Editor’s Shelf

From Parameters,  Autumn 2005, pp. 144-45.

Publishers provide the majority of books that come to Parameters for review, assisting us greatly as we continue with our commitment to provide book reviews that inform readers of current works related to the profession of arms. In fact, the “Book Reviews” section remains one of the most-read features of each issue. There are times, however, when a book is brought to our attention outside the normal publishing and publicity process. Such is the case with Walter Ford Carter and Terry Golway’s No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love: A Son’s Journey to Normandy. Recommended by both a current member and a former member of the War College faculty, it is the story of one family’s experiences during World War II. Presented through the lens of a son (Walter Ford Carter) and a family who lost a father during the invasion of Normandy, the book captures the pain that every family experiences when a loved one is killed in battle. Although the subject is a bit outside the profile of titles we normally present in this feature, it is a book that anyone associated with the profession of arms should read. The story parallels the many decisions that every soldier makes in balancing concern for family with the “call to duty.” It tells of an Army doctor, Norval Carter, who volunteers to be a combat surgeon when he could have sought the safety and security normally associated with his profession and rank. It is the tragic story of a wife who loses her husband and lover, as told by a child who would never know his father. It is a sad, overwhelmingly sad, book. And I warn you, the story will leave a lasting impression. Read it and reflect on your own humanity.

Following on the theme of doctors in war is John A. Glusman’s Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945. The book is a powerful reflection about four American doctors captured by the Japanese in the Philippines following the defeats at Bataan and Corregidor. The four doctors fight for life throughout the Bataan Death March, and for more than three years as prisoners of the Japanese. It is a tale of not only their fight for survival, but of their efforts to save others suffering the atrocities of their captors. Finally, their greatest fear comes true: they are loaded aboard Japanese “Hell Ships” for transport to the Japanese mainland. Unable to even lie down in the stifling holds of these ships, they live in fear of attack by American submarines. In fact, one of the doctors, George Ferguson, dies when his ship is torpedoed. Once in Japan, the three surviving doctors are placed in concentration camps and continue to administer to the sick and wounded. Following the dropping of the atomic


bombs and the final surrender in 1945, the three return home. The book is a masterful account of how four ordinary doctors from the heartland of America are able to survive a brutal and unforgiving enemy.

Major Monty Woolley is the British Exchange Officer at the USA Armor Center at Fort Knox. He is also the author of Cleanse Their Souls: Peace-Keeping in Bosnia’s Civil War, 1992-1993. This is the story of a young cavalry lieutenant’s moving and shocking experiences as a member of the peacekeeping force in Bosnia. Fresh from Germany, Woolley and his troop of 11 men are assigned the mission of escorting humanitarian aid, but are quickly drawn into the conflict between Croats and Muslims. Although the book focuses on the atrocities that took place during the same time as the troop’s tour of duty, its real value is in the detailed story by a young commander of the difficult tactical and moral decisions he had to make. The book is a must read for any deploying commander, whether on a humanitarian or military mission.

The Army War College Foundation Press recently published a topical examination of war from 570 AD to the recent battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. T. P. Schwartz-Barcott’s War, Terror, & Peace in the Qur’an and in Islam: Insights for Military & Government Leaders is a practical companion for anyone associated with military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The result of rigorous research and well-grounded insights, the book provides a foundation for military and government leaders responsible for planning operations involving any Islamic nation. It is designed for those who need a thorough understanding of the psychological nature of their opponents. Dr. Schwartz-Barcott has done an exceptional job of analyzing such disparate topics as “The Qur’an and Muslim Wars,” “Muhammad as a Military Commander,” and “Interpretations of the Qur’an and of Muslim Warfare” to provide the reader with a fresh and objective view of Muslim warfare and peacemaking through the ages. With its preface by General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC Ret., the book is essential reading for those responsible for creating and implementing US policy around the world.

In way of a heads up, there are two new books about to enter the market that are currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com detailing the experiences of two legendary Army officers on D-Day. Both are coauthored by a good friend and contributor to Parameters, Colonel (Ret.) Cole Kingseed, the former Chief of Military History at West Point. The first is titled From Omaha Beach to Dawson’s Ridge: The Combat Journal of Captain Joe Dawson and will be published by the Naval Institute Press in October 2005. Dawson is the heroic commander that Steven Ambrose credited with being the first to get his troops over the bluffs behind Omaha Beach on D-Day. It is a compelling and moving account of leadership and caring in the toughest of times. The second book needs no explanation other than its title, Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, available in February 2006 from Berkley Publishing. Anyone who knows what “Band of Brothers” means will want this personal account of the wartime experiences of a true American hero. — RHT   

For details on publishers and prices of books mentioned, see “Off the Press” in this issue or call Parameters at 717-245-4943 (e-mail: usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil).

Go to Autumn issue Table of Contents.

Go to Parameters home page.

Reviewed 16 August 2005. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil