Survivor Love Thy Enemy by James Dennison

 

One man’s powerful insight into the realities of the Vietnam War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a youngster the author was raised a catholic, his father owned an Irish bar in the north side of Chicago, he was shy and had a devoted girlfriend. Those years were a time of wonderful innocence, luckily, he had no idea what the future would hold for him, physically, emotionally and religiously.

On the 17th of May 1966, aged 20, he was like many others called up for the drafted, and enrolled in the Fort Kansas Ninth Infantry Division. After 32 weeks basic training, which could in no way have prepared these young men for life in the swamps and jungles, the recruits were called ‘C’ (Charlie) Company and sent to Vietnam, to become part of the Mobile Riverine Force based in the Mekong Delta and operating from US Navy gunboats.

As soon as I started to read this book I was immediately struck by the author’s clear recollections of his comrade’s backgrounds and future dreams, his attention to detail in this respect brings the book wonderfully alive as we get to know the men behind the camouflage gear. As expected in a war book there are many graphic and horrifying images which the writer has been brutally honest in his descriptions of, not only the fighting, but also in methods of torture and some of the truly horrendous ways it was implemented by both sides. We discover also, how hard it was for these young Americans to acclimatise to living in the jungle, the rations, dysentery, insects, depression, and of course the deaths and terrible injuries caused by claymore mines, guns and fighting. However, in his representation of the horrors of war, the author hasn’t forgotten to give the reader glimpses into how life was like for the non-fighting Vietnamese people and how, unsure of what the future would hold, they openly hedged their bets with both sides.

Another very important character in this story who we are introduced to very early on is Van, a prominent member of the Viet Cong movement, a young man with an all-consuming hatred of the Americans burning within him. However, we are to wonder if this is going to change when he falls in love with the beautiful Tuyen. Their love is so fierce that when Van leaves Th oi Son Island for Cambodia, to recruit and train new soldiers in war craft, interrogation and torture, she trains to become a spy, using her womanly whiles to infiltrate the lonely American men of the intelligence services.

As we follow the author through this nightmarish war we discover that even in the most hellish situations love can be found, and indeed true love knows no boundaries. However, always where there is love there is also a myriad of other emotions, including its direct opposite hate, and perhaps the most dangerous of all jealousy.

This book is not only an extremely interesting look at the Vietnam War, the politics, and people, it is also an incredible testament to how the author’s whole life has been shaped by his experiences in Vietnam.

I have read many times that a person comes out of a war a totally different person, and having reading this absorbing, heart rending, vividly honest account by the author it is easy to understand why, when you span the years from that young man drafted in 1966 to the man portrayed on the last page of this amazing story. I just could not put this book down, and highly recommend it.

 

About the Author:

James Dennison grew up in Chicago, going to Catholic schools and living a life of too much drinking until he fell in love with the Italian “girl next door.” That all changed when he was drafted into the Vietnam War at the age of 20. Facing conflict on all sides and losing his friends on the battlefield in the jungle and his loved ones to alcoholism here at home, he still struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After the death of his only son in 2010, he wrote “Survivor Love Thy Enemy” hoping that to share his story would be to heal his demons. Having realized that talking to other vets is more therapeutic than talking to therapists, Dennison hopes that his book will reach others out there who have also lost much. He also gives light to both sides of the conflict, something that most generations, including this one, have trouble seeing. Dennison is retired from construction equipment sales and lives in Hawaii.

 

About the Book:

From an inspired Catholic family base, this youth’s naiveté and immature nature was hell bent on living the wild life of booze and party times when a special female, who he wanted more than his innocents could bear, changed his outlook forever. Then reality came to visit his dreams, turning them into nightmares of war. The Vietnam conflict would eat him up, grow him up and create a new perspective of life that only the enemy could teach. The language is harsh, the writing brutally honest and the message clear, it relates with great candor the unvarnished realities of dealing with day to day combat in and around the Mekong Delta during the TET Offensive. You will be shocked, fascinated, outraged and frustrated when you read about the US fight for Democracy and Peace in Vietnam and the enemy’s pragmatic dedication to the annihilation of the South Vietnamese and all Western ideals. This story is about an Army warrior who made the journey to combat and the unbelievable events that made up his combat tours….peppered by Vietnamese insight, perspective and romantic ardor. This is my story and it is historically accurate. Survivor, Love thy Enemy is a definite “must read” for military and civilians alike, once picked up, not put down until the last page read.

