Billy Gogan Gone Fer Soldier by Roger Higgins

An excellent story, well researched, wonderfully detailed, and compelling reading.

This book is the sequel to the author’s first book, Billy Gogan: American, in which orphan Billy is sent from Ireland to America on the eve of the 1844 Irish Famine. Living by his wits, and doing what he has to, to survive, Billy quickly learns to grow up, establishes a life in Gotham, and eventually becomes an American citizen. However, after the tragic death of his good friend and companion Mary Skiddy, and the Great Fire of New York, it is a reflective Billy who, aged 16 decides to join Uncle Sam’s army, and this is where the second book really begins.

For anyone with an interest in this period of history this book will, I am sure be compulsive reading. The author uses a blend of real and fictional characters to make this an excellent history book, with clear maps and outstanding information on the movements of American army as they fought against the Mexicans in the American – Mexican war. However this book has one very important element which makes it stand out against other similar history books, and that is Billy Gogan himself.

Through his eyes, as a member of the Fourth Infantry we see a soldier’s life in the raw, no holds barred. We are with him as he watches his friends die, sometimes terrible deaths, feel his pain as he clears away the bodies, picks up their letters to loved ones and wipes their blood of his clothes. We read throughout this book numerous examples of his and other soldiers loyalty to their adopted country as they carry out unspeakable acts in order to win battles, on the commandments of their leaders.

Because of the way this book is written the social history of the time is an integral part of the story. It is fascinating to discover what life was like for those civilians who travelled with the soldiers, and as a result, whose lives became interlaced.

The author has, in this outstanding book, through the character of Billy Gogan, chronicled the battles which took place during this period of American history in a very human way. The very real hope on both sides from the soldiers and common people, that war would not occur, then the horrors which resulted when it did.

In summary, in writing this book, the author Roger Higgins has produced an excellent story, well researched, wonderfully detailed, and totally compelling reading.

About the Author: 

Roger J. Higgins and his wife reside in Chicago, Illinois, and they are immensely proud of their four children, one of whom is a serving U.S. Marine, and one of whom is Marine turned police officer (happily married to a wonderful high school chemistry and biology teacher). Their daughter is a nurse, and she and her husband (a retired Coast Guard officer) are the proud parents of a baby boy. Their youngest son is an aspiring doctor. As Mrs. Higgins has patiently observed to her husband when he ruminates about the trials and tribulations of raising children, it was together that they went four-for-four with their children, hitting safely at every at-bat. Not a bad day in the batter’s box.

Roger was born in England, in the County Cheshire, where he learned early of the orange-striped Cheshire cat, which disappears, leaving only its grin, full of teeth and gums. Roger emigrated with his parents and younger brother to the United States when he was 6 ¾. When his mother registered him at the local elementary school, he saw fit to wear his English grammar school uniform, which looked a lot like Harry Potter’s, except his cap was gray with purple piping and topped by a purple button, and he wore gray short trousers, gray knee socks and a purple clip-on tie with his dark gray blazer. After his mother finished registering him for school, the principal gently asked whether he would like to leave the tie and cap with her for the day and pick them up after school. Roger demurred. He was fortunate enough to retain both tie and cap (which were never worn again) on the walk home from school.

At the advanced age of ten, Roger taught himself the art of swearing, a skill he found useful in his thirty-odd years of playing rugby, where he was noted for his stone hands, his lack of size for certain positions and lack of speed for all the rest. As a young United States naval officer serving on a guided-missile destroyer many years ago with the lucky number “13” as her hull number (where he met some of the best friends a man can be lucky enough to have), he also learned, as did Captain Horatio Hornblower two centuries earlier, that sometimes having fifty-five oaths at your command can be entirely inadequate to the occasion.

Roger learned the art of leadership from his ships’ commanding officer and executive officer, who together led the tired, old ship, which was a bit of a laughing-stock along the waterfront, to win the Arleigh Burke award as the best destroyer in all of the Pacific Fleet. Roger served another fifteen years after that, having had during that time the privilege of being the fire control officer for the U.S.S. Missouri’s 16-inch guns, and thus the only naval officer in the world (at that time) under the age of thirty proficient in the ancient–and wonderfully obsolescent–art of major caliber naval gunnery.

Roger became a lawyer after retiring from the Navy with a small pension fit to pay the property taxes. After clerking for a Tax Court judge, who taught him the value of telling your story so as to win your reader to your side, Roger worked for a number of very large law firms, eventually becoming a partner at a firm with the grandest bankruptcy practice of them all. Roger greatly admires the practice group leader’s philosophy of practicing law, which is to get the best outcome possible for your client, never re-trade on a deal, and if you must stab someone, don’t stab him (her) in the back; look the person in the eye and then stab her. You’ll be treated the same way, when the time comes. Oh, and never sell your reputation. Once sold, you can never buy it back again.

