Archive for the 'Book Reports' Category

Mark Your Calendars, DC Area/San Diego Residents! “Six Frigates” Author Events

October 7th, 2007 by xformed

Six Frigates Cover Art

Ian Toll, author of the excellent book, “Six Frigates” will be at Olsson’s Books and Records in Alexandria on 10/12/2007 for a reading signing event.On 10/19/2007, he will be at Bay Books in Coronado, CA, doing a reading and signing.

Check out excepts from Chapter 1. If you haven’t picked up this book yet, and love early American history, don’t miss this writing!

Category: Book Reports, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service | Comments Off on Mark Your Calendars, DC Area/San Diego Residents! “Six Frigates” Author Events

Book Report: “Under Enemy Colors” by S. Thomas Russell

September 9th, 2007 by xformed

Under Enemy Colors Cover Art

I’m not, by habit, a novel reader, but I was given a copy of “Under Enemy Colors” for review. It turned out to an engaging read, full of well written dialogs, and vivid descriptions of the action and the environment. Highly recommended for those looking for a good read about late 18th – early 19th century life and combat at sea aboard a British Navy Frigate.

Join the life of Charles Hayden, the First Lieutenant aboard HMS Themis, under the command of Captain Josiah Hart, who seems to hold his station in life due to his wife’s connections to the Admiralty, rather than by competence, yet he is somehow graced with a good reputation. Seen through the eyes of the Mr Hayden, the cast of characters are widely varied in their dispositions, but are painted in realistic manners, to fit well into the crew, disgruntled by the tyrannical reign of a captain who seem to avoid real conflict at any turn.

The book begins with the 1st Lt arriving at his new posting an finding the Captain gone and the ship not in adequate condition, where upon he sets himself to work to prepare the ship for the assigned mission to cruise French coast and harass shipping and ascertain the strength of their adversaries. Sailing into the Atlantic towards Brest, the story picks up speed, building rapidly on the characters developed during the tense days of refitting the ship. I wasn’t disappointed by the pace, and the twists and turns the author took me on, just when I thought I saw the course of the story.

I will admit I know little of the terminology of the sails and rigging of a multi-masted sailing vessel, but I suspect it is entirely accurate in the terminology and procedures used to tell the tale.

The book is not a dry accounting of  sailing an battles, but there are supporting threads of internal politics of the Royal Navy, alliances between men aboard ship, and the tugging of political strings to get things done, for good and for bad.

It appears, in the end of this book, there is certainly room for the story to continue in a serial manner, and I look forward to the next novel in the series.

Category: Book Reports, Military | Comments Off on Book Report: “Under Enemy Colors” by S. Thomas Russell

Gun Pr0N or Book Desecration? You Decide

July 29th, 2007 by xformed

One of the local talk show hosts had a little dust up with the Harry Potter book people. He had purchased, with his own money, a case of the most current book. He had them and a week ago Friday, said he’d have a lottery to send the books out, which would be expressed out on Friday, using overnight/Saturday delivery methods, so the books would be in the people’s hands after the selling, which began at midnight. He had passed this through his legal department and had gotten it OKed.

He announced this on his MJ Morning Show. He left after his show, but later got a call from the station management, who said the Harry Potter people had sent a local rep to confiscate the books, and…his managers had handed over his personal property, so as not to get over the breakers with the publisher in the legal realm.

Yep, he was a little incensed with this all. Anyhow, he did buy some books at midnight, then took them to the range and checked to see, when faced with various calibers, if Harry Potter lived of died in this edition.

I’m thinking 9mm from an H&K MP5 on full auto won this round…but watch the video and see what you think.

embedded by Embedded Video

More here on the story, including two more videos, mashups using “Scarface” and “Terminator 2” as backdrops and to set the mood…

Category: Book Reports, Humor | 1 Comment »

Brad Peniston of “No Higher Honor” at the National Maritime Historical Society 7/28/2007

July 27th, 2007 by xformed

Go if you can! The story of an incredible story well told in print and now an opportunity to hear the author discuss it live!

Want the book? Get it here. You can read the first chapter on line, too.

Note:  The NMHS website says the presentation is at 10:30 AM!

From Brad Peniston, the author:

The National Maritime Historical Society has invited me to talk about “No Higher Honor: Saving the Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf” tomorrow near their New York headquarters.

When: noon, Sat. July 28
Where: The Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, N.Y. 10548
— Phone: 914-739-5654
Google map

The event is open to the public; please come! Brad

If anyone gets the, after action reports need to be published…on your blog, or I’ll gladly put them up here.

Category: Book Reports, History, Military, Military History, Navy | 1 Comment »

Ship History – Coming Soon

May 22nd, 2007 by xformed

I enjoy reading the hisotry of military things, with an emphasis on Naval matters. Between several of the Navy bloggers, there’s plenty to do. EagleSpeak, CDR Salamander and SteelJaw Scribe all have great regularly scheduled posts on history.

