Category Archives: Book Review

Through Smoke-Teared Eyes: A Review

Through Smoke-Teared Eyes: The Vietnam War I Fought 

by Johnny F. Pugh


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Through Smoke-Teared Eyes certainly brought a tear to my eye, and once I started reading, it was tough to put down. At the same time, it was sometimes hard to continue because of the emotional responses reading this book invoked.  I have always enjoyed military history, especially WWII and the Vietnam War. And, I have read many books on these two topics, both non-fiction and fiction. This book is undoubtedly one of the best works I have read on the war in Vietnam because of the painfully brutal honesty contained within its pages.

Written by Johnny Pugh as a catharsis to deal with the demons of his past war experiences, Through Smoke-Teared Eyes: The Vietnam War I Fought, is a must-read, for anyone who wants to try and understand the enlisted army infantryman’s experience during the war in Vietnam. It crossed my mind that this might be a difficult read for Vietnam veterans who shared similar experiences. But despite that, I think it is a book from which they too, would get a great deal.

Through Smoke-Teared Eyes is authentic and accurate …

Before purchasing this book, I read the review of Through Smoke-Teared Eyes by another Vietnam Veteran who served in the same unit (A Co, 2 Bn, 27th Infantry Regiment) as the author. He stated that while he did not remember Johnny Pugh, the book is factually accurate. This reviewer went on to say that Johnny Pugh even details the conflict where one of his best friends was killed in action. It is clear from that fellow Vietnam veteran’s review this book portrays its story accurately and honestly, and I have read enough Vietnamese war history also to know that this is the case.

While the vast majority of American servicemen served with honor during their time in Vietnam, we all know atrocities were committed on both sides. And, while good officers served in Vietnam, history has shown us that the Vietnam War was grossly mismanaged by too many poorly trained officers, often more concerned with political influence than the welfare of their men.  The effect this had on the enlisted soldier serving during this war is demonstrated in this moving narrative.

Author and Vietnam Veteran, Johnny F. Pugh

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Johnny F. Pugh, Vietnam Veteran
and Author

Johnny Pugh writes with heartfelt honesty, and his prose and poems will keep you riveted throughout the book. His work was published posthumously by his wife, Cristina after Johnny succumbed to cancer linked to his time in Vietnam and Agent Orange. Cristina’s feelings and comments about her husband’s experience are indeed heartfelt and understandable. We owe her a debt of gratitude for making sure that his story became available for us to share. If you have any interest in military history, this book should be in your library. I gave this book a 5 Star review, and it now holds a special place in my library.

While I served in the U.S. Army, I was a little too young for Vietnam. However, I have several great friends who served in Vietnam. One recently passed away due to cancer … probably associated with his multiple tours in Vietnam. That made this book even more emotionally relevant to me as a reader.

Through Smoke-Teared Eyes: The Vietnam War I Fought received the top prize at the 2018 San Francisco Book Festival.


If you also enjoy military action/thrillers, check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot! It is getting great reviews!  Also, check other great posts and book reviews here!

A guide to positive life transformation!

Habits: Your life-changing guide. How to transform your mind, body & life. The 21 Day Plan

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Wouldn’t it be great to see a positive transformation in your mind, body, and life in just 21 days?
Can you succeed in 21 days? While it certainly can take longer, depending on circumstances and personality, to form lasting habits, studies show that 21 days is a reasonable minimum to begin establishing your new healthier lifestyle. Just view these 21 days as the first in a series of small consistent steps toward a new, happier, and healthier you.

At its core, transforming your life is about taking responsibility for the areas of your life over which you have control. However, this book is not about quick fixes. Real transformation is about working through your “storms” to become stronger. It is about developing an attitude of mastery over yourself.

Dr. Vidhya Kumaranayakam has developed a robust program designed to kick start your personal transformation!

In Habits: Your life-changing guide, How to transform your mind, body & life, Dr. Kumaranayakam shares her professional perspective as an experienced Doctor and Clinical Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities on creating positive habits in your life. As a Board Member and Lecturer for the esteemed Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr. Kumaranayakam brings real expertise to her 21-day kick start program.
In this fantastic book, Dr. Kumaranayakam outlines her remarkable program. This program is designed to help the reader develop new positive daily routines, better self-discipline, and healthier eating habits. It is a program she developed, tested, and succeeded with herself

In Habits: Your life-changing guide, you will learn:

• How to achieve a transformational mindset.

• Secrets to reducing stress.

• Training habits designed to awaken your inner warrior.

• Guidelines and recipes for deliciously healthy eating.

• Keys to creating new and healthier life habits.

• How to leverage your new habits to maintain your transformational process.

My thoughts …

While I have not actually tried the author’s program, it does seem to be practical, and based in real medical science blended with a holistic approach to healthier living. I may give this program a try and see what happens!


About the author

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Dr Vidhya Kumaranayakam is a Medical Doctor in the UK with over 10 years of clinical experience. Vidhya trained at Barts and The London Medical School. She has a background in Academic Medical Education, and has served as an Examiner and Lecturer for several London Medical Schools.

Currently, Dr. Kumaranayakam is a practicing GP and works in the National Health Service (NHS) based in London, previously having been a Partner for 5 years. Vidhya sits on the board and is a Lecturer for a Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Dr. Kumaranayakam also serves as the Clinical Director for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities, Audit, London Hospital contracts, Medicines and Research and other disciplines, for a North West London NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

She is passionate about promoting mental health, a healthy lifestyle, functional and integrative medicine, and practices mindfulness regularly.

In addition, Vidhya enjoys spending time with her family, cooking healthy food, dancing, singing, and travelling.  When not researching resilience and positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and lifestyle medicine, she enjoys watching re-runs of the Fresh Prince of Bel-air.

Coming soon! A link to buy will be posted as soon as available!

ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Book Review

ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier

On the Battlefield: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier tells the incredible story of one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated combat generals.  

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Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam is one of Ethiopia’s greatest military leaders. General Habtemariam’s career spanned three decades and survived three different Ethiopian governments. From 1964 to 1991, he commanded troops on the battlefield in nearly every engagement in which the Ethiopian military saw action.

Drawing on his wartime journals, notes, letters and memories, Habtemariam discusses his childhood and military career. From working with Israeli commandos to form a new “Special Forces” unit to establishing the Anti-hijacking Office.  From training several Ethiopian Airborne Battalions to commanding several large units, Habtemariam served his country as only a true patriot would.

This fascinating memoir details military actions on the battlefield as well as covert operations behind enemy lines and includes detailed diagrams, battle plans, and photographs. General Habtemariam shares details of the heroic escape in which he and his few remaining men, half-starved and out of ammunition, prepared to fight to the death. Charging the enemy position with fixed bayonets, they discover it suddenly abandoned. The enemy just pulled out! Now, instead of dying in battle, they find themselves struggling to cross a dangerous desert wasteland to rejoin their forces … hopefully living to fight another day.

Tesfaye Habtemariam took part in eight major battles. He later commanded a battalion in the Special Forces, the 18th Mountaineer Division, and the Airborne Training School.  Finally, he became the Army Commander of the Tewodros Force. Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam received the “Hero of Ethiopia” medal from a grateful nation after thirty years of selfless sacrifice and service to his country.

If you enjoy military history, this is one book you will definitely want in your collection.

A fascinating read!

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I received an advance release copy of this book and found it to be a fascinating read. It provided a window into a military history I previously knew so little about. This book is not just the memoir of an Ethiopian military general and hero. It is also  the story of Ethiopia’s attempts to rebuild itself. Ethiopia struggled to reshape and regain its independence from European administration after the Italian invasion and occupation during World War II.

In addition it is also a story about sacrifice, honor, victory and yes, even defeat. It is about bureaucratic incompetence, individual heroics, and a people willing to die to defend their brothers-in-arms and their country.

There is an interesting flair to the  narrative. This  makes it a different yet enjoyable read. Originally written by Tesfaye Habtemariam in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, it was later translated into English. Therefore, the prose has a unique character, but is very clear and easy to read.  I give this book 5 Stars and recommend it to anyone interested in military history.

Soon to be released

ON THE BATTLEFIELD is now out in Kindle and paperback. 

Check out other great posts and book reviews here!

Another Five Star Review for Serpents Underfoot

Yep! That’s another five star review!

Thank you, DD Gott, for the fantastic five star review of Serpents Underfoot. 


What did I like? This is the first book that I have read from this author, but I was struck with the realism of the storyline. He truly knew his subject and characters and brought them to life with the stroke of his pen/computer. The reality of the storyline hit me like a ton of bricks. It seems like this was written as an episode of today’s life. Being an animal lover and knowing a little about working dogs, I was very impressed with the information and the use of his K9 partner, it was awesome.


What will you like? Extreme action, passionate characters, powerful storyline, well written, strong and yet touching with many lives put into action and learning curves. Well thought out and shows the intense research in every page from the martial arts to the life of the military. Action and reality make this an explosive action thriller for your next read.

 
~ DD Gott
five star
Have your ordered yours?

How’s that for a great five star review!  You can read the whole review here.


Adirondack Bear Tales

In addition, keep an eye out for my upcoming new release! It is a wonderful collection of Adirondack Bear Tales based on real life encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.  These delightful family stories are enjoyable for adults and suitable for all ages. They would even make great bedtime stories for young children. It is not a long book … 11 short stories … but the stories vary between humorous, exciting, and even sad. Above all, they are very entertaining. 