 

Survivor Love Thy Enemy is available from:

Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Love-Enemy-James-Dennison/dp/1477478159/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506500020&sr=8-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Love-Enemy-James-Dennison-ebook/dp/B00BKGZS9G/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506500020&sr=8-1&dpID=51CuNWAGaVL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

and

Barnes and Noble in Paperback https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/survivor-love-thy-enemy-james-dennison/1112199621?ean=9781477478158

 

 

One Step Ahead by Avraham Azrieli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The war time ordeals of a Jewish mother and her 7 children.

This story is an amazing true account of the wartime struggles of a Jewish woman named Ester Parnes, her husband Samuel, and their seven children.

In June 1944 they believe that they are safe from the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, as they are living in the small village called Skalat in eastern Poland. After World War I, the land was given to the Soviet Union under the 1939 treaty between Stalin and Germany, and the Soviet people had been friendly, and they, and their relatives are happy, and have a good life. However, they soon discover that Adolph Hitler has no scruples about going back on his word as he instigates Operation Barbarossa. On the very day this happens the family find themselves fleeing the German planes and soldiers, desperate just to survive…

When they join thousands of other Jews and tens of thousands of Polish people crossing the Zebruschk River, and entering the Ukraine, they believe it is only for a short time, and they are sure that they will be safe there until they can return to Skalat. However as the German army ruthlessly advances, slaughtering everyone in their path with Hitler’s “scorched earth” policy, the days and months turn into years. Watching those around them die from starvation, or being murdered by the Germans, the family suffer unimaginable hardships and find themselves doing what they have to, to survive. Driven further and further from their home on a journey which is to take them through the Ukraine, Russia, and into Asia.

I found this story totally absorbing and the very fact that it is written from true accounts given to the author by the Ester Parnes children and grandchildren, makes it even more interesting. Not only did I learn a lot about the plight of these people during World War II, but I also could not help but be amazed at their strong faith and true sense of family, which bound them together, and gave them a reason to survive.

Of course during the war years, despite being on the run from the Germans, their normal family life continued, and like all families disagreements and disputes arose, however, strong in their faith, they still manage, despite everything, to remain united.

Having read modern history at school, this book should, I feel, be part of the curriculum as not only is it a compelling story of one families family’s survival during World War II, but also reveals how Adolph Hitler thought, and explains the timing and reasons behind his policies.

I would highly recommend this book as a fascinating true account of the bravery and fortitude of Ester Parnes, and her family during WWII.

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avraham Azrieli’s new novel, Deborah Rising, will be published by Harper Collins on September 27. 2016. A graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, Azrieli tried many complex court cases before publishing his first novel, The Masada Complex (a political thriller) in 2010. A full-time author since then, his other books include the Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). He also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead – A Mother of Seven Escaping Hitler’s Claws (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing). Azrieli grew up in Israel, where he received extensive Talmudic education, served as an intelligence officer and, after attending law school, clerked for the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Residing primarily in the United States since 1990, he currently lives near Washington DC with his wife and children. Like Ben Teller, the protagonist in The Mormon Candidate, Azrieli often rides his motorcycle in the mountainous forests of western Maryland. To learn more, visit AzrieliBooks.com

About the Book:

Hitler’s attack on Russia in the spring of 1941 and the Nazi eastward blitzkrieg form a dramatic backdrop to this true story. On the first day of Operation Barbarossa, in the midst of battle, Esther Parnes leads her family east, away from the Polish village of Skalat. A step ahead of Hitler’s earth-scorching troops, Esther and her children endure hunger, disease, and bloodshed. But Hitler’s four-year campaign defeats neither Mother Russia nor Esther Parnes. In an era when women were confined to traditional household roles, at a time when proud men bowed their heads as they stood at the edge of a pit waiting to be shot, this redheaded woman challenged Adolf Hitler. Based on extensive interviews and independent research into the Parnes family’s plight and the Nazi war on Russia, this book tells the story of an extraordinary mother’s battle to save her seven children.

One Step Ahead is available from Amazon in Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/One-Step-Ahead-Escaping-Resistance-ebook/dp/B015UTD7GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504601540&sr=8-1&keywords=one+step+ahead+by+avraham+azrieli 

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback https://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/one-step-ahead-avraham-azrieli/1006867514?ean=9781401082802#reviews-header

 

Okay, Okay by Fred Krebsbach

 

In November 1968, Fred Krebsbach had just turned twenty-one, he had finished his education with a tech degree in engineering, and was looking forward to a bright future. However the US military had other plans, the war in Vietnam needed soldiers and he was called up for draft.

Before leaving for basic training, his uncle Gene, a WWII veteran advised him to take something which would give him comfort, with him, and he chose his First Communion rosary, something which would sustain him through the months of conflict.

After he had completed his training, he left his homeland for the Tan Son Nhut Republic of South Vietnam. Thus began his tour of duty in that hell hole, where for nearly seven long months he served as an M-60 machine gunner.

The author freely admits that he was changed in irrevocable ways, and reading his story, how can he not have been. Fighting the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese Army under terrible conditions, losing many of his ammo bearers to booby traps, and for me, one of the saddest things was that they never said hello, because then they would never have to say goodbye…

The detailed descriptions of army life in Vietnam, and how he survived it, is absorbing reading. I was amazed to discover that captured, and rehabilitated Viet Cong, were used by the army as Tiger Scouts, and sent out in front of the soldiers to find the booby traps, punji pits, daisy chains and explosives set by their ex-comrades.

The author says that hearing WWII veterans say that they wish they had talked to their family more, has been an important factor in his decision to writing this book. I can understand this as my own Granddad was a WWII veteran who was lost, presumed dead. In fact my Grandmother was told he was dead by the British War Office. Then he turned up in Australia a couple of years after the war had ended. Apparently, he had been taken there, having been released, he had been tortured, and it was that long before they could discover his identity. I remember, he never, ever, talked about his experiences.

It must have taken a lot of courage for the author to put these words down on paper, to search is memories, trace people, and diagnose the effect on his life of those months.

Yes he came back alive, and despite sustaining injury, in one piece. However the man who returned was totally different from the ‘boy’ who left his home to fight for his country.

He married Marcia, has had children, and grandchildren, he was one of the lucky ones, thousands did not. Because of this, he wanted to put pen to paper to explain in real terms the true cost of war, both mentally and physically.

Thank you Fred.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Book: Before leaving for Vietnam, twenty-one year old Fred Krebsbach received a piece of advice from his uncle: carry something with you into combat that will give you comfort in a time of need. He figured it was worth a shot and chose his First Communion rosary. This turned out to be a life-changing, maybe even life-saving, decision. Sent into combat as an M-60 machine gunner, for almost seven months Fred faced danger from booby traps, enemy combatants, and the jungle itself. After becoming injured and returning from the hospital he gave up the M-60 to become a squad leader for Special Forces. He endured seven more months of constant change and surprise, but one companion was constant―a voice inside his head that helped him find the right course of action to keep him alive. To this day Fred doesn’t know what it was exactly, but it may have had something to do with that dang rosary! Though he survived Vietnam, Fred was changed in irrevocable ways. He hopes his story helps his grandchildren and other young people understand the cost of combat and the value of thinking it through before engaging in war.

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Okay-Fred-Krebsbach/dp/0989671011/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484740731&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/okay-okay-fred-krebsbach/1117164622?ean=9780989671019

 

The Juno Letters by L. W. Hewitt

JL_cover_170_70This is such a fascinating story for anyone interested in WWI and WWII, I just could not put it down.

When an unexpected parcel arrives for Lawrence Hewitt from Courseulles-sur-Mer in France, it contains letters, they are addressed to his Grandfather Andy. The letters, which were written during WWII had been discovered hidden in a small cottage in Normandy and are from Andy’s friend Antoine Bouchard, but they were never posted…

A friendship was forged in WWI between his grandfather, Private Andy Anderson and Antoine Bouchard, who although French was living in the Alsace region at the outbreak of the war and was forced to fight for Germany. Then, after WWI Andy returns home and becomes a chaplain and Antoine stays in France.

As Andy’s grandson reads the letters and researches what he finds, we are treated to an amazing insight into real life in France, between the wars and during WWII. The prejudices which existed and the secret underground work of the resistance.

