Sykesville, MD | Member Since 2010
Sean Parnell served in Afghanistan and this is his true account of what occurred while he served as the commander of a platoon of 40 elite infantry men. Sean and his platoon formed a family together. That was the only way he ever considered those he commanded. The men named themselves, The Outlaws and they were known by the army as the legendary 10th Mountain Brigade. They all grew to love one another and worked together as a unit when in combat with the opposing side as well as when they were at their base of command. Sean and his platoon watched out for one another at all times. On the very high, as well as low valley's that created the dangerous terrain that makes up the landscape of Afghanistan, the men were a team of brother's. There was a difference about the way the Afghanistan soldier's conducted themselves during the many conflicts that Sean and his platoon had to battle and not be defeated. It was realized quickly, that the Afghan soldier's that they were fighting against had been well trained in how to fight their opponent. Sean and his team of NCO's had to draw up specific plans of how they would have to fight a more aggressive and learned group of Afghan's than what they had expected. Many of their conflicts depended on calling in for extra support. A Delta Force returned from a battle against the Afghan army and they had lost. Their moral was so devastatingly low that they affected all of the other platoon's deeply. It was at this time that Sean and his men vowed to never retreat from battle. During one very intense battle, Sean and his platoon considered the need to retreat. However, all of their Humvee's had been too damaged and there was no escape. Until extra support arrived, Sean had to be their leader and devise an attack that would hopefully save his family. Baldwin had been seriously wounded and his fellow soldier, the medic, threw his body over Baldwin's to save him from death. The medic sustained a serious injury to his cheek when he was hit. Sean pulled Baldwin away from the fighting to safety with Baldwin saying, "I can't feel my legs." The medic gathered himself together, retrieved a weapon and went back to fight and to stop and attend to the wounded, when necessary. This team, group, platoon, family of soldier's would not quit while there was one man standing. They stood together and they would fight together until the bitter end, if necessary.
My favorite character was Sergeant Greg Greeson. He had been in the army for 20 years. When in battle, he conducted himself with such calmness that the other men were amazed. His calmness was felt by his comrades in arms and would bring them back down slowly but surely. He would always be seen with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth and a near beer grasped in his left hand. Greeson's voice was deep and gravely from his three packs a day of smokes. He told Sean, when he retired from the army that he would "work with guns and be an alcoholic." He was one man who knew where he belonged, in a foreign country, in the army and fighting for his country.
Ray Porter was an excellent narrator. Reading the book would never have brought justice to such a great book. His narration was spot on for all of the character's. This proved amazing to me because there were many character's in the book and I could recognize who was speaking. I will look for his name in the future and of course, add him to my list of narrator's who are worth listening to.
Captain, U.S. Army Ranger, Commander Sean Parnell and his Platoon of Extraordinary Men
I'd advise anyone who is interested in this genre of books to not hesitate to purchase this one. You will not be disappointed. The book was emotional, thought provoking and was written by a man who loved his men and wanted the world to know them.
The mission, Task Force Ranger, occurred in Mogadishu, Somalia. The mission was to take an hour. The afternoon sun was shining. Therefore, equipment such as night time goggles, canteens filled with water, extra ammunition, etc., were not taken. The quick capture of two high ranking lieutenants from a renegade warlord went from one hour, to the most intense battle since the Vietnam war. The year was 1993. There were 99 men who survived, 18 were dead and dozens injured. The survivors were pinned down over night in a ferocious fight for their lives.
Their mission was successful until a black hawk was downed and the soldiers from the Army, Marine Corps and the US Special Forces had to go back to find the Black Hawk and the men who were on the helicopter.
Three soldier's, while fighting in Vietnam, were taken by the North Vietnamese as prisoner's of war. Two of the men were killed and dragged through the streets of North Vietnam, showing the American's just how hated they were. The incident was televised over and over. The third American was rescued by the Special Forces and brought home to the US. He had been severely beaten by his captors. This is when the American military assured themselves and their fellow American's, they would never again leave one of their comrades behind.