I have been pondering covering ship classes for a while now, but recently began reading “Six Frigates” and have run across a laundry list of names that I have heard ships named after. I knew the history of some of modern day names ships have been named after, but never paid attention to those from a few centuries ago. I think it’s time, supported by the wonderful story Ian Toll tells, to connect those who put our Navy to sea in the 1790’s, and fought our first battles to the issues they faced in a new nation to the ships that were named in their honor. My pastor regularly says “Context is everything.” Here is a case in which this applies.

I’m not sure if I’ll make it “Ship History Saturday” or just pick a day and go for it, but watch for it soon.

Category: Blogging, Book Reports, History, Military, Military History, Navy | 3 Comments »

Attention All Wannabe Authors!

May 18th, 2007 by xformed

So you’ve been blogging for a while and a little voice in your head keeps telling you you should write a book, but you’re not sure how to do it.

Click on the book cover to get your copy!
What if someone wrote a book on how to write a book? Someone has! After muscling her way through her first book, Jessi Williams decided to document the process, so other might be able to go down that path to publishing theirs, learning from her experience!So, now it’s time and the last excuse of “I don’t know how” is eliminated because “How to Write Your First Book” will walk you through the process.

Click the link, get the book and get to compiling your work into a book!

Tracked back @: Yankee Sailor

Category: Blogging, Book Reports, Public Service, Scout Sniping | 1 Comment »

Book Report: “Ship of Ghosts”

April 28th, 2007 by xformed

James Hornfischer’s second work is a wonderful a read as his first, “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors,” which I discussed in this post.

“Ship of Ghosts” tells the story of the history of the USS HOUSTON (CA-30), from her time as the Flagship of the Asiatic Fleet to her loss in combat action, which is a remarkable tale in itself, then proceeds to document the life of the survivors, captured by the Japanese, to become the slave labor, intermingled with Japanese engineers, natives, Australian, British, and Dutch POWs that built the Thai-Burma railroad. Once captured, the crew of the HOUSTON had their lives intertwined with the crew of the RMAS PERTH, which was in company with and fought alongside HOUSTON, suffering the same fate, and the “Lost Battalion,” an Army National Guard form Texas (2 Bn/131 Regiment of the 36th Div). It is a story that sheds the light of truth on combat actions not well told before, but possibly more importantly, the actual conditions and situations that existed in the building of the Japanese railroad, dispelling the myths from “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” and “King Rat.”There is heroism, courage, determination, persistence, and sheer guts displayed on almost every page. The range of personal accounts, from the most junior to the most senior involved in this history are remarkable. The writing is, as in his last book, engaging and draws you into the story.I began reading this as the crisis of the British sailors and Marines was occurring a few weeks ago, and found the stories of how POWs handled their captivity at opposite ends of the spectrum of military character.The stories of the naval battles, between the massive Japanese Fleet and it’s supporting Imperial Army and Naval air forces and a out-numbered set of surface vessels from several allied nations trying to do their best to hold the Japanese back with out the luxury of air support, dedicated port facilities of logistical support. Some insight into the tactics used by both sides are discussed, useful to historians of Naval Warfare.Within the book are many stories with in the story, or natives who assisted the Allied prisoners, the medical conditions and how they were handled in the deep jungle under extreme circumstances, the Japanese freighters, carrying POWs to mainland Japan being sunk by US submarines and stories of US POWs who worked in the shipyards and factories of the Japanese.An interesting historical note is when the HOUSTON was sunk, the citizens of the Houston, TX area collected money to buy a new USS HOUSTON. The money ($34M) was sent to the War Department and not only funded a new light cruiser, but also money to build an escort carrier, the USS SAN JACINTO (CVL-30). This was the CVL that President George H.W. Bush flew from when he was bombing Chi Chi Jima and was shot down.

Not only did the Texans open their wallets, but they had a recruiting drive and more than 3000 men stepped forward to join the armed services to replace the lost 1,168 crewmen of the HOUSTON.

As the book works it’s way to it’s conclusion, there is information of the War Tribunals for those in the Japanese chain of command.

Well worth the time to read this well researched work.

Additional Notes:

Tracked back @: Yankee Sailor, Third World County

Category: Army, Book Reports, History, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on Book Report: “Ship of Ghosts”

DC Area Readers: Brad Peniston Talk 3/21/2007

March 19th, 2007 by xformed

Received via email:

The U.S. Navy Memorial has invited me to talk about <a href=”″>”No Higher Honor:
Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf”</a> (Naval Institute Press, 2006) at noon on Wednesday, March 21. The talk is open to the public, and I warmly invite you to come. The memorial is located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Map and
; web site:

“No Higher Honor” tells the story of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a small warship dispatched to the Persian Gulf in 1988. Its crew shepherded oil tankers through the chaos of the Iran-Iraq War — until disaster struck. On 14 April, an Iranian mine ripped open the Roberts’ engineroom, ignited fires on four decks, and plunged the ship into darkness. With seawater rising around their boots, the crew fought fire and flooding into the night. Four days later, the U.S.
retaliated, sinking a half-dozen Iranian warships and boats in the biggest surface battle since World War II.

The book has received good reviews; the current issue of Military Officer magazine calls it “one of the most inspiring books about modern naval history.” Now in its second printing, the book has also inspired a History Channel documentary that is slated to air this fall.

Hope to see you on Wednesday.

