A must-read for military members and their families that is sure to appeal to patriotic Americans of all stripes.

SACRED DUTY

A SOLDIER'S TOUR AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

An Arkansas senator and Bronze Star recipient delivers a first book full of information, history, and remarkable facts about true heroes.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, aka the Old Guard, is the oldest active-duty regiment in the Army. “Since 1948,” writes Cotton, who served in the 3rd between combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, “the Old Guard has served at Arlington as the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president.” Any soldier seeking to join the Old Guard must meet the highest mental, physical, and moral standards in the military, and they cannot have civil or military convictions or drug, alcohol, or financial issues. Public missions include funerals at Arlington, state funerals, presidential inaugurations, and serving as sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The recruitment of sentinels is only within the Old Guard, and the training cycle is extremely difficult. It includes learning at least 20 distinct marching movements as well as a test of stamina in which one must stand ramrod still, without bending knees or wiggling toes, maintaining ceremonial composure for 75 minutes. Though some readers may think the author provides too much detail on uniforms, procedure, and training, he explains that in the Old Guard, perfection is not just a goal, it’s an absolute. Pleats and shirt tucks are measured to the inch, stray threads are burned off, and wrinkles are unheard of. Attending multiple funerals in a day, the guard is transported by van, but they’re not allowed to sit down lest they wrinkle their uniforms. As Cotton demonstrates, the uniform prep, cleaning, insignia, and badge placement are stressed continually. Among other reasons, they meet these strict guidelines because a family only gets one funeral; it must be perfect every time. “What the Old Guard does inside the gates of Arlington,” writes the author, “is a testament to the noble truths and fierce courage that have built and sustained America.”

A must-read for military members and their families that is sure to appeal to patriotic Americans of all stripes.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286315-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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