The author, Mark Bowden, was a literary journalist. He has written, in my opinion, one of the best books about any real-time action that the US has been involved in. I have read many true accounts concerning the US and war. He extensively interviewed the participants from both sides. The combat had been videoed and Bowden was supplied with this classified information as well as the radio transcripts.
The mission, a supposed snatch and grab operation, turned into a war. The US had gone into Somalia many times and completed their missions quickly. However, this time the Somalian people of Mogadishu took up arms and fought back in a way such as never before.
The character's were indeed well developed. The cadence of the narrator read like a song. The book was definitely an edge of the seat listen. The book was a two day listen for me. The book, Black Hawk Down, was exceptionally good from start to finish. Don't hesitate buying the book. I know that you will not be disappointed. I hope that you experience the quality of the book as much as I did. I've never seen the movie but I think I'm satisfied having listened to the book.
Heft deals with the subject of loneliness and how it can make life quite difficult to bear. There is a time when two people, Charlene and Arthur, meet. Arthur is a professor and Charlene is his student. These two lonely people, gravitate flawlessly towards each other, driven by the loneliness they share. Arthur and Charlene are misfits who need one another.
There is a brief time when they do get together and share a few dinners, where Arthur notices that Charlene does enjoy drinking rum and coke. However, they drift apart as lonely people are wont to do. Surprisingly, Charlene writes a letter to Arthur and he responds. This communication continues for 20 years until Charlene's illness, Lupus, consumes her life.
Mel quits his job and goes home and does not venture outside for a decade. During this time he uses food to comfort himself. Mel balloons from a plump man to an obese man who weighs 550 pounds,.
Charlene quits her job as secretary to the director of a high school where only the rich attend. Charlene used her cunning to get the board of the school to allow her son, Mel, to attend. She knows that Mel wants to become a professional ball player but Charlene has other ideas. She had only been able to attend college for one semester due to finances. Charlene has an intense desire for Mel to attend college and she suspects that his excellent education will be the catalyst to her dream coming true.
Charlene has suffered from the mild form of Lupus for years. However, her need to quit her job results from the disease progressing from mild to progressive. Charlene begins to drink heavily. Her choice of comfort is rum and coke. She has not left her home for the past 2 years.
Charlene never shares this information with Mel. Therefore, when her behavior becomes all consuming, Mel does not understand why. He thinks that Charlene lies when she tells him that she is in pain. Mel stays away from home as much as possible. He is ashamed of his mother and does not bring any of his friends home to meet her. Mel purchases the rum and coke that Charlene so desperately needs. He buys her junk food because that is all that she will eat. Charlene becomes thin and wasted after spending the last two years trying to slowly kill herself.
Charlene knows that Mel will need a mentor and this need inspires her to write one more letter to Arthur, asking for his help. Arthur attempts to telephone Charlene but without success because when he hears Charlene's voice, his voice freezes and he cannot speak.
Mel is given Arthur's name, phone number and address by his mother. She instructs him to call Arthur, whom Mel is aware of because of the many letters that his mother has received from him throughout those many years. Mel knows that Charlene is smiling and therefore happy when she retreats to her bedroom to read the letters.
Mel is never privy to their correspondence. Mel puts the information in his wallet for reasons he's not aware of. His future is a mystery just as everyone else's is. Mel isn't aware at the time but he will need that information as his only life line.
The book is sad but does have its redeeming qualities. Listen and you will understand how one man's loneliness may have a resolution.
The character that I've not talked about is Yolanda. She is a a young girl who comes to Arthur's home to clean. Yolanda is pregnant and her mother has made her quit school to become a housekeeper for a stranger. That stranger is Arthur.
Yolanda plays a pivotal role is helping Arthur to want to try and experience the joy of living as before. She encourages Arthur to get outside and to acknowledge his neighbors, which Arthur could never have done without Yolanda acting as his coach. Walking is something that Arthur knows is impossible for him to do. However, Yolanda proves him wrong. Yolanda sparks a fire in Arthur that does not want to be extinguished but he does need her help.
There is awesome character development that reverberates while listening to this book. You as the listener will come to know them all well. The narrator is exceptional who adds another whole realm to this book. Don't miss this book that will truly touch your heart.
Sylvia has remembered that her mother's antique quilt's must be packed away in the attic. Her and Andrew are finally getting married and Sylvia does not have enough time to make a wedding quilt for their wedding night. Unfortunately,Sylvia has been told by her sister-in-law that her mother's quilts had been sold by her sister Claudia, when she met with financial difficulties 40 year's ago.
Sylvia and Andrew are going to visit California to tell Tom, his son, and family that he and Sylvia are getting married. The co-director of the Elm Creek Summer Quilting Camp, Summer, no pun intended, informs Sylvia about a website that devotes itself to finding lost quilt's. Summer accesses the website and with Sylvia's input, lists pertinent information about the lost quilt's. While on their trip to California, Andrew and Sylvia, investigate some of the leads that were generated by the information posted on the website. Also, they call home periodically to confirm that she and Andrew are well and Summer is able to provide Sylvia with further leads. These leads result in further stops on their journey home.
Sylvia and Andrew were going to visit his daughter, Amy, on their return trip to home but change their minds. Tom had such a negative reaction to the news of their father's pending marriage, they have decided to wait. However, they did stop in Indiana to check out a lead about about one of the lost quilt's. This lead proved to be an exceptional one. Sylvia did find her first missing quilt, in her quest to find five.
Sylvia and Andrew continue to follow leads that might locate the missing quilts. The excursions to locate the quilts provides information about the Lockwood side of Sylvia's family. Her mother died when she was ten and Sylvia had never stopped to consider the importance of knowing the history about her mother's family. This information will instill a need to investigate further into her mother's past.
She and Andrew are able to find information about all of the five missing quilt's. Sylvia has conceded to the fact that she will be unable to locate the missing cloth quilt because there are too many available to warrant a search for the original one.
The pattern for the cloth quilt was the design of Sylvia's mother. The pattern had been published in the magazine, The Ladies Home Journal. Sylvia's mother had used the name of her sister, Abigail, as the creator of the pattern. This was done because Abigail, her unborn child and her husband had perished in the disaster known round the world, the sinking of the Titanic on its maiden voyage.
Sylvia and Andrew were married that same year on Christmas Eve. Her friends are all present because they came to a party that was arranged by Sylvia and the Director and creator of the Elm Creek Summer Quilting Camp, Sarah. Sarah and her husband, Bob. have lived with Sylvia so very long that Sylvia has begun to think of her as her daughter. The wedding is a surprise to almost everyone present. The two children of Andrew, Tom and
Amy, are not present. They both are adamantly opposed to their marriage because Sylvia is now an octogenarian, seven years older than Andrew. They are afraid that their father will have to care for Sylvia, thinking that she will almost definitely need care for illness because she is seven years older and will certainly either get sick or perhaps even die first. Tom had to nurse their mother and he had a tough time with grieving.
Tom and Sylvia are now married and looking forward to their future. They both hope that Andrew's children will come to their senses and accept their marriage. Andrew nor Sylvia want an estrangement to develop between him and his children.
I'm hoping the next book in the series will be about Sylvia's mother's family and how Andrew's children come to accept their marriage. I have not peeked and am not even aware of the title. I know that I've enjoyed each book in the series thus far and will be sure to enjoy the next one.
David Finkel, a reporter and the author of this book, went to war to see the truth and write about "the Surge." This battle was fought in an attempt to secure Baghdad. The Army infantry soldiers who fought were forever changed. David Finkel tells the listener just how horrific war is. This book is filled with true words from the soldiers themselves and what David Finkel witnessed.
The book is brutally honest. Should there be a man or woman who does not know how wars are fought, The Good Soldiers, tells it all. The reader will come away from this book with the understanding and proof that the US infantry fight with courage, honor and love of country. These men are heroes of the highest order.
The book should be listened to by everyone and know just why and how our warriors face death each and every day that they are fighting in Iraq and other countries. Counterterrorism is a different type of war than ever has been fought before. American soldier's do not want to kill the men, women and children who live in Iraq. They want to offer them help in teaching them how to have a government whereby they can live free, without fear of retribution from the Taliban or other forces who control them. However, these men and women have lived as they do now for centuries. They know no other kind of life. The American's who try to help are seen as their enemy. When an American is seen by the populace of Iraq, they look with hate at them and want to kill them.
Listen to The Good Soldiers and you will understand how the hate for American's is executed by the viciousness of the terrorism of how they fight against us. You will come away from listening to this book a changed person.
The author, Karl Marlantes, tells us that he suffers from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as do many other veterans who have been to war. PTSD is not a condition that has only war as its reason for presenting itself. Marlantes feels that men and women who go to war should be prepared by someone who is capable of explaining the horrors that are a part of war. The young men at age 18, who cannot drink, can go to war and kill. The government targets this young age group because this group, for the most part, have not even thought about their own mortality. They are READY to take up a weapon and wipe out those bastard's who flew into the NYC Twin Towers and killed upwards of 3000 men, women and children. Marlantes contends that before a person signs on the dotted line he or she should be told that they will face death if they go to war. We are raised in America to understand that life is precious. Our moral conscience is telling us that killing another human being is wrong and against God's law. Do unto other's as you would have them do unto you, that is the mantra that American's are raised on. Thou shalt not kill, is one of the commandments that we are taught from a very early age. Could you look another man, woman or child in the eyes and pull the trigger without consequences to your mind after coming home. Yes, soldier's are told to kill someone who is carrying an AK47 anywhere on their person by the DOD. The Taliban will use a child by strapping a bomb to her and detonating it while she stands around the American soldier's giving candy to the kid's in Afghanistan. The fundamentalist Afghan's put no value on life. While war is being fought, it's a known fact that one kills or is killed. Marlantes acknowledges that he felt powerful when he was able to kill someone. That power made him want to kill more.
However, when a person's time in a war is over, he or she has to come home to a society that morally as well as criminally, will not condone killing. Walking through the battlefield after a conflict and gathering the dead in a pile, can make for some anxious and frightening dreams, whether awake or asleep. Taking a gun and aiming it at a fallen enemy who has not yet died and shooting him in the head, might create a feeling of power but at a later time may come back and haunt the man or woman who did the deed.
Marlantes tells us that perhaps someone will listen and will at least provide our would-be soldier's with sufficient knowledge, allowing them to make a concerted decision about participating in a war. The Vietnam veterans were not given a choice, they were drafted. Marlantes tells us that the soldier's of today are better trained in the mechanics of warfare but are still lacking in the moral and spiritual ways that war can torment a veteran for life.
Marlantes pulls no punches in his memoir. He is up front and honest. He hopes that maybe a young person who is considering joining the military will be given an opportunity to read his book. The warrior's of today need help before going to war, in the hopes that they will not suffer from PTSD after they come home.
I found the memoir, Inside Delta Force, to be an informative book of how and why the Delta Force was begun. The author, Robertson Dean, takes the reader through the selection process to the grueling physical requirements needed to become a member of the first elite special ops force ever in America. The army knew there was a need for this small but excellently trained group of men to fight counterterrorism. The tides of war were changing and the army was prepared to meet it head on. Their training continued to teach them as well as to train them to near perfection in many areas of conflict that they would encounter while serving with Delta Force. The Delta Force did their training in real life situations where live ammunition was used. There was training for high-jacked airplanes, close quarter combat for other situations where there was hostage involvement. Sniper's would spend long hours watching and waiting but would not need to shoot. However, they used this time to watch and learn about the operations of the enemy. That information could prove invaluable to the unit. They were also taught how to spy because there would be times that spying may be an intricate part of their mission.
What I found to be missing in Robertson Dean's memoir was wartime action. He described the places Delta Force had operated but did not include how the battles were fought, whether it was face to face combat or gathering information and having the known factor that he may get caught. Would the other member's of Delta Force plan a rescue operation and initiate the extraction of their captured brother.
