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By the Book at the Bandera Library

by Michael Garr

Book Reviews
by Michael Garr,
Bandera Library Director

It seems fitting with the approach of Veteran’s Day, that we use this space to talk about some military books available at the Bandera Library.
I just finished Ian Toll’s, “Six Frigates-The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy.” Toll describes the origins and early history of the American Navy, discussing the debates by the founding fathers over the need for a permanent military, the decision to construct six heavy frigates, the campaign against Tripoli, and the War of 1812. I am very fond of this author, who is writing a trilogy on the U.S. war in the Pacific Theater during World War II. His two very readable accounts published so far are, “Pacific Crucible, 1941-42” and “Conquering Tide, 1942-44.”
If you have an interest in the Second World War, any book by author Stephen E. Ambrose is recommended. While he is an author of many topics, the Bandera Library has four of his books devoted to the WWII, including “Band of Brothers.” For those readers who have a curiosity in the Korean Conflict, the new book by Jeff Shaara, “Frozen Hours,” previously reviewed in this column, will be a must read. Bob Drury and Tom Clavin co-authored a book called “The Last Stand of Fox Company-a True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat.” This fast-paced and gripping account describes the harrowing story of the 10,000 U.S. Marines who were surrounded by 100,000 Chinese soldiers during the Korean War. With dozens of firsthand interviews and thrilling narration, this book does justice to the brave men who served.
Ken Burns recent documentary on the Vietnam War, aired as a 10-part, 18 hour series on PBS channels. It has a companion book by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns titled, “The Vietnam War.” Publisher Market describes it beautifully. “More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written and richly illustrated, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation.”
You can even return to the Civil War Era by reading the previously reviewed book, “Grant,” by Ron Chernow. It currently resides at #3 on the New York Times Bestselling non-fiction list. And Bill O’Reilly’s Killing series continues with the recent release of “Killing England: the Brutal Struggle for American Independence.” Co-authored by Martin Dugard, the #2 New York Times bestseller for non-fiction tells the story of the American Revolution through the eyes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Great Britain’s, King George III, and takes the readers from the battlefields of American to the royal courts of Europe. All of these books are available from the Bandera Library.
In observance of the Veteran’s Day holiday, the Bandera Library will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10, and Saturday, Nov. 11. Of course, you may see some of us at the parade down Main Street. We will reopen on Monday at 10 am. We have lots to do preparing for the Hill Country Memorial Hospital program called “Restore.” You can learn about shoulder, hip and knee replacement surgery with orthopedic surgeons. The Tuesday, Nov.14, program begins at 6 p.m. with a complimentary dinner. Please RSVP by calling 866-421-4264. It will take place in the newly renovated lower level conference center of the library. Hope to see you there. Until then, enjoy the parade, hug a veteran and say thanks for their sacrifice.