Brad Peniston
“No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf”
available in bookstores or via

My book report is here.

Sounds like a great lunch time activity to me…how about it, Steeljaw Scribe, Smash and Pinch?

Posted after action reports will be appreciated!

Category: Book Reports, History, Military, Navy | Comments Off on DC Area Readers: Brad Peniston Talk 3/21/2007

Book Signing in DC Area 1/19/2007 – “No Higher Honor”

January 15th, 2007 by xformed

Received from the author. Besides getting your personalized autographed copy, the book is the foundation of a documentary for next fall!


It’s my pleasure to invite you to a discussion of my book, “No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf” (Naval Institute Press, 2006, at 7 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 19, at the Borders Books in Springfield, Va (6701 Frontier Drive, Springfield, Va). The store is located near the Springfield Mall, just south of I-495.)

The book (now in its second printing) tells the story of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a small U.S. warship dispatched to the Persian Gulf in 1988. Well-led and well-trained, its crew shepherded oil tankers through the chaos of the Iran-Iraq War — until disaster struck. On 14 April, an Iranian mine ripped open the Roberts’ engineroom, ignited fires on four decks, and plunged the ship into darkness. With seawater rising around their boots, the crew fought fire and flooding into the night. Four days later, the U.S. retaliated, sinking a half-dozen Iranian warships and boats in the biggest surface battle since World War II.

The book has received good reviews; it has also inspired a History Channel documentary that is slated to air this fall.

Hope to see you on Friday!

Brad Peniston

My book report is here.

Oh, yes, and Brad chipped in two copies for the Valour-IT Fund Raiser this past November. Just in case you wanted to support him, too.

Category: Book Reports, History, Military, Military History, Navy | 1 Comment »

Christmas 2006

December 25th, 2006 by xformed

Merry Christmas, everyone. Many will (or have already) write today on their blogs, wishing you that sentiment. I, too, join with them.

Today, which may not actually be the day of Jesus’ birth, nor may it actually have happened 2006 years ago, is nonetheless the day which we stop and celebrate a moment when God arrived on Earth in the form of one of us.

It is a day, chosen or actual, that marks the most significant days in all of human history. Even if they have decided (“they” being a bunch of historians) to redesignate the time annotation since then something other than “AD,” there will be references to the change in the major calendar for mankind to the birth of the Chirst child in many archived books, stories, reports and novels that, unless each offending part is tracked down by zealots, intent on erasing the event from the memory of mankind (which, would be ironic indeed, for the first Zealots were there with Jesus, Jewish and attempting to rid Israel of the Roman rulers.

Who else has so changed mankind, not only by recalibrating the passage of time, but the rules of living?

I had a Bible for as many years as I can remember, but I came to a new understanding of that ancient document 8 years and three months ago, as a man stood at the front of a church and spoke of the story of Jonah. I left a changed man.

The message of the second part of the Bible made me rethink my world views. In some ways, it has reaffirmed what I had been taught, but had no understanding of the original source. Other parts of my life view have transformed dramatically. I used to by into the “wisdom” of modern day psychology, but I have done a little reading and I find men such as Moses, David and Solomon (to name but a few), even before Jesus and Paul, understood how to have relationships with family, friends, co-workers, governments and other nations and laid out what works for how to govern one’s life. Much of “modern” understanding seems to draw from those stories, told not as professional reports to “peers,” but penned when there was no such title or field of study.

I often wonder, as people glibly toss around “fundamentalist” and, particularly “Fundamentalist” (almost all the time attached to the unsaid “Christian”) and have forgotten that that term is descriptive of any one who follows the foundational doctrine. Be it sports, religion, or writing, along with many other fields of endeavor. Yes, there are “Christian Fundamentalists.” I used to believe they had taken off on a tangent from the Bible, yet I know see there are those Christians who have gone off one a path that is “outside of the box,” but I would not refer to them as “fundamentalists,” for they have left the reservation. The Bible is a complex work, and consistent in it’s message, but, as with other lengthy works, you must take the time to read the entire work, most likely several times, to see that the “Fundamentalists” should have but one mission: To love everyone as themselves. Who among us does not want to be loved? If you are loved, then, subconsciously or not, those loving you are carrying out the mission.

I’m no scholar of the Bible, but I have read most of it. I’m glad I did. I encourage you to as well. It’s a book in one area of our lives that is easily, and in many cases, freely available to anyone, and it is there to be used to “fact check” the person at the front of the church, on the street corner, or here on the web, to make sure the message is not diluted, or misquoted. Find that sort of transparency in other arenas…I don’t recall professionals who actually urge you to study their documentation as throughly as they do, in order to be able to challenge them.

I’ll leave you with this, for those who may not yet have been transformed by a close encounter with a Living God, that the one letter “book review” I can come to provide for the Bible is “Love.” Nothing more, nothing less. If we all had that in us and shared it, just imagine how civilization would be reformed…

I once made an attempt to make sense out of how an ancient writing is useful to our society and I fell back to an analogy of something I understand. That story is here.

Merry Christmas to all and may there be peace on Earth in our time.

Category: Book Reports, History | 1 Comment »

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