The memoir was well written and easy to understand to be filed away and remembered at another time. The character's were not well developed but were included in such a way that they did not work together in true action. There was no excitement that created my needed edge of the seat listen. I like to have thrilling action when I read a novel or memoir concerning an elite unit of the military. I had never read about the Delta Force before and that is why I chose this book to read. I did get a comparison and contrast of the military's elite forces as to how they became that emulated member of Delta Force.
The Civil War is over and the Hazzards and the Mains are trying to put their lives back together. Charles Hazzard is the dominant force behind keeping the Hazzard's and the Main's together as they had once been. Charles fought for the North and Ory for the South. The families are now scattered throughout the United States. Charles remains in Charleston, Virginia and his steel works continue to prosper. That was until his nemesis, Bent, murdered his wife, Constance. Charles leaves for Switzerland sure that he will never set foot on American soil again. Charles's brother, Billy, marries Brett and they move to California to begin anew. Ashley remains estranged from her family. Ory was killed at the end of the war trying in vain to help a northern soldier. Madelyn, Ory's wife, remains at the Mount Royal property in South Carolina. She continues to fight for the rights of the black population. Turmoil is increased in the South with the birth of the KKK. The KKK is an organization begun after the Civil War to thwart the equality of the blacks. Charles, Ory's cousin, remains distraught over the death of Augusta, the woman he loved who died giving birth to their son, Gus. Charles continues to wander the country in an attempt to find himself. Virgilia, Charles Hazzard's sister, has her personal vendetta against the North under control. She is no longer the vigilante that she had once been. Cooper, Charles's brother, starts rebuilding his shipping business. He has estranged himself from his family because of his radical political views. Cooper has never resolved his emotions over the death of his son, Juda, many years ago. Cooper's daughter, Emily, marries a northerner and Cooper no longer considers her his daughter. The political atmosphere in Washington is in turmoil. There is a campaign to impeach the President, Andrew Johnson,.
There are many conflicts against the different Indian tribes who live in the Western parts of the United States. The Calvary wants the Indians to relinquish their territory to the white man and live on the reservations that are now in operation. I do believe that the author, John Jakes, almost gets America to the beginning of the twentieth century.The reconstruction of the South takes years to accomplish and the Yankee's and the Rebel's continue to agitate one another as if the Civil War has not ended.
The novel is well written and the narration continues to be excellent. The character's development comes to fruition in the final book of the trilogy. I started with the first book, The North and the South and found that I was able to follow the character's and interactions that occurred throughout the trilogy with ease. The continuity flows smoothly from the first book to the last. The novels are a good read and a great way to spend your time listening as you drive to work or at home. Enjoy!
This novel revolves around a 91 year-old woman, Vivian and a 17 year-old teenager, Molly. The two share a bond, they are both orphans. Vivian and her family sailed from Ireland to Ellis Island for a better life. Her family was killed in a fire, leaving her homeless. Vivian lived in various foster homes until she was finally welcomed by a loving couple.
Molly's father was killed in an auto accident. Her mother was unable to care for her and she was placed in foster care. She also spent many years trying to find that special place. However, she was almost 18 now and would soon be on her own. Foster care ends at age 18.
Molly and Vivian meet because she was caught stealing a ragged eared book from the library, Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre was Molly's favorite book but didn't know that the library had recently installed a detector to prevent library books from being stolen. Molly put the book under her coat. She was living with a foster care family at the time and Social Services was notified by the foster mother. Molly's punishment, after making a court appearance, was to complete 50 hours of community service.
Molly's boyfriend, Jack, coaxed his mom, Terry, into setting up an interview for Molly, with her employer, Vivian. Vivian needed help with cleaning out her attic filled with a lot of dusty, old boxes. Terry was Vivian's housekeeper and she had been putting off the dreaded chore and was happy to do as Jack asked.
That was how Vivian and Molly met and became friends. The novel goes back and forth telling their stories of what it was and is like being an orphan. They shared each others lives and told things about themselves that no one else was ever told before now.
