Thursday, June 23, 2016

Red Platoon by Clinton Romesha

Read Red Platoon by Clinton Romesha.  That is all that needs to be said. If you would like a book that you can't put down once you start, this one is for you. The book is filled with brotherhood, combat, selflessness, heroism, moments of terror, and moments of deep determination.
Red Platoon looks at the soldiers of Camp Outpost (COP) Keating in Afghanistan in 2009. Due to be shut down due to its poor set-up and sustainability, the base is suddenly attacked in October of that year by large numbers of the Taliban. The book then goes into overdrive, describing how the base was overrun, how the soldiers countered the attack, and how they eventually drove the enemy away, but not without several casualties.
Red Platoon looks at the teamwork it took for these soldiers to think under heavy attack and come out with a working solution. You get a sense of the fog of war, the chaos of combat, and the brutal results of human beings versus modern weaponry. Romesha pulls no punches when it comes to his description of all aspects of the battle.
The most mazing part of this book is the selflessness of Romesha as he describes the battle and the actions he took in its final outcome. If the cover did not tell you otherwise, you would not know that former Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at COP Keating. Never is this an "I" book; it is a "we" book from the very start, and an incredible look our soldiers in the 21st century.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie

Set in Palo Alto, California, quirky Veblen who tempts at a local hospital and translates Norwegian, finds that it is comforting to have a squirrel living in her attic; the noise it makes at night comforts her.  It becomes a conflict of interest when her neurologist boyfriend Paul moves in and decides to trap the critter.  Following the trip to set the "charming" squirrel free are several subplots with the dysfunctional relationships of Veblen and her mother and father.  Paul is in the process of testing his medical device for brain trauma veterans, and finds himself standing up against a conniving heiress in order to expose how greed can supersede truth in some pharmaceutical companies.  The couple's impending wedding collides with all these commotions leading to an entertaining read.