Roger continues to practice law at a much smaller and less grand law firm and to write novels to his own taste. He is having a wonderful time doing so.

 

About the Book:

In Billy Gogan Gone fer Soldier, Billy Gogan enlists in the U.S. Army, only to be forced to battle a new enemy on the eve of the Mexican-American War. The fearsome and sadistic Sergeant Hoggs’s reign of terror is cut short, however, by a young second lieutenant named Ulysses S. Grant.

Billy and his companions are part of the biggest army assembled by the United States in decades, which has been ordered to the banks of the Nueces River to defend Texas. But the army is both tiny, hardly 3,000 combatants, and woefully unprepared for war. The army’s beloved commander Zachary Taylor, known to his bluebellies as Old Zach, slowly whips the army into shape over the winter of 1845-46, as disease ravages officer and soldier alike.

In the spring, the army is ordered south to the northern bank of the Rio Bravo. All is not well. The army’s savage discipline causes scores of desperate doughboys to desert and swim across the Rio Bravo to an imagined paradise. War begins badly for the Americans. But Old Zach eventually wins a pair of victories that send the Mexican army scuttling south to Monterrey. Billy is then sent on a mission with the Texas Rangers, which ends in a tragic war crime.

Billy Gogan Gone fer Soldier ends on a lonely rooftop as the bloody fighting on the savage first day of the Battle of Monterrey concludes in American defeat.

Billy Gogan Gone Fer Soldier is available from:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Gogan-Gone-fer-Soldier/dp/1609521374/ref=sr_1_2?qid=1552321154&refinements=p_27%3ARoger+Higgins&s=books&sr=1-2&text=Roger+Higgins

and

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/billy-gogan-gone-fer-soldier-roger-higgins/1127948358?ean=9781609521370

Swerve: The Little Bastards 2 by Jim Lindsay

 

Swerve, an opportunity to travel back to the time of rock n’ roll, fast cars and a childhood in 1950’s America.

In SWERVE, we return with Jim Lindsay to America in the 1950’s, the era of rock n’ roll, fast cars seemingly eternal youth. Discover what it was like to live that life, with the thrills and consequences captured in this exciting sequel to his unforgettable The Little Bastards.

The story opens with the main character Sonny Mitchell’s parents reading in the news of the antics, (which happened at the end of the last book) their son had been up to and their outcome. At this point I would like to say that although this is a sequel, this book happily stands alone.

Sonny soon discovers that once his notoriety settles down he still has a lot about life to learn. The Little bastards are growing up, yet being typical boys, they cling onto their youth, and through the authors vividly descriptive writing, the reader tumbles through Sonny and his friend’s lives experiencing through them the fun, freedom, and innocence, which young people enjoyed at this time. Their antics are wide and varied, from tracking down the local legend Lucifer, discover girls, larking around, getting into scrapes, and finding out ways of making money so they could do up their precious cars, you name it they are up to it.

However, despite their fun ways and the thrills and spills of the drag racing scene, the boys are growing up. With his friends beginning to get serious and his own hormones rising, Sonny knows there is only one girl for him, but can he overcome her father’s prejudices and prove himself a worthy suitor?

Refreshingly open and entertaining, Swerve really does allow the reader to time travel back to an era which had so much to offer which was new and full of potential. And yet, through Sonny we glimpse underneath the ‘brave new world’ façade and discover the traditional outlook of the older generation at this time, and how totally revolutionary this era really was to them.

A wonderful story, not a biography, yet it could be as the author has put so much of his memories of his childhood into it. Highly recommended.

 

About the Author:

I was born in Corvallis, Oregon on Feb. 18 1947, and raised on a farm nearby that sustained my parents, brother Bob, and myself. After 8 years of education in a 2 room grade school, I entered and graduated from Albany Union High School. A stint in the Navy Reserve and a year and a half of college was followed by 42 years of farming. I have 2 children, Caralee and Jake, both of Portland, Oregon, and a girlfriend, Kathie. I live on the same farm with my dog Ruby.

I have several hot rods that I drive and an altered roadster that I drag race. I have developed a disease for land speed racing driving a modified roadster I have built.

After two years of writing my novel “The Little Bastards,” I can truthfully say I also have a disease for storytelling. The “Bastards” sequel has now been released..

It is difficult to write a bio without talking a lot about oneself and using a lot of I’s. Pardon me.