The character's are very well developed and you'll think that maybe you know them. The narrators, Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren, do an excellent job. The book is well written and easy to follow and understand. The book provides you with some feelings that children experience living in foster homes. The book, Orphan Train, is enjoyable and an easy listen.
What I loved best about Living with Honor was how Giunta talked the talk and proved that his talk was for real when it came to battle and his fellow Americans.Those men became closer to him than his own brother. He continues to keep in touch with a few of them now. He lived with them, sometimes in very close quarters. He ate, fought, used a homemade hole dug in the ground with slats, for a bathroom, that was patrolled while he used it. He was never alone while active in the battlefields of Afghanistan. There was one man that Giunta mentioned who went outside to use the bathroom alone and did not make it back alive.
Guinta was my favorite character because when he signed up with the Army, he wanted to do his best. He proved that and so much more. Guinta was the kind of soldier, that another soldier would be glad when they were fighting on the same battlefield together. He always covered every comrade's back. That's what I would call trust. He not only saved other's from an untimely death but other's saved him, too. When fighting in war men become more bonded with one another than with their own brother's. Salvatore continues to keep in contact with a few men to this day.
The scene that stands out in my mind is when there was an intense battle being fought in Afghanistan and when Sal looked over his shoulder he couldn't believe what he saw. Guinta, while running, glanced back and said, " those Afghanistan's have our man." He ran like the road runner, up a steep, craggy mountain and retrieved his comrade. He brought him back down using a fireman's carry. His comment was that he killed one and only wounded the other. He could only hope that the other one died, too.
War and the Men who Fight Back for America's Freedom
I realized that while listening to this novel, the war in Afghanistan was being fought as I listened, in real time. Men have fought since the beginning of time. Osama bin Laden is dead. He was found in a cave with the amenities of life and then some. SEAL Team Six, the best of the best, nailed him. I'm glad we were able to mete out a small amount of revenge. There is not enough revenge in the world that could repay him and Afghanistan for the lives of our fellow American's. However, Afghanistan's way of living will not change. Their many tribes and ways of government are varied and will never be united into one. Let's bring our men and women back home. American's have served their country beyond all expectations but the war on terrorism will not be won by letting more American's die. War today is a different kind of war than before.
After you listen to this memoir, you will understand why Salvatore Guinta received the Medal of Honor. I'm proud that he is an American.
The narrator was excellent. I felt as if I was in the story. I've been listening to varied narrator's of late and I'm finding they are story appropriate.
I think that I could read this book again. However, if I've written a review about a book, I can reconstruct it fairly well or if I start to listen again, everything comes back. When I am unable to do that, the book may not have been that good a book or I was having a bad day. But I have read a book more than once because I felt a need to reread, even if I know what is going to happen. There are very special books that insist I read them again.
When Sal was stationed in Germany awaiting to be called up to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, he met a woman he had went to high school with. She was in Italy for an overseas, suggested teaching experience, for college. He began to go visit the sites of the country with the group and did find a woman he married after he left the army. She actually left school for awhile and came to live in Italy to be near him. It's a small world.
Your credit will not be wasted if you enjoy reading about war. The book was interesting, a learning experience, well written and a book that you may want to read in one day. Yes, I think it's that good.
This novel's narrator was excellent. She had many accents to speak as well as male and female voices to interrupt and she jumped from one to the other with ease.
The novel is all about a wedding dress. The wedding dress was designed and sewn by a "colored woman," in 1912. The people in the wealthy South in the year 1912 had no contact with the colored. To wear such a dress was unthinkable. Society would be appalled if a bride should walk down the aisle wearing a dress sewn by a black woman. Emily was the bride and she did not conform with the righteous discrimination meted out to the black population. Therefore, Emily went into the colored part of the city and had Taffy design and sew her gorgeous gown.
There was a mystery which revolved around the question of just where did the gown originate. There were friendships made throughout the book. The book was a smooth and easy read. I had been reading some intense novels and memoirs and I needed a break. This book hit the spot. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
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