However, love will find a way, and Antoine finds happiness marrying his lovely Marianne and they have a daughter, Ariéle, then their world is shattered as the cruelty of war impacts on their lives and they all find themselves faced with circumstances beyond their control.

Living in France as I do, near to Tours, which is featured in this book, the tributes are all around us to the brave young men of many nations who lost their lives, and, not too far away in Normandy are the Juno landings beaches, and Courseulles-sur-Mer so vital during D Day on the 6th June, 1944.

It is very hard for me, even now to remember that this is a work of fiction, the depth of research and attention to detail bring alive all too horrifically the very real dangers facing collaborators during the wars and the bravery of the resistance and allies working behind enemy lines.

The question is, what happens to Antoine, Marianne and Ariéle? To find out you will have to read the book or listen to the audiobook version.

This story is a tribute to the author, Lawrence Hewitt’s Grandfather Andy. Armed with his grandfather’s personal journals which he wrote as a soldier in the Great War, the author visited Paris in 2012 and followed in his footsteps. The journey he took and his visit to the Normandy landing beaches are the inspiration behind The Juno Letters.

 

Available from Amazon in Paperback format http://www.amazon.com/The-Juno-Letters-Volume-1/dp/1500891916/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1413991889&sr=8-1

in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Juno-Letters-L-W-Hewitt-ebook/dp/B00KDRLJE6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413991889&sr=8-1&keywords=the+juno+letters

and from Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Juno-Letters-Audiobook/B00ITXVHNO/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1413992099&sr=1-1

Something Old, Something New by James R. Vance

Compelling reading.

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About the Book: Historical fiction novel, set in France depicting the conflict that still exists amongst families since the Nazi occupation of WWII. Two young sisters discover war memorabilia hidden in their grandmother’s trunk in an attic. They set out to trace their family history, an exploit that triggers devastating consequences.

About the Author: Originally from England, I now live in rural south west France. My first novels, ‘Animal Instinct’, ‘Killer Butterfly’ and ‘The Courier’ were published between 2008 and 2010. They formed a trilogy depicting the careers of two detectives. My knowledge of Cheshire and Greater Manchester is apparent in both ‘Animal Instinct’ and ‘Killer Butterfly’. The final novel of the trilogy,’The Courier’, uses my experience of working in France and London as an inspiration for the storyline. My fourth novel ‘Eight’, published in 2011,is a crime fiction novel set mostly in France, a sequel to the trilogy featuring one of the detectives and a former suspect. My knowledge of both countries enabled me to provide a backdrop for the plot. During this same period, I also wrote and published a children’s short story, ‘Goose’.

Having discovered that I live in an area swamped by a rich tapestry of war-time memories, I have since dedicated my time to unearthing stories of resistance activities in this region before the extraordinary tales disappear along with the ageing survivors of that period. My novel, ‘Les Ruines’, was my first foray into the genre of historical fiction. After researching local sites and listening to personal recollections of French Resistance exploits during WWII, I produced a mysterious tale of tragic events involving betrayal, retribution and chaos during the fragmented liberation of France. The novel was exhibited at the London Book Fair 2012 and a version of the novel in French will be available towards the end of 2013.

In April 2013, I published my next historical fiction project, ‘Risk’, about agents of the Special Operations Executive who organised evaders’ escape lines from occupied France during the Second World War. Combining romance and tragedy, the novel will have subtle links to ‘Les Ruines’. To learn more about these wartime exploits, I became a member of E.L.M.S. the Escape Lines Memorial Society, based in the U.K.

Our path through life, right from the beginning is composed of a series of small events. These, sometimes imperceptibly, cause change and each of these seemingly insignificant junctions cause a ripple effect, the results of which shape our lives. Sometimes, these junctions are hidden innocently, impossible for foresee and with no apparent ability to affect our future.

The story, which Elodie Arnaud recounts, starts innocently enough with her sister Monique’s fascination with the quaint English bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Soon to be married to Gerard Thiebaud, the determined Monique convinces her sister Elodie to go with her into the attic and find their grandmother’s trunk. Monique reasoned that surely, there must be something, which she could use; however, nothing could have prepared them for the repercussions that simple action caused. 

