see the war through the eyes of a soldier.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>Although the descriptions can be violent and ghastly, Turner is not callous.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>He unites dying with living, horror with beauty, chaos with calm, restraint with freedom, and sacrifice with service.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>He facilitates reconciliation between these opposites.<SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>Each poem can be interpreted differently.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>Some are about the land and people of Iraq, others reflect upon battle experiences and some speak of returning home.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>From “Here, Bullet”:<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>“Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>that inexorable flight, that insane puncture<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>into heat and blood.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>And I dare you to finish<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>what you’ve started.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>Because here, Bullet,<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>here is where I complete the word you bring<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>hissing through the air,”<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>Like this work, most of the poems are straightforward, fast-paced and easily read.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>All but two were written in Iraq after missions in the evening under a red lens flashlight.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>Some of the names were changed, and Turner uses only the first names of the Iraqi translators for their protection.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>In “What Every Soldier Should Know”, each line gives information for daily survival in Iraq.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>He translates Arabic, explains where bombs can be hidden and tells how the enemy is not so easily defined.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>“Ferris Wheel” describes the search and rescue by Navy divers of a capsized boat filled with Americans and Iraqis.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>History books, Turner says, won’t tell the story of the American pilot involved in the search whose helicopter crashed in the Tigris River or how his friend swam to save him or where they both drowned.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>One of the longest poems, “2000 lbs,” details the brief moments before, during and after a bombing in Ashur Square in Mosul.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>As an eyewitness, Turner describes what the people at Ashur Square were doing and how the bombing affected all of those individuals present.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN>The last poem in the book, “To Sand,” reflects how everything in Iraq returns to the sand. Turner almost makes it feel like that is where everything should end up.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>He draws comparisons between bullets colliding into the sand, mortars landing into the sand, tracers burning out into the sand, pieces of buildings falling into the sand and the carnage of war falling into the sand.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>Eventually, everything gets absorbed and finds its final resting place in the sand and becomes part of the past.<SPAN>&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>Everything Turner has seen in Iraq seems to find peace in the sand.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN>Here, Bullet</SPAN></I><SPAN> is valuable for several reasons.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>It is an account of the Iraq War as witnessed by an individual soldier.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>Its construction and distribution as a literary work of art represents the freedom of our great nation.<SPAN>&nbsp; </SPAN>And it is a beautiful collection of poetry that should be read by anyone interested in a different viewpoint of the Iraq War.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN>The reviewers, Kate and Will Conway, are pen names for a young man who has enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program for the U.S. Marine Corps, and his very proud mother.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNoSpacing><I><SPAN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></I></P><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4497" width="1" height="1">Book Review: GATES of FIRE http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/06/11/4156.aspxMon, 11 Jun 2007 18:25:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:4156ON Point0http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/4156.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4156<P><FONT face=Arial size=2> <IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/4155/original.aspx" border=0></FONT> <P></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Steven Pressfield<BR>Doubleday, 1998<BR>ISBN # 0 385 49251 0</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Reviewed by Andrew Lubin</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>“Forget country. Forget king. Forget wife and children…act for this alone: for the man who stands on your shoulder. He is everything and everything is contained in him.”<BR>Dienekes</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>There are few books today that can be read, re-read, and read again, just for sheer pleasure, but Gates of Fire is at the top of that short list.