Personal Wartime Experiences

In this volume of the series Threads of War, Volume II, Jeremy Strozer looks at war as it is played out in ways we don’t generally think of. Each story has two parts. The first is a factually based account of an incident that happened. The account is referenced for those who want to investigate further. The second is a story of humans trying to exist in a hostile environment that is war. The stories are fiction as thoughts and feelings are ascribed to people who did not survive. Those experiences exist in Strozer’s mind and the author brings them to life in a very entertaining way.

I give the novel five Amazon stars in part because of the pleasing structure and way of presentation, in part because of the referencing which accompanies factual accounts, and finally for the interesting fictional presentations which lend human coloring to a dehumanizing experience.

Following are my immediate comments and reactions to each story.

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Fictionalized Facts

At first, it looks like there is a certain arrogance in the title and subtitle of this work. Threads of THE WAR by Jeremy Strozer has the last two words capitalized indicating that this war was truly “the war to end all wars.” While that was the popular sentiment describing WWI, veterans of later wars and different forms of sacrifice might take issue with the presumption made by this title. Just in case the reader misses the message, the subtitle claims this work is a collection of historical short stories that are personal truth-inspired flash fiction of “The” 20th century’s war. Putting those possible claims aside, it is valuable to read the author’s introduction. Strozer has a different definition of “The War,” one that stretches from 1898, powers through WWI and WWII, and concludes with the residual after effects that still flare up around the world today.

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The Widow’s Network by Nick McDonell might be an eye-opening book for readers that believe armed conflicts are between two monolithic elements, that there is a good side and a bad side. Using a small core of named individuals that worked with female spy Sabrine, McDonell delivers a well-sourced account of the conflict in Iraq. There are shifting alliances, people who worked openly for more than one side, and some documented facts with flexible dates to serve bureaucratic purposes.

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When Is A Dilemna A Dilemma? (Never)

I found little evidence of a dilemma in this short story with what I consider to be a deceptive title. For me, a dilemma is a situation in which I must make a decision that will damage me the least whether that is in terms of material or more abstract goals. With General Rahmini’s Dilemna by Benson Grayson, there were multiple short terms dilemmas. But the General always fortuitously avoided them. He did not escape disaster by clever, well-planned actions; rather unusual opportunities presented themselves. After the first few times this happened, the novel became boring and I read along just to find out what other fantastic pieces of luck would fall out of the sky to improve his life. A reader of this might think a long time about Karma.

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Small Unit Action Short Story

The Contractors by J.P. Medved is a very short story about a defense contractor paramilitary group known as Justice Incorporated. The entire story on Kindle occupies 259 location points. The story is of one battle between a Sunni radical fundamentalist group and a Kurdish fighter group; the Kurds are a client of Justice Incorporated.

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Dangers Aboard Ship

Sixty-Four Days by Malcolm Torres is a short story of the sea. The main story takes up 64% of the e-pub. It is followed by a sneak preview of Sailors Take Warning. This is a sampler for the works of Malcolm Torres, not truly a short story. Readers won’t find a true conclusion to either story; there are conclusions to two “incidents,” one in each story, but these incidents could not take place in isolation. Readers will have questions.

I found the writing completely fascinating and will be looking for other, expanded writing by this author. Part of the fascination for me is that the lives of US Navy sailors are completely new to me as is the description of the capabilities of Navy ships depicted. One is an unidentified aircraft carrier, the other is the USS Nimitz. Therefore, I predict that these stories will not only attract Navy veterans but readers such as myself, novices to maritime life but attracted to innovative descriptive writing.

Read this, it’s good.

German Influence On US Elections

Beneath the Rock by Tommy Birk begins in Germany. It is almost the end of the Second World War and the Germans know they are losing but some of them believe there is life after the Third Reich. Gunther Balbach works for SS Major Hans Peiper. Their unit captures a group of Americans and has no plans to keep them prisoner. Major Peiper intends to execute them. One of the Americans, Ernie Balbach, turns out to be a distant cousin of Gunther. Gunther decides to aid Ernie in an escape attempt so that he can surrender to Ernie and the two of them can deliver information to the Americans about the postwar plans of several Nazis. The plans envision the building of a Great Reich throughout the world and achieving world domination through economic and political means while using military means sparingly for enforcement of new rules.

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