My Review of “Hue 1968” by Mark Bowden

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon link: Hue 1968: A Turning Point of The American War in Vietnam
Author: Mark Bowden (@markbowdenwrite)
Goodreads Author Page

Thumbnail sketch: An illuminating and highly readable overview of one of the key events of the Vietnam War, with insights and recollections from both sides.

5 Stars

 

 

My Take On Hue 1968: A Turning Point of The American War in Vietnam

Mark Bowden has been one of my favorite authors since reading Black Hawk Down. I’ve also enjoyed his work on a variety of subjects in my favorite news magazine, The Atlantic. His prose is clear, concise and highly readable — perhaps thanks to many years working as a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

As the subtitle of this book suggests, the Battle of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive was one of  the key moments during America’s war in Vietnam. The offensive itself — widely seen as a tactical victory for the Americans and their South Vietnamese clients — was arguably the critical turning point in the conflict. Although the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) suffered serious losses of experienced personnel during Tet, their bold and coordinated attacks against population centers throughout South Vietnam put the lie to upbeat assessments from American military leaders that victory was within sight (“light at the end of the tunnel”) and US public opinion across the political spectrum turned against the war. Continue reading

Advertisements

My Review of “The Last Good Man” by Linda Nagata

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon link: The Last Good Man
Author: Linda Nagata (@LindaNagata)
Author’s Website: mythicisland.com

Thumbnail sketch: Fast-paced yet layered military sci-fi set in a near-future where humans are on the cusp of losing their place on the battlefield. There are nuanced characters doing believable (and at times frustrating) things and thrilling action scenes in equal measure.

4 Stars

 

My Take On the last good man

Thanks to author Linda Nagata, I’ve now read two excellent military sci-fi thrillers — The Last Good Man and The Red: First Light (my review) — set in highly plausible near-futures where technology has fundamentally changed the role of humans on the world’s battlefields. Both books can be enjoyed simply as the exciting and fast-paced thrillers they certainly are, or readers with a more thoughtful bent will ruminate on the impact these changes will have on conflict and warfare.

In a way, The Last Good Man is really two stories. The first quarter of the book sets the scene, introduces the characters and hardware, including robotic drone swarms, and includes a thrilling hostage-rescue raid. The balance of the story deals with the fallout from that raid as protagonist True Brighton seeks the truth about the death of her son, a special forces soldier killed during a failed mission eight years previous. Continue reading

My Review of “The Sensitist” by John-Paul Cleary

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon link: The Sensitist (Convergent Space Book 3)
Author: John-Paul Cleary (@ConvergentSpace)
My reviews of other works by the author:

Author’s website

Thumbnail sketch: Much like the earlier entries, the third book in this character-driven sci-fi series features some thought-provoking and imaginative ideas about conflict and ambition. Whether this is the end or there are more stories to be told from this sandbox, or the author writes something new — I’ll want to read it. 4 Stars

 

My Take On the sensitist

A tenuous peace exists in the galaxy as The Sensitist opens. The war between the Phelgar race and the Renaissance coalition that began in the previous book, The Shadow Ship, sputtered into stalemate after Tihn Forlihn, the Phelgar leader, employed a devastating, planet-destroying weapon. But Tihn then went missing and now both sides are desperately looking for him as only he knows how to use the weapon. Continue reading

My Review of “Uroboros Saga Book 7” by Arthur Walker

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon link: Uroboros Saga Book 7
Author: Arthur H. Walker (@ArthurHWalker)
Goodreads Author Page

Thumbnail sketch: Set entirely on Mars — site of some of the most gripping and gritty action in earlier series entries — the latest Uroboros Saga book introduces some compelling new characters who seamlessly flow into the continuing futuristic sci-fi storyline.

4 Stars

 

My Take On Uroboros Saga Book 7

The ending of the sixth book in this fun, futuristic sci-fi series (see my review) answered some lingering questions and wrapped up enough loose ends that it almost seemed like a finale. Perhaps that’s why reading Uroboros Saga Book 7 felt somewhat different to me than earlier entries. Part of that may also be the focus placed on some new characters and part may be having the action take place entirely in one location — I may be wrong, but I believe a first for this series. Continue reading

My Review of “The Fleet At Flood Tide” by James D. Hornfischer

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon link: The Fleet At Flood Tide: America At Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
Author: James D. Hornfischer (@navy1944)
Author’s website

Thumbnail sketch: Clear, concise overview of the final year of WWII in the Pacific Theater, beginning with the campaign for the Marianas Islands that provided the pivotal bases used in both the firebombing and atomic attacks on Japan. Focus is primarily on strategy but the author skillfully weaves in personal narratives from both sides that illuminate larger themes.

5 Stars


My Take On The Fleet At flood tide

Outside of one college class on Ancient China — one of the minimum two classes in Asian history required to earn a BA in History at the school (had I stayed around long enough, that is) — my interest in the past has always been focused on Europe. I’m conversant enough with the big picture of history in Asia, especially from World War II on, but I’ll never be accused of having deep knowledge of the area. Continue reading

My Review of “A Man of Shadows” by Jeff Noon

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon linkA Man of Shadows
Author: Jeff Noon (@jeffnoon); website

Thumbnail sketch: An urban landscape of light, dark and the places in between is the setting for an imaginative and fantastical Urban Noir tale. Searching for a runaway girl in a city stalked by a seemingly invisible serial killer, private detective John Nyquist must come to grips with time itself or risk losing himself — and her. 4 Stars


My Take On A Man of Shadows

One of the oldest metaphors around is light and darkness standing in for good and evil. God separated “light from darkness” in Genesis, Shakespeare’s love-besotted Romeo compared Juliet to the sun, and a Scottish prayer asks for protection from “things that go bump in the night.” In  A Man of Shadows, author Jeff Noon’s electric prose and stylized imagery blur this simple idea into a fever dream of a tale about light, darkness, family, loss and time.

This review is based on an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) received through NetGalley. The book is scheduled for release on August 1, 2017. Continue reading

My Review of “Allies and Enemies: Fallen” by Amy J. Murphy

Bottom Line Up Top

Amazon link: Allies and Enemies: Fallen
Author: Amy J. Murphy (@selatyron); website

Thumbnail sketch: Opening book of a sci-fi space opera trilogy, with well-drawn characters and action scenes; a plot that steers clear of cliches; and set in an interesting ‘universe’ with potential for any number of plot directions. If you liked the TV show Farscape, you’ll likely like this (as I did). 4 Stars


My Take On Allies and Enemies: Fallen

One of my all-time favorite TV shows — I have the entire series on DVD & have re-watched from beginning to end several times — is Farscape. It was fun and rather inventive, I thought, in how it told an over-arching story. Things like cloning Crichton so when the group split up he could be with both parties (and thus creating a truly unique love triangle with Officer Aeryn Sun).

This book, Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy, has a distinctly Farscape feel to it. Some of the elements are very similar to the TV show, but I’m not suggesting this is intentional on the author’s part. Much is also very different. What isn’t different, though, was my enjoyment — especially when the author surprised me by taking the story in unexpected directions.

Continue reading