Their grandmother, Marie Lafond had lived in Montauban, a large town in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of France during WW2, and during the war, she had been only a teenager, with a teenager’s perspective on life. The decisions she made and events in Oradour-sur-Glane, a village in the department of Haute-Vienne, are the substance of this book.

The Oradour-sur-Glane lived in today, is new, and built on the orders of Charles de Gaulle after WW2. The original village, which Marie would have known, stands as a permanent memorial and museum to the 642 men, women and children, slaughtered by the 2nd Panzer Division of the German SS on the 10th June 1944.

If you live in a rural community anywhere in the world, you accept that they are very close knit, with memories which are carried down through the generations. I live in rural France where the war is still so apparent both in monuments and remembrance days in every village; the horror of their lives through occupation and the work of the resistance, are very plain to see, even now.

This book is a beautifully written chronicle of the life of one family through three generations. The author, through meticulous research has given the reader a wonderful insight into what it would have been like to grow up and live in France under occupation.

Through Elodie and Monique’s discoveries and reflections, we learn how the outlook of modern generations has changed, on the surface, but then memories for some people, run deep.

Lest We Forget…

 Available in Paperback from Amazon

[.com] http://www.amazon.com/Something-Old-New-James-Vance/dp/184961198X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394808625&sr=8-1&keywords=something+old%2C+something+new+by+james+r+vance

[.co.uk] http://www.amazon.co.uk/Something-Old-New-James-Vance/dp/184961198X/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

[.fr] http://www.amazon.fr/Something-Old-New-James-Vance/dp/184961198X/ref=sr_1_4?s=english-books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394808784&sr=1-4&keywords=something+old%2C+something+new

 and Barnes & Noble in Paperback  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-old-something-new-james-r-vance/1118715231?ean=9781849611985

Through These Doors – The Manoir at Bout L’Abbé by Diane Condon-Boutier

A fascinating story.

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About the book: If these old walls could talk, would you listen? When a house has a story to tell, historical events to relate and lives to share, it should be given a voice; especially when the house is French and possesses a certain “je ne sais quoi”.
“Through These Doors: the Manoir at Bout L’Abbé” tells of the German occupation of Normandy during WWII and the scars left on their unwilling French hosts. A fragile coexistence between the factions struggling for control of Normandy is born, while internal conflicts between certain German officers and their Nazi leaders complicate the impossible relationship between a young French girl and the soldier she finds herself drawn to.
It also speaks of Debra, the American woman who convinces her French husband to buy the manor house in the 1980’s. She finds herself listening to whispers of previous occupants and being accused of insanity because of it. Still, the house will not be silent and Debra submits to its dubious support as her stormy relationship unfolds.

About Diane Condon-Boutier: Diane Condon-Boutier was born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1961. Youngest daughter of a junk food factory shipping manager and a librarian, her favorite activity to this day, is reading a book while eating potato chips. Earning a B.A. from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, in French language studies, history and culture left Diane with a penchant for long walks on sunny beaches and crazy rollercoaster rides in theme parks animated by very large mice.Thus, it is not surprising that an internship to France aiming to perfect the art of French slang resulted in an undying love for the country itself and all things French. Diane calls Normandy her home today. She lives in the countryside outside the lovely port city of Dieppe, where she revels in a daily dose of history and the unique culture the French take for granted.She shares a creaky old house with a few too many spiders and two cats, sometimes harboring one or the other of her adult daughters: Rebecca and Abigail. Their home, named “Le Clos du Hérisson” or in English: “Hedgehog Close” is available for rental under a B&B basis. These rooms are mostly spider free.Diane is also the author of a well followed travel website: www.france-vacations-made-easy.com, as well as several short stories, one of which was published in the Goodreads anthology “Ménage à Twenty”.Her début historical novel: “Through These Doors, the Manoir at Bout L’Abbé” tells of lives spent in her part of Normandy, from contemporary times back through the pages of history to the Middle Ages. It is the first in a series.

 

Those of us, who love old houses, will admit to standing in them, and wondering what tales the house could tell – if only it were possible.

This story, unusually, does just that, and the property in question is the Manoir at Bout L’Abbe in Normandy, France. A majestic building like this, set in its own grounds, would have many tales to tell, for such an imposing building, in times gone by, would need regular maintenance, staff to look after its grounds and animals, indeed, such a property would have supported, at one time, many workers.