</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Author Steven Pressfield takes on the challenge of making the familiar story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae interesting – and has come up with a book that is as challenging, brash, and courageous as the Spartans themselves.<BR>Written from the fictional viewpoint of the sole surviving Spartan warrior, Mr. Pressfield succeeds in making a period of ancient history seem timely and fresh, as well as making the reader care passionately for Xeo, the Spartan survivor of the battle.<BR>Writing in a spare, violent prose, Mr. Pressfield describes ancient Greece and, in particular, the Spartans and and their allies with a stunning clarity. While obviously this is a story of heroism,&nbsp; it is also a story of discipline, and loyalty to a state, to an idea, and more important, to the Spartans themselves. </FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Most readers without combat experience will be surprised that for a book as violent as this, it is also a story of profound caring. The scenes of the few surviving Spartans on the night of their final day of battle discussing the relative merits of their Persian opponents, and whether or not they would invite them to dinner, or the scene when Xeo explains to his Persian captors that “war is work, it is not mystery," makes one think immediately of professionalism of our young Marines training for their deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.<BR>A former Marine, Pressfield realized long before 9/11 that war was personal, and not hi-tech and antiseptic. While logistics and superior arms are of course necessary, but so is the will to use them, and in that, Pressfield succeeds brilliantly in relating the story of these Spartans. "What is the opposite of fear? How do I live? What is worth dying for?" These questions are the same questions quietly asked every day in Ramadi and Mahmudiyah, as they were back then in Thermopylae. The reader finds himself training with the Spartans; marching with the Spartans, and then you find yourself on a battlefield, where you wonder if you could fight with the courage and cheer of Xeo, Leonidas, and Dienekes<BR>Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie. <BR>Thus reads the only monument marking Thermopylae, the site of one of the world's greatest battles for freedom. Here, in 480 B.C., on a narrow mountain pass above the Aegean Sea, 300 Spartan warriors and their allies faced the massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia, who has assembled the largest army the world had ever seen. The Spartans themselves acknowledged their deaths and defeat even before they marched to Thermopylae, known as “The Hot Gates”,&nbsp; but Steven Pressfield makes their courageous defense--and final defeat-unbearably suspenseful. <BR>Does OnPoint recommend “Gates of Fire ?” Without question. In fact, buy two copies – one for you yo keep, and the other to give away. It’s that good.</FONT> </P> <P><BR>&nbsp;</P><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4156" width="1" height="1">Book Review: Charlie Battery; A Marine Artillery Battery in Iraqhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/05/18/3580.aspxFri, 18 May 2007 17:30:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:3580ON Point4http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/3580.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=3580<P><FONT size=5>Charlie Battery; A Marine Artillery Battery in Iraq<BR></FONT><FONT face=Arial size=2>Andrew Lubin<BR>Hellgate Press, $ 11.53<BR>ISBN # 155571-642-3</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2><U>A Marine’s Father’s Account of the Iraq War</U> </FONT></P> <P></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2> <IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/3578/original.aspx" width=195 align=center border=0></FONT> <P></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Author Andrew Lubin whose son was a Marine, writes a heartfelt view on war, patriotism, history, and most importantly, father-son relationships in his book “<STRONG>Charlie Battery: A Marine Artillery Unit in Iraq</STRONG>”.&nbsp; The title of the book does not give you the fullness of the story that lies within those pages. This book walks you through what it is like being a parent of a Marine in combat whose life is in great danger. The author does it without “going emotional” on you and yet you know that it has taken its toll on him. It is an understated style that feels very much like a Marine family way to handle things. <BR></P></FONT> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Lubin’s story of his son Phil and his son’s unit “Charlie Battery” is not just about them but has more universal appeal to all military families and most especially Marine ones. Anyone who has ever sent a son or daughter off to a war will be able to identify with this book; I know I did, I re-lived the emotions of my son going off to Desert Storm as I read this book There are parts of this book that were gut wrenching from a parent’s point of memory. It is so surreal watching the war on TV knowing that your own son is over there someplace. In Lubin’s situation, he actually is able to see a news report on Charlie Company in the battle for An-Nasiriyah in the middle of the night. For any parent that would make sleeping that much harder to do after that. It is that not knowing element that makes being a parent so difficult. Is your son safe? Is he hurt? God forbid, but could he get killed? </FONT></P><FONT face=Arial size=2> <P><BR>This book takes the reader though the whole build up and the shipping out process. We are able to be there with the father and son as they spend the past few hours together before he ships out to Iraq. We follow along with the few emails and phone calls but mostly very late and old news via letters. The author weaves into his personal story lots of USMC history and tradition. He also wrote about all the men of the unit and does not just focus on his son. He even adds some great quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The personal black and white photos tell another story that only photos can do. </P> <P> <HR> <DIV align=center><A href="http://survey.uscav.com/TakeSurvey.asp?SurveyID=142" target=_new><IMG height=200 src="http://www.uscavonpoint.com/onpointban.jpg" width=300 border=0></A></DIV> <HR> <BR> <P>I think there are several key emotional parts to this book that hit me. One of them was the playing of Amazing Grace on bagpipes by one of the Marines in their base camp before the invasion.