WAR, How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan

War: How Conflict Shaped Us

Margaret MacMillan, a renowned historian looks at war. Why choose war? What does it say about us?

From the beginning, there has been war and peace. Sometimes at the same time. Everything we know and have comes from war. It brings out the worst in us and challenges our beliefs and what we hold dear.

This is a look at war from all sides. Is it in our very nature to be at war? How do we decide to go to war?

We all know that war shapes politics, values and can be destructive so why do we humans keep planning, strategizing, and declaring war? And why is it mainly men?

Some very good history here along with a lot to think about.

NetGalley/ October 06, 2020 by Random House

An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham

An Everyday Hero (A Heart of a Hero #2)

Always a pleasure to read Laura Trentham’s work. And this was exceptional.

The Story:

Greer Hadley thought by now she would be a big star in Nashville. But after a long struggle with no success, her big moment has passed her by.  At thirty she is back in the town of Madison living with her parents and making bad decisions.

She’s hurt and behaving badly. And one of those lands her in jail and standing before her Uncle Bill in court. Sentenced to community service, Greer is angry and not planning to do anything but pick up trash. But her wise uncle sends her to volunteer at a musical rehab facility for vets and their families.

The problem is Greer has lost her joy in music. So how is she going to help anyone?

Her first two challenges are a 15-year-old whose father did not come home from war. Ally is angry, hurting and acting out. Her mother isn’t handling things very well either.

Emmett was the man in high school. Handsome, athletic and expected to do big things in the military, much like his father and grandfather. But Emmett came home missing more than a limb. He lost himself. Riddled with guilt that shouldn’t be his, he is full of rage and self-loathing. How is Greer supposed to handle that?

By a twist of fate, they all may be able to save each other. Three stubborn and hurting people. Will they get a second chance?

I am so glad I was home alone when I read this. I sobbed. It was painful and uncomfortable and I am so much better for having read this.

A Five Star Read!

Well Done!

NetGalley/February 4th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

 

 

The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore

The Undertaker's Assistant

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” 

Effie Jones, once a slave, escaped a place she can not even remember as a child.
Found outside of a Union camp and taken in as a ward for an army surgeon. The Captain and his wife taught her to read and write, also how to forget her past and how to embalm bodies.

Effie’s feelings are buried so deep she appears cold and unfeeling. Leaving Indiana and returning to the last place she remembers, New Orleans, she quickly finds employment in the Re-Construction Era, 11 years after the Civil War, with an undertaker who needs her. He is a tortured drunk and Effie does all the work.

Effie maintains a distance from the other ladies at the boarding house. Not interested in anything but work and saving money. A chance meeting with a creole young lady has her learning to be comfortable with society and going to political meetings.

Things around the South are very volatile between the races and not a lot has changed for the better. After a confrontation, Effie begins to have flashes of painful memories of a holding pen and other slaves. She decides to find out who she is and where she came from.

This was a hard book to read. Not a part of our past I am proud of but these stories need to be told. I can’t imagine not knowing something as basic as your own last name. The trials and heartbreak Effie went through only made her stronger.

An exceptionally well-told tale!

NetGalley/July 30th, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

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The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks

The Orphan Mother: A Novel

Mr. Hicks has given us more of “The Widow of the South” with “The Orphan Mother”.

The year is 1867. The war is over and the South is having to adjust, including Mariah Reddick, former slave to Carrie McGavock–the “Widow of the South”. Mariah is a free woman now. She is dependent on no one and has her own home and a thriving Midwife business. She tells herself that she built the town of Franklin, Tennessee by delivering all of those lives into the world

Her only child, Theopolis, has made a name for himself as a cobbler and has ambitions that scare Mariah. He wants to be in politics and it scares Mariah to death for her child.

The book also introduces George Tole. He has never been a slave. From New York, he has always been a freeman. Quiet and secretive, no one knows too much about him or why he moved to Franklin.

When Mariah’s worst fear comes true and her son is killed, she moves back to Carrie’s and sets out on a journey to discover who murdered her son and why.

A very timely account of what times were like, not only during the summer of 1867, but all  of these things and more were happening all over the south.

As someone who grew up in the deep south during segregation and integration this was difficult to read. Because I know these things happened and it was a painful reminder.

