Orders: To Obey Or Not Obey?

Spin Drift by Lisette Kristensen is a very short story describing the culmination of Mossad training with an operational test. Pass the test and you graduate. Fail the test and it would not matter; candidates who failed died Is this realistic? Sure, it can happen but the conditions under which it would happen are more stressful than described in this short story. For fans of this type of story look at accounts of military teams operating on horseback in Afghanistan, actions on the part of Seal Team Six, some of which have inadvertently been declassified. For non-fiction from the past look at Five Years to Freedom by Col. Nick Rowe, a prisoner of the Viet Cong and NVA for the number of years indicated. Also look at the operation under the Carter administration to rescue US hostages from the US Embassy in Tehran. The Commander on the ground was Col. Charles Beckwith, the main inspiration for and leader of Delta Force. I mention all these things to give some credibility to this story. Fact (mentioned above) can be stranger than fiction.

Keep The Faith

The Reprieve by Phil Emmert is a straightforward story told in five chapters of one man’s life experience from child to mature adult at the point where he married and the couple had their first child. Chapter One covered Tommy Neal’s young life on a farm in Indiana. The oldest son in a family of eight, his Christian faith was a large part of his life. Chapter One ends as Tommy prepared to go on a mission with his unit, the Marine Raiders in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Almost every male member of his high school class had volunteered for military service after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Even the town’s minister had enlisted.

Saved by the Ghost

In Ghost Fleet, authors P. W. Singer and August Cole describe the story as “A Novel of the Next World War.” Such a predictive subtitle led me to look at the publication date, June 2015. A reader in 2018 can adjust and interpret to taste. An author’s note prior to the foreword cautions that this is not a novel of prediction; it is fiction. This book came to my attention from colleagues in Indonesia where it seems to be attracting attention. At 418 pages, Amazon lists it as political fiction. The Amazon price is USD 2.99 and is free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Survivor Horrors

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon is a novel of love, pain, and suffering during WWII in German-occupied Italy. Even though WWII seems far removed from the present-day world, even though it seems that nothing more can be said about this struggle, this novel manages to provide new information and a new twist on an event many of us, baby boomers, are tired of contemplating. To think that way is selfish and doesn’t acknowledge later generations have not suffered such a constant bombardment of information. If we were never to revisit some of the stories, we would forget some of the horrors described in this work. Other events in this novel may surprise those who thought they knew it all.

When Vacations Go South, Go North

Vacation Gone South by Will Brink is a short story with lots of entertaining writing. If you are ever considering…

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.

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.

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.

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.

Zero Mercy by Scarlett Braden has an interesting subtitle: The Evolution of Pierce Wellington III. Pierce is an Army brat. With a four-star general for a father, it is easy to understand that every moment of his life was colored military. Pierce mentions that his father was probably disappointed that he had only one son. There was an older sister, a younger sister, and the long-suffering (but accepting Army wife. This story will follow Pierce through military boarding school, West Point, the Green Berets, and through a military career until a life-changing moment that occurred with the death of one of his sisters. Harper did not die a natural or accidental death. An abusive husband went too far; Tony killed Harper. To find out how Pierce dealt with that, read the story.