Author’s Website: http://jimlindsayauthor.com/index.html

 

About the Book:

In Swerve! we return with Jim Lindsay to America in the 1950’s, the era of rock ‘n’ roll, fast cars, and seemingly eternal youth. Discover what it was like to live that life, with the thrills and consequences captured in this exciting sequel to his unforgettable The Little Bastards.

–Susan Keefe, Midwest Book Review

For starters Sonny has fallen in love with a beautiful girl whose life he has saved, but she’s from the wrong side of town–her father owns the bank and doesn’t cotton to hot rodders in leather jackets. This love story, along with the strong vibes of class distinction, weaves through the book, and it’s just one of the elements that will keep you turning pages to find where it goes.

The extra treat in this sequel is a well-plotted detective mystery that Sonny sniffs out at the lumber mill, and that develops into another action adventure with multiple outcomes to finish off the book. It’s even better than the first one. There’s no question that author Lindsay is a natural

born storyteller. The pace never slackens. This one starts out with a bang and ends with a bang. And what’s between is darn good storytelling.

 

Swerve: The Little Bastards 2 is available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Swerve-Little-Bastards-Jim-Lindsay/dp/1732637903/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537175757&sr=1-1

Dobyns Chronicles by Shirley McLain

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This book is fascinating, it tells the life of Charley Dobyn, and what a life. If you think we have it hard now, you should read this book about what life was really like in Texas in the 1800/1900.

Before reading it, I would have just have thought cowboys and Indians, not really considering how they interacted when they weren’t riding around on horses shooting each other with bullets and bows and arrows.

This book is a real eye opener.

To say that in those days children had to grow up quick is an understatement, and reading this book was humbling. You think we work hard these days, think again! These children had to cope with conditions unheard of now, and take on responsibilities which would not even be an option in this day and age. If they were lucky, with their parents by their side, if not, well their parents taught them well. As adults they shouldered their responsibility without a second though and family was everything.

The life of Charley Dobyn and his family is amazing, and I can understand why this author wrote this book, and the pride she must have felt when it was published. To think she actually met her Great, Great, Grandfather and heard the stories of his life first hand, what a privilege!

It was so interesting to read about how changes in the world, inventions, and events affected people who had no idea they were even going on.

The author gave me a copy of this book for an honest review and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to read it. Well done Shirley McLain for writing such an interesting and informative book.

 

About the Author: Shirley McLain is a retired RN, wife, mother, and grandmother of six, currently living in Sapulpa,Oklahoma where she is enjoying her retirement to the fullest. She was born in California but lived her growing years in Oklahoma. She done extensive travel within the United States and learned to appreciate each state for its own beauty. Her dream trip is to see Spain and Italy at a slow pace.

Shirley has published a young adult mystery called “The Tower”, a book of short stories called, “Shirley’s Short’s and Flashes and a Christian poetry book called, “Verses For My King.” She has published her historical fiction, “Dobyns Chronicles.” She is now working on a young adult fantasy called Princess Adele’s Dragon. Shirley’s love of travel, adventure and writing has created works that will hold your attention, and leave you wanting more.

About the Book:

Here is a Treat for HISTORICAL FICTION fans as well as those who are fascinated by late 19th century and early 20th century historical events in both Texas and OKLAHOMA.  This Historical novel is loosely based on a true life story of a brave Oklahoman from the mid 1880’s to 1955.  This dramatic story also showcases the struggles and intermarriage of an American cowboy and an American Indian.

Dobyns Chronicles is a captivating celebration of the life of Charlie Dobyns. His life began in northeast Texas near Bonham, on the Red River. His Cherokee mother and cowboy father strove to survive on their river valley ranch. Tragedy ended this way of life for Charlie in 1888. Follow him through Chickasaw Territory and on to McAlester in eastern Oklahoma. This is a story of a changing way of life and adaptations made to survive. Charlie’s strong passion for life and dignity equipped him for survival as he raised his siblings with, likeability and dignity. It’s a story of loss, misfortune, hard times and heartbreak, but also love, determination, kindness, joy and spirituality. Follow Charlie’s life through the adventures that shaped the man he became, and that of his family for generations.

Available from Amazon in:

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Dobyns-Chronicles-Shirley-McLain/dp/1499024096/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Dobyns-Chronicles-Shirley-McLain-ebook/dp/B00KNMM46S/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Hardcover http://www.amazon.com/Dobyns-Chronicles-Shirley-McLain/dp/1499024088/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

and Audible http://www.amazon.com/Dobyns-Chronicles/dp/B010HDRNBS/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=