The story begins in 1987, when young American, Debra, moves into the house with her French husband Phillippe. The house welcomes the happy newlyweds and in time children, however, over the years, things change with unforeseeable consequences…

However, a house of this age can look back a lot further than that, and earlier in the 20th Century, it had been occupied by German troops in WW2. In a fly on the wall way, the house gives the reader a fascinating glimpse into life in wartime France and through the lives of the Fournier family, we have a chance to perhaps understand a little of the emotional strains of war on the French.

The author has brilliantly described the beauty of the French countryside and its wonderful buildings. Through her historical research and attention to detail, she has produced a very interesting and totally absorbing book. Whether you are interested in France, the war, history, or just want to read a good story, I can thoroughly recommend this book.

Available from Amazon.co.uk in Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbbe/dp/1478255560/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbb%C3%A9-ebook/dp/B008ND8742/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392891520&sr=1-1&keywords=Through+these+doors

Amazon.com in Kindle format  http://www.amazon.com/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbb%C3%A9-ebook/dp/B008ND8742/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392827065&sr=1-1&keywords=Through+These+Doors

and Amazon.fr in Paperback http://www.amazon.fr/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbbe/dp/1478255560/ref=sr_1_2?s=english-books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392891656&sr=1-2&keywords=through+these+doors

 

 

 

Forebears by John Needham

NEW RELEASE

A fascinating story of discovery spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries.

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About the book:  When Jay Harding is given his grandmother June’s diary after her death he discovers a vivid picture depicting one Englishwoman’s life from childhood during the dark times of wartime Britain up to the present day. But he’s already learned dark secrets. Prior to her passing his grandmother had told him the story of her forebears beginning in the early optimistic years of the twentieth century, before the world was torn apart by the cataclysm of the first terrible ‘war to end all wars.’ That account gave testimony to shocking abuse, institutional cruelty and tragedy. Now he reads on . . .

As Jay journeys through the rich tapestry of his family history we find that in many ways it’s the reader’s own. For every family has a story to be told. Intertwined threads of earlier lives influence who we become. Jay sees his ancestors’ histories in handwritten pages yellowed with age; in sepia and black-and-white pictures dulled by time; in a poignant remembrance of lost love in a silver frame; has heard it told in his grandmother’s voice, tremulous in her decline. In exploring his forebears’ histories, Jay finds the rich echoes of the past resonating with his love-blessed present, inspiring him to meet the future.

Several themes run in parallel through this rich novel: the repercussions of sexual abuse, the continuum of female sexual reproduction, the woman’s view of fighting wars and running the world and the changing social mores throughout the twentieth century. It is a compelling social and family history; that of so many families of the last one-hundred-and-five years.

————–

This story starts with Jay, standing in the church at the funeral of his Grandmother, June. After the wake, his Granddad offers him the opportunity to read his Grandmother’s diaries, which she has kept since she was a child.

That night, Jay and his partner Helen snuggle up together and open one of the journals….

As they begin turning the pages, they find themselves drawn back through the years to June’s childhood. But then another, parallel narrative appears: we are taken back two more generations to begin with June’s own grandmother. The story spans 105 years, and follows generations of the same family, down the female line, starting with Juniper, an attractive young woman who becomes a Governess in 1906. Her life, like so many others was moulded by circumstances beyond her control. When World War 1 started, everyone, including her boyfriend was sure it would be over by Christmas, but unfortunately, as we know it was not, and our glimpse into her life gives a wonderful insight into what living before, during and after the First World War was really like.

As the story progresses, I found it fascinating to read about the changes in attitudes, fashions and morals throughout the 20th and into the 21st Century.

At the end there is the opportunity to sample the authors debut novel ‘Convergence’, which is about Martin, one of the characters in this book.

This, in my opinion would make a good book for students of Modern History to read, or anyone interested in family life in the 20th and 21st Century. Within its pages you will find it all, love, life, birth death, the full gamut of emotions. At the very end there is a satisfying, surprise plot twist.