However, I think we need to be reminded that some things may have changed, but not enough. These things and more are still happening you either don’t hear about them or choose to ignore what doesn’t concern you.

I would definitely recommend this book and I will read it again. Release Date: September 13, 2016.

I received this book from Netgalley ad the publisher in exchange for an honest review..

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Hicks has been active in the music industry in Nashville for twenty years as both a music publisher and artist manager. The driving force behind the perservation and restoration of the historic Carnton plantation in Tennessee, he stumbled upon the extraordinary role that Carrie McGavock played during and after the Battle of Franklin. He is the author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country.Robert Hicks

Bury The Living (The Revolutionary Series Book 1) by Jodi McIssac

Bury the Living (The Revolutionary Series, #1)

The Book Blurb for Bury the Living:

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. Here she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.

Our story begins in 1990 Belfast with a 15 year old Nora O’Reilly. The British may have pulled out but the war continues. A Civil War that has turned countryman against countryman. Trying to help her mother and brother, Nora agrees to do some shady things and gets in trouble with the wrong people. The same people who soon get her brother killed.

14 years later, we find Nora in Darfur,Sudan, working in a Refugee Camp. Planning a much needed bit of R & R. But she ends up back in Ireland. Having dreams of a man and an urgent need to find him. To do that she will have to suspend reality for a while. Will she find him? Can she really travel back in time and try to find this man and end the wars in her home country?

As a History buff, I enjoyed this book very much. The Irish Wars have always been a complicated subject, and difficult to understand what exactly happened and who is now fighting who.

One of my favorite types of stories are those that combine fact and fiction. There are plenty of facts and obviously some fiction, and it works wonderfully well.

Coming from an Irish family, I loved this book. Parts of it broke my heart. War is never easy to read about. But Nora is a girl after my own heart. Standing her ground and fighting for her country as well as any man.

Since this is book one in this series we know there will be more, which is a good thing.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:5826477

Jodi McIsaac is the author of the Irish contemporary fantasy series The Thin Veil (47North) the thriller A Cure for Madness (Thomas & Mercer) and the forthcoming historical Revolutionary series, starting with Bury the Living (47North).

She grew up in New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. After abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote speeches for a politician, volunteered in a refugee camp, waited tables in Belfast, earned a couple of university degrees, and started a boutique copywriting agency. She loves geek culture, running, and whiskey.

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by 47North

WAR by Sebastian Junger

 

War

Sebastian Junger, New York Times Bestseller, author of The Perfect Storm, and A Death in Belmont, as well as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair is not only the author of WAR, but also along with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, directed Restrepo, a Documentary which was nominated for an Oscar.

Over the course of 15 months, Junger, writing for Vanity Fair, was embedded with a single platoon at a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan. His objective was to convey what soldiers experience. What war really feels like.

This book is the result of 5 trips to The Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan ( also known as The Valley of Death)  between June of 2007 and June of 2008.  He worked with photojournalist Tim Hetherington sometimes and other times each went on their own. Entirely dependent on our military for everything. Their hours of videotape became the basis of the feature length documentary called Restrepo.

This book was as hard to read as it was rewarding. At some point, I was so emotional I didn’t think I could continue, but I did. The book focuses on one platoon, Battle Company and is a real and honest look at what these men go through in one of the worst places to be in Afghanistan. These are real people making life and death decisions and doing their best to just do their jobs and not get killed. The total trust they have in each other, the pain when one of their own is lost or injured. The feeling of never being able to let your guard down for an instant. Understanding the difference between Human terrain and Physical terrain. This was but one of the things I had never considered. Also that the moral basis of the war doesn’t seem to interest soldiers so much, and its long-term success or failure has a relevance of almost zero. The U.S. pulled out of The Konegal Valley in 2010.

I also watched the documentary and got to see the guys who I had only pictured in my head. As they talked about their experiences and their lost friends and there was a look in all of their eyes that made you feel like they had seen things that even they couldn’t quite face. It was a superb film.

We had a discussion on the book at our local library, as Mr. Junger is in Oklahoma this week doing several talks and signings, and I would like to thank Susan at the Del City branch for her insights into the book and the film. This is a book that needs to be shared and needs to be talked about. I encourage you all to watch the film as well as read the book.