&nbsp; Lubin recaps one of the chaplains playing the ‘pipes the night before the invasion and how it affected the troops.. That song is powerful stuff and Lubin’s account helps the reader&nbsp; visualize the young Marines listening, and thinking about God, their families, and the up coming battles. Another emotionally strong part of the book is the actual battle of An-Nasiriyah and all that the unit experiences. The background details about that prolonged engagement has some real teeth.&nbsp; I gained a new perceptive on that battle even though I have read dozens of accounts of that same battle.<BR></P> <P>It is great writing in all aspects of good story telling. It is both informative and entertaining as well. The coming home and even his carefully managed remarks at the end of the book about the politics of this continuing war all contribute to give this book much more depth and feeling then any history book on this war. He makes it very personal at times; and yet the book is expansive and inclusive for all military families. It is a book that you should read even if you think you understand and know all you want to know about this current war over there. It will give you a better understanding of the human element and what makes Marines special. <BR>This book gets <STRONG>FIVE STARS</STRONG> – and my personal recommendation. This is a must read for all military families who have a son, daughter, husband, brother, sister or wife in any war zone. If you are a Marine family there is absolutely no excuse for not adding this to your personal library. The book is THAT GOOD!&nbsp; </FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2><BR><EM>Bill McDonald<BR>MILITARY WRITERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA<BR></EM></P></FONT><BR> <BR>&nbsp;<img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=3580" width="1" height="1">Book Review: The Afghan Campaignhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/archive/2007/05/18/3579.aspxFri, 18 May 2007 17:22:00 GMT899d85c8-63ec-432e-a4a1-f1a0bb719f98:3579ON Point7http://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/comments/3579.aspxhttp://uscavonpoint.com/blogs/bookreview/commentrss.aspx?PostID=3579<P><FONT face=Arial size=2><FONT size=5>The Afghan Campaign</FONT></FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>By Steven Pressfield<BR>Doubleday, 2006<BR>ISBN #&nbsp; 0-385-51641-X<BR>320 pages, $ 11.20</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>Review by : Andrew Lubin</FONT></P> <P> <IMG src="/photos/onpoint_article_gallery/images/3577/original.aspx" width=196 align=center border=0> <P></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>“The Afghan Campaign” is Steven Pressfield’s latest book on warfare in the world of ancient Greece, Sparta, and Alexander the Great. Like his previous best-sellers “Gates of Fire” and “Virtues of War”, this book is a vivid and exciting historical novel that gives the reader a soldiers-eye view of war between the West and East.</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>In a unique style of writing, Pressfield uses Matthais, a 15- 16 year-old volunteer into Alexander’s army, to narrate the story of Alexander’s campaign to conquer the world. As the army marches east through Iran, India, and Afghanistan, Matthais describes how he and his equally young friends Rooster, Flag, and Ash, sweat, live, and often die in these bloody and raw days. Not surprisingly, these young infantrymen complain and moan about the same topics that our young infantry Marines complain about today – low pay, bad officers, the lack of available women, and expensive booze.</FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>In scenes that could have been taken from CNN or MSNBC, it doesn’t take much imagination to substitute our young men carrying M-16’s for Matthais and his friends carrying swords as they fight their way through the cold Afghan passes up in the Hindu Kush – each learn that Afghanistan and the Afghan warriors fight in a style all their own. Pressfield is a former Marine enlisted man himself, and it shows in his blunt, accurate, timely, and often funny style of writing. But as Matthais and his fellow troops adapt their tactics to beat their Afghani enemy, their adaptations come at a cost of both lives and perhaps their own humanity.</FONT></P> <HR> <DIV align=center><A href="http://survey.uscav.com/TakeSurvey.asp?SurveyID=142" target=_new><IMG height=200 src="http://www.uscavonpoint.com/onpointban.jpg" width=300 border=0></A></DIV> <HR> <BR> <P><FONT face=Arial size=2>This is more than just a “cut-n-slash” historical novel. Pressfield has an ability to bring these characters to life, to imbue these young soldiers with the same balance of pragmatism and idealism that can easily be transferred to the realities of war that we see on our televisions nightly. Highly recommended !!</FONT><BR></P>BR><BR><img src="http://uscavonpoint.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=3579" width="1" height="1">