Likewise, if you have the time, I would love to get your help on selecting the cover for this book. I have two versions and like them both.

Please click here to tell me which cover you like better.

Another 5 Star Review for Serpents Underfoot!

Thank you, DeeDee, for the awesome 5 star review!

Serpents Underfoot just received another outstanding 5 Star review on Amazon.com. Thank you, DeeDee, for the wonderful review. It really means a great deal!


Outstanding! A Definite Must Read for Lovers of History, Action and All Military Folk … Past & Present

5 star

I loved this book — a lot! I got this book a couple of months ago but just started reading it last week. Result was I wished I had put it at the top of my book list when I got it. Literally once I started, I couldn’t put it down and I can’t remember the last time I not only could say that, but actually read a book well into the night. Reason was it was so interesting. I just had to see what would happen next. I found Mr Gilbert’s character development and overall story integration amazing. This book and what it was about just was so well done it gripped me. So I very strongly recommend this book!!  ~DeeDee

While chasing reviews should not become an end to itself, a good review certainly means a great deal to an author. It certainly does to me. I still remember just how much it meant to me when I got that first review from a stranger who enjoyed my book, and I realized that people (who, shall we say, were not biased in anyway) were actually enjoying what I had written.

There is also no question that the more good reviews a book has, the more other prospective readers will be inclined to purchase and read the book!

If you like a good counter-terrorism, military action/thriller with a touch of romance, I hope you will consider checking Serpents Underfoot out! I really don’t think you will be disappointed. When you’re finished reading it, please leave a review! I would really love to hear what you thought.

Cold War Book Review: The Last Saturday of October

I grew up during the cold war era, so I looked forward to reading this book. I am just a bit too young to actually remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.  After all, I was two-years-old at the time. However, the story was pretty well-known and often a topic of conversation by people around me during my younger years. Despite that, reading this book was quite a shock. What really floored me while reading The Last Saturday of October, was how much we did not know.

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A Historic Cold War Thriller

This story is a thriller and a historical bombshell. Written from the point of view of the Russians, the story is meticulously researched with much of the information only declassified in recent years. The characters are real and so well developed that you actually become part of the conversation and part of the story. You have the very real feeling that you too are on the submarine, and experiencing the same wet, cold, fear, discomfort, and uncertainty that the crew of submarine B-59 was dealing with. 

What is truly extraordinary is the fact that, if not for the last minute moral decisions of a few Russian men, and especially Vasili Arkhipov, the world today would be very different. Many do not know just how dangerously close we came to nuclear war. It was a unique moment when that realization dawned on me.

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Read The Last Saturday of October

Douglas C Gilbert (no relation) clearly knows his subject matter and probably has first-hand naval training or experience. I would certainly not be at all surprised to learn the author served a few years in the U.S. Navy.  The dialogue and terminology ring very true throughout the story. The research and documentation are very impressive.

The Last Day of October is a must read for history buffs, military history enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys well-written historical fiction. I give this book 5 out of 5 Stars and highly recommend it!

If you think you might enjoy The Last Day of October, you might also want to check out Serpents Underfoot!

Mary Enck: A Review of Serpents Underfoot

Thank you, Mary Enck, for your fantastic review!

Mary Enck is the author of, A King in Time II.

Mary Enck attended UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She enjoys reading Fantasy and Science Fiction and has a new love for Mystery/Thrillers. Latest character crush is Jack Reacher. A native of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and lives in Colorado Springs with her family, a Lab/Dane doggo who says her name is Gillie, and two cats, Lucky and Tuxedo.

Being a long-time fan of the Arthurian legend and having read several versions during my life, I certainly am going to have to read hers as well. In fact, I just started reading it. I am sure there will be a post about A King In Time on here in a little while.

However, the purpose of this post is to thank her for her fantastic and thoughtful review of Serpents Underfoot. Her review left me humbled and speechless.

 

Three Quotes from Mary’s Review of Serpents Underfoot

Author, D. C. Gilbert, takes the reader back to a time that has passed into history. While the era is overshadowed by so much that is happening today, at such a rapid pace, this story reflects how little we have advanced in all this time. We remain in conflict with humans, inflexible in their beliefs.

 

The characters are very strong in their individuality. Again, it is interesting to see the contrasts drawn between the West and influences from another time and another faraway place. I became related to the good guys in this book. I enjoyed their personalities and like them very much.

 

There is a lot of delving into the way of things such as martial arts, Navy Seals and their working dogs, which I especially liked. To me, if there is an animal in a novel significant to the story, it is a relief from the more severe issues that come up.

 

If interested, you can read the complete review here.

 

The novel, Serpents Underfoot, is available in Kindle format for only $3.99.  I hope you will give it a read!