Fans of all things martial will echo his “HOOYAH!”—but the troubled aftermath comes in for some attention too.

I AM A SEAL TEAM SIX WARRIOR

MEMOIRS OF AN AMERICAN SOLDIER

Abridged but not toned down, this young-readers version of an ex-SEAL sniper’s account (SEAL Team Six, 2011) of his training and combat experiences in Operation Desert Storm and the first Battle of Mogadishu makes colorful, often compelling reading.

“My experiences weren’t always enjoyable,” Wasdin writes, “but they were always adrenaline-filled!” Not to mention testosterone-fueled. He goes on to ascribe much of his innate toughness to being regularly beaten by his stepfather as a child and punctuates his passage through the notoriously hellacious SEAL training with frequent references to other trainees who fail or drop out. He tears into the Clinton administration (whose “support for our troops had sagged like a sack of turds”), indecisive commanders and corrupt Italian “allies” for making such a hash of the entire Somalian mission. In later chapters he retraces his long, difficult physical and emotional recovery from serious wounds received during the “Black Hawk Down” operation, his increasing focus on faith and family after divorce and remarriage and his second career as a chiropractor.

Fans of all things martial will echo his “HOOYAH!”—but the troubled aftermath comes in for some attention too. (acronym/ordinance glossary, adult level reading list) (Memoir. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-01643-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy.

BONNIE AND CLYDE

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

A portrait of two victims of the Great Depression whose taste for guns and fast cars led to short careers in crime but longer ones as legends.

Blumenthal (Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2016, etc.) makes a determined effort to untangle a mare’s nest of conflicting eyewitness accounts, purple journalism, inaccurate police reports, and self-serving statements from relatives and cohorts of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Though the results sometimes read as dry recitations of names and indistinguishable small towns, she makes perceptive guesses about what drove them and why they have become iconic figures, along with retracing their early lives, two-year crime spree, and subsequent transformations into doomed pop-culture antiheroes. She does not romanticize the duo—giving many of their murder victims faces through individual profiles, for instance, and describing wounds in grisly detail—but does convincingly argue that their crimes and characters (particularly Bonnie’s) were occasionally exaggerated. Blumenthal also wrenchingly portrays the desperation that their displaced, impoverished families must have felt while pointedly showing how an overtaxed, brutal legal system can turn petty offenders into violent ones. A full version of Bonnie’s homespun ballad “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and notes on the subsequent lives of significant relatives, accomplices, and lawmen join meaty lists of sources and interviews at the end.

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy. (photos, timeline, author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47122-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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PICK AND SHOVEL POET

THE JOURNEYS OF PASCAL D’ANGELO

In 1910, Pascal D’Angelo and his father left the harsh Abruzzi region of Italy to escape its impossible poverty and journey to the United States; Pascal was 16 years old. Murphy, a graceful narrator of history, presents the life of the peasant as he journeyed through life in the new country. He never became wealthy or even comfortable, but did leave an impression with his poetry—and this from a man who became literate in English as an adult, largely self-taught (and librarians will be delighted to know that they helped him). D’Angelo also wrote an autobiography, Son of Italy, relating to life as an immigrant and the hard—largely pick-and-shovel—work he did to earn a scant living. Such a telling should resonate when readers think about why people come to a new country where they do not speak the language, do not know the customs, and too often are alone, even (or especially) today. The protagonist does not come through as a sharp personality; he is somewhat shadowy against the times and places of his life. He stands out as a symbol rather than a full person. But his accomplishments are certainly large. Archival photos are interesting but sometimes captions are non-indicative; what do they mean? When and where were they taken? There are two photos of D’Angelo. As usual, Murphy provides details that help set the story. A biography of a common man that is also the history of a civilization and its times. (index and bibliography) (Biography. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-77610-4

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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