Sincere, compelling and well-intentioned.

WINGS OF TRU LOVE

A WWII B17 BALL-TURRET GUNNER MEMOIR

Drinnon’s earnest account of serving in the Air Force during World War II.

Drinnon recounts his time with the tightknit crew of a Boeing B17G, nicknamed “Tru Love,” with whom he flew 34 combat missions in war-torn Europe. From his humble beginnings as a shy farmer’s son in Tennessee, Drinnon joins the Air Force against the wishes of his parents and is exposed to new people, new ways of thinking and new challenges. Through several twists of fate, he is assigned to the Tru Love crew, where he learns many valuable lessons in loyalty, bravery and trust. Drinnon serves as a gunner, and he presents an insider’s look at how it felt to spend so much time in a cramped, dangerous space. Especially interesting is his first experience of shooting down another plane: “Here I was, a barely twenty year-old man, yet still a twenty year-old kid faced with his first shooting gun battle who had never before fired on another human being. What should I do?...[W]hat would ‘they’ say if there is no ammunition used from my cans?” Unlike other Greatest Generation memoirs, Drinnon’s slim book is utterly without pretension, and he doesn’t glorify himself, his companions or the war. His humility and capacity for self-reflection make the book a compelling read, punctuated with admissions of battle fear and struggles to readjust to civilian life that are often absent from similar books. War as personal growth through exploration and emotion rather than aggression is a particularly intriguing theme, as Drinnon tells of small moments such as using a telephone and eating lobster for the first time. Prayers, luck and randomness also figure big, and the author chalks up many of his exploits to chance rather than patriotism or God. All of this makes for an original and heartwarming read. The book is augmented with numerous photographs, Army manuals and technical specs of the plane and its mechanics, which help the reader understand the occasional tech-heavy parts of the book. If Drinnon can be faulted for anything, it’s for sometimes skimming the surface, and the book could easily be a longer, more in-depth look at his experience. Though seemingly written primarily for the surviving members of the Tru Love crew, this book is sure to interest WWII and Air Force aficionados.

Sincere, compelling and well-intentioned.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-1465397751

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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