Available at Amazon.com in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Forebears-John-Needham-ebook/dp/B00IAZX3Y2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392033154&sr=8-1&keywords=Forebears+by+john+needham

and Amazon.co.uk also in Kindle format http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forebears-John-Needham-ebook/dp/B00IAZX3Y2/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

Forebears by John Needham

A review pre-release of a fascinating story of discovery spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries.

A fascinating story.

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This story starts with Jay, standing in the church at the funeral of his Grandmother, June. After the wake, his Granddad offers him the opportunity to read his Grandmother’s diaries, which she has kept since she was a child.

That night, Jay and his partner Helen snuggle up together and open one of the journals….

As they begin turning the pages, they find themselves drawn back through the years to June’s childhood.  But then another, parallel narrative appears: we are taken back two more generations to begin with June’s own grandmother.

The story spans 105 years, and follows generations of the same family, down the female line, starting with Juniper, an attractive young woman who becomes a Governess in 1906. Her life, like so many others was moulded by circumstances beyond her control. When World War 1 started, everyone, including her boyfriend was sure it would be over by Christmas, but unfortunately, as we know it was not, and our glimpse into her life gives a wonderful insight into what living before, during and after the First World War was really like.

As the story progresses, I found it fascinating to read about the changes in attitudes, fashions and morals throughout the 20th and into the 21st Century.

At the end there is the opportunity to sample the authors debut novel ‘Convergence’, which is about Martin, one of the characters in this book.

This, in my opinion would make a good book for students of Modern History to read, or anyone interested in family life in the 20th and 21st Century. Within its pages  you will find it all, love, life, birth death, the full gamut of emotions. At the very end there is a satisfying, surprise plot twist.

Life-ology 101: If All Else Fails, Smile by Michael Soward

Now released as an Audio Book via the link below.

Thought provoking reflections on life.

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This story begins in Arkansas with the nine-year-old Michael, and his younger brother, abandoned by their father, living with their strict grandmother who regularly beats them. The family attend church regularly, he discovers at a young age, he has a gift for playing the organ and it is the beginning of a lifelong love of music.

In 1969,after working hard in the cotton fields, at eighteen he finally ‘escapes’ to live with relatives in Kansas City. Moving to the big city has a profound effect on the young man from the Deep South, especially at such a time of change, the age of drugs, sex and rock and roll had definitely arrived.

The story, which follows, is of one man’s journey, his marriage, fatherhood, hopes, dreams and foibles’. It is frank and honest, brutally so sometimes. He openly talks about his relationship with his father, the driving forces in his life and the leaps of faith, which have made him into the man he is today. Throughout, this book runs a vein of the author’s deep religious belief and his faith in God, the importance of his church and love of music, which has sustained him through times of deep despair.

I have always loved reading memoirs, catching a glimpse into peoples’ lives and discovering the experiences, which have made them the person they are today. This is a very honestly written book, interesting and thought provoking, the journey of a young boy from the Deep South who ends up a father and grandfather living in New York, and all the bits in-between.

 Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Author: Michael Soward, music producer of cutting edge music for almost 30 years, has released his first novel, “Life-ology 101”. The book is receiving acclaim nation-wide for being an inspirational story of transformation and the power of the smile.His mother died in a hospital when he was two months of becoming two years old. His grandmother then takes him along with his younger brother to her hometown of Blytheville, Arkansas where she would raise them.He then shares how his early life in the south along with grandmother Eva’s constant beatings and whippings came to scare and affect him so deeply mentally, physically, and spiritually later in life.He experienced many trials and tribulations that many an African American faced by the nature of their skin color rather than for who they were or what they did. But American society was evolving and with Michael Soward’s indomitable spirit he overcame these obstacles by sticking to his philosophy of smiling into the face of adversity and never giving in. He eventually discovers that smiling would become one of the great medicines of his life as a powerful future would continue to unfold.
Michael Soward currently lives and serves in New York as an independent nationwide consultant for aspiring Gospel and Jazz artist and writers. He continues to help build careers and recording products within these industries through his persistence, knowledge of these markets, promotion and marketing skills.
Want to know more?
and take a look at his page in the Meet the Authors section of this site.

