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The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes

Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes is a historical military memoir that delves into enslavement in Southampton County, Virginia, during the American Civil War. The author references published sources, family history, and anecdotes that narrate the true story of his great grandfather, Parson Sykes, and his quest for liberation. The book details the harrowing escape from enslavement in Southampton County during the American Civil War in 1864.

The author does an excellent job of exploring the socio-cultural environment of the time through the recorded experiences of Parson Sykes, his friends, and his family. At the age of 17, Parson is a charismatic leader in his community with great promise. The book has a compelling narrative that details his journey of escaping enslavement. Each chapter discusses the era’s events, including military movements and tactics, Mason’s military background, expertise, and how he addresses the oppressive and systematic ways that were used to dehumanize black people.

This enlightening story provides a glimpse into the brutality of this oppression, and the inhumane hardships enslaved people had to endure. Despite the vulnerability and helplessness experienced by many, the author highlights the strength and resilience of black women and women’s rights through the character of Frances Hill.

I highly recommend this informative and thought-provoking novel for its candid and realistic narration from the perspective of enslaved people and their families. Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes is a must-read for its importance and relevance in society and how many aspects of this history remain in the present day. I recommend Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes for its brilliant writing style and educational value. It’s an important topic that needs more attention and is a great educational read for anyone who wants to learn about the realities of slavery and the American Civil War.

Pages: 236 | ASIN: B0BG6954LL

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Sea Pay 

Sea Pay by Bob Dorgan is a rollicking tale of an enlisted sailor making the most of his time in the United States Navy during the late 70s and early 80s. The straightforward, autobiographical story follows Dorgan through his early years at Valley Forge Military Academy and then onto his Navy career stationed aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Midway. While bending some rules (and breaking others), Dorgan goes into great detail about his day-to-day duties and the wild adventures he and his fellow sailors went on during their precious time off-duty.

Sea Pay is an interesting read. Dorgan’s attention to detail is quite remarkable. As an electrician working in the E Division of the ship’s engineering department, the author’s duties amounted to more than mere grunt work. His descriptions of the internal workings of the Midway really paint quite a picture. I could imagine working in the bowels of a steam-powered aircraft carrier and just how exciting (or miserable) that could be.

As he familiarizes himself with his duties and the rest of his crew, Dorgan does get up to some unsavory practices to increase his “sea pay.” I’m not sure how many boy scouts would approve of his other enterprises. While Sea Pay is a nice slice of enlisted life, it does run aground on the technical side of things.

Bob Dorgan’s writing style is extremely literal. Almost every detail is specifically told, but little is shown. There’s a kind of emotional detachment. For example, after an entire chapter describing “wild” liberty in Thailand, he rather nonchalantly ends the chapter with, “We were sorry to hear that several of our shipmates did not make it back to the ship alive, victims of the big H—heroin. They were gone but not forgotten.” It’s a jarring end, and there is little to no reflection by the author.

Sea Pay is a fascinating depiction of Navy life from that particular time told from the viewpoint of someone that was living it. This true story account will give readers an inside look at life on an aircraft carrier.

Pages: 356 | ASIN : B0B23CJ8S7

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Letters from Vietnam

The United States entered the Vietnam War conflict in August of 1964, though the US had been involved in the conflict in a limited capacity since the end of World War II. After an American battleship was allegedly attacked, President Lynden Johnson called for air strikes, thus taking a stand in the ongoing conflict. The United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War was heavily criticized for many reasons, but despite that, hundreds of thousands of US troops made their way to Vietnam to fight.

Letters from Vietnam by Dennis Hoy is an autobiographical account of Hoy’s time in the United States military during the Vietnam war. He details his time from basic training to the jungle swamps of Vietnam and provides a first-hand account of the dangers and perils for a young man at war. However, Hoy keeps a thread of hope alive by sending letters back and forth to the love of his life, Beth.

Hoy and his wife, Beth, kept every letter they exchanged during Hoy’s time in Vietnam. Encouraged by some friends, Hoy wrote down his experiences in Vietnam to preserve the story of a dark time in the United States and World history.

The oddest thing about this book is that there are no actual printed letters between Dennis and Beth, which could have enhanced the book’s drama by showing their thoughts and feelings straight from the time of the war. However, Letters from Vietnam is a well-written book in a very conversational tone that helps an average reader understand this point in history without the language being overcomplicated. As the reader, you can tell that Hoy’s time in Vietnam affected him profoundly and continues to affect him even to this day. I highly recommend Letters from Vietnam to anyone who loves history and wants a first-hand account of a soldier’s days in Vietnam.

Pages: 164 | ASIN : B09GXQMCJD

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Knights of the Air, Book 1: RAGE!

In this relentlessly entertaining historical thriller we follow Lance Fitch as he finds himself falling from the highs of drinking bitter lemonade and worrying about flirting with his fiancée in front of their fathers to the lows of worrying about how to survive the next hour while in the trenches of World War I.

Though an unpopular gunner in the air force, Lance is hell bound on getting himself into a plane before the war is over. Thanks to another pilot’s unfortunate hit, Arthur Wolsey became the reason Lance was allowed in the sky. With both men having a known wild streak, they build a surprisingly close friendship that will be tested as they fight to stay alive in the air against all possible odds. And on the home front, Arthur and Lance’s friendship faces another type of stress as Lance discovers Arthur’s beautiful half-sister, Megan.

Author Iain Stewart knows how to throw readers into a scene and keep them enthralled until the end. I loved the vivid sets (as it really did feel like an action movie at times) and reveled in the way they are meticulously constructed. As a lover of military history (specifically the First and Second World Wars), the historical aspect of Knights of the Air: Rage! passes the accuracy-test with flying colors. For example, reading about how and why the “Fokker Menace” came to be was like seeing a celebrity in person; WWI enthusiast will know what I’m talking about. This novel weaves these facts in and around the fiction story, giving the whole book a grounded and realistic feel, even when things get wild. Because of this the story feels like it could be a memoir; a fictional one at least. To keep such an incredible story feeling like it was all first-hand accounts from the war is an impressive talent that I give high praise for.

The beginning of the story is one I can only equate to the Adventures of a Young Naturalist by Sir David Attenborough, because I felt like it had a similar way of noting down critical elements of one’s surroundings and delivering it in a narrative that felt fulfilling and thoughtful and truly allows the reader a sense of each scene and moment. But, again, Iain has a strong understanding of making fiction come to life, and once he’s grounded the story it takes off and we’re in for a whirlwind adventure.

Knights of the Air, Book 1: Rage! is a rousing and suspenseful military adventure novel that is filled with gritty air combat that sticks close to WWI facts but never forgets to entertain the reader.

Pages: 363 | ASIN : B09T2KP5SL

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