Available from:

Amazon: Hardcover http://www.amazon.com/Life-Ology-101-Else-Fails-Smile/dp/1483695107/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1384855052&sr=8-1

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Life-Ology-101-Else-Fails-Smile/dp/1483695093/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1384855052&sr=8-1&keywords=life+ology+101

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Life-ology-101-Else-Fails-Smile-ebook/dp/B00FF40FHO/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1384855052

Barnes & Noble: Paperback and as a NOOK book  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-ology-101-michael-soward/1116947771?ean=9781483695099

Google: http://books.google.fr/books?id=sRXUAQAAQBAJ&hl=fr&sitesec=reviews

Foyles Paperback: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/lifeology-101-if-all-else-fails-smile,soward-michael-9781483695099
Foyles Hardback: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/lifeology-101-if-all-else-fails-smile,soward-michael-9781483695105

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/170631307/Life-ology-101

And now on Audible: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Ology-101-Else-Fails-Smile/dp/B00HUGK63I/ref=tmm_aud_title_0

Extraction by Gerald Patrick

An action packed adventure.

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About Gerald Patrick:

Coming of age in tumultious times, Gerald Patrick has mixed life’s experiences with an imagination and actuality to spin a tale of intrigue fullfilling a challenge to himself.

Conscripted into the United States Army in 1969, Gerald relates trials of being an infantry soldier from the jungles of Vietnam, to the post war street drugs that continue to plague our society today.

Raised by a single parent in Detroit, he credits the never quit attitude of the working class to move himself through life and strive to always do more.

Privatized into leaving a 28 year career as a public school maintenance woker, he began this personal endeavor while relocating to rebound from a career change.

As with true life’s events, Gerald takes us through harrowing times of his characters and proves love and work combine to overcome the worst of times living presents.

 

About the book:  Inside the unforgiving jungles of the Amazon rain forest a Bolivian drug lord and human trafficker, Eduardo Enrique, adds the daughter of a United States Congressman to his “collection” of women. Major Dominic Lopez, is tasked to lead a unique squad of Special Forces into the the mercenary protected jungle to extract the women from his clutches and end the tyranny perpetrated on the souls of innocent lives. Even when it appears the forces of nature turn against the commander, he finds the means necessary to assure the mission’s success.

 

Review by Susan Keefe

 

The book opens with Captain Lopez, U.S. Special Forces hiding deep in the Amazon jungle, watching – the object of his observations is Eduardo Enrique, Bolivian drug lord and human trafficker.

Eduardo is a self-made man, a man who has learnt his lessons in the school of life and hard knocks. Having built up his empire with the help of his lifelong friend Benito, he is now rich, living the life of a playboy feeling secure in the knowledge that he’s surrounded by loyal staff and mercenaries, after all, is there anything money can’t buy?

With the scars of his life visible for all to see, and never having been a handsome man, he learns the hard way that women will use him, take advantage of his money, but in the end, they leave. However, a man with his extensive resources at his fingertips is not going to let this interfere with his fun, there are ways round everything, you just have to apply your mind and eventually a solution becomes apparent.

Then a U.S. Representatives daughter, celebrating her graduation with friends goes missing on holiday in Cancun, Mexico, her disappearance draws the attention of those in high places and her name is added to an existing list of missing women.

Politics is a clever game, politicians are always looking for opportunities, never missing the chance to shine as a hero to the American people, to stand out and be remembered for doing good. This is one such occasion, and combined with the added accolade of being seen to make a stand against the world of drug smuggling, its importance cannot be missed. Soon those who are in charge are making plans and the newly promoted Major Lopez, a man who is already up to speed with the subject, is given the task of handpicking a team of top Special Forces operatives to join him in this mission.

Soon the team find themselves deep in the heart of Bolivia, far into the Amazon rainforest, their mission underway, aware that they will be facing danger, both from nature and the powerful drug lord whose domain they are about to enter…

Written by an ex soldier, the military detail in this book is extensive and fascinating. I found myself transported deep into this dangerous world by the author’s highly descriptive writing and absorbing storyline in this action packed exciting epic novel.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback and eBook at

Friesen Press http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000003459954

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Extraction-ebook/dp/B008VDMB1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379519630&sr=1-1&keywords=extraction+by+gerald+patrick

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/extraction-gerald-patrick/1112511509?ean=9781770977471

Ebookpie.com https://ebookpie.com/ebooks/459713-extraction#