Saturday, December 31, 2011


Donald Bodey’s war novel F.N.G (new revised edition from Modern History Press, 2008) tells a story of a Vietnam War veteran in his words. The book depicts the psychological impact of traumatic war experiences on a young soldier, or F.N.G—the military slang for ‘Fucking New Guy’.

The protagonist of the novel Gabriel Sauers, after accidentally shooting his grandson in the foot while hunting in the wild, remembers his arrival in Vietnam as a draftee. Through his eyes, the readers see the miserable living condition of the soldiers in a land that is far from home in every sense. With time, the uncertainty of life in the war zone accumulates as Sauers witnesses many a trauma including the death of his fellow soldiers and the ugliness of the world’s most dangerous and senseless situation—kill or be killed.

The narration is raw and imparts the closeness of the misery, physical and psychological, that a newcomer experienced fighting in Nam. Bodey’s writing skill is concentrated in the imagery of the places, people, and situations that constituted the frightening experiences of its leading character. In this book, you not only read about the Vietnam War, but you see the war, smell the rotting life affected by it, and hear the silent cries of the souls thrown into a pit of horror. And by the time you get to the novel’s end, the suspicion of whether Sauers really shot his grandson accidentally makes you think twice about the deepest scars war leaves on those who “fight” it.

There’s quite a bit of military slang in F.N.G, reflected in the title, and the author has made available an online glossary on his website. While may not be an enjoyable book for many female audiences, for all people interested in serious war fiction, this novel is worth reading.

ISBN: 978-1932690590


Author Website:

Monday, December 19, 2011

American Elegies

“Hype over substance” is the new American motto as readers are told in the prolegomenon of American Elegies (World Audience Publishers, 2008). The poet, Louis Phillips, has mourned this degradation in a unique, America-centric verse.

Phillips’ view takes for its reference Johnny Inkslinger (Paul Bunyan’s smart chef), implying a sharp eye and good consideration for the subject adopted into verse. Johnny Inkslinger engages in virtual travels, rendezvous, and memories of people, places, things, and events—all American—that left a mark on American thought. Battles, Native American land and animals, Hollywood, sports, politics, art and literature, and more—Johnny Inkslinger makes sure not to miss on anything.

The mood of these poems is mostly contemplative, and not plaintive in the more traditional, classic elegiac style. Some poems read much more critically, a few even getting satirical. But the imagery, mostly from memories of past American events, things, and places, dilutes the mood sufficiently to impart the feel of an adventurous, slightly nostalgic travel in what America has been; in what it has seen.

What makes it difficult for an average, and in particular non-American, reader is that these poems are full of allusions (not unexpectedly) to American history, icons, culture, and literature. A well-read reader, however, with sound knowledge of Americana will surely find it a treasure of thoughts connecting America’s past and its present. The ending of the books is more overtly plaintive: disappointment in America’s lack of morals.

ISBN: 0982054009


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Wisdom to Wellness

The traditional medical system treats only the symptoms of our health issues and for this, we spend a lot of our income/savings, without getting to the root cause of the problem and fixing it for good. In this book, alternative-holistic therapist Maureen Minnehan Jones shares with her readers the essence of her successful healing techniques as well as the theoretical framework for addressing the root cause of disease. Jones educates readers on the often-ignored side of all disease—our emotional self and its deep relation with our life energy, which manifest in our physical condition.

Maureen Jones’ work shows that disease is not something reducible to an external biological agent (the generally believed germ theory of disease); rather it is an expression of the deeper inner needs which have been left unattended and, quite often, suppressed. We often fail to nurture our souls with the love and trust we require each moment, leading our bodies as well as minds to a condition where they lose their natural, healthy state. How to get them in order with simple, yet vital attitude and practices is what Jones’ book achieves.

In separate chapters, Wisdom to Wellness explains the nature of a number of the most common and dreaded diseases—cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and Hepatitis etc—and what needs to be done to prevent and/or treat them. Each chapter on disease has one or more case studies giving an account of what it means to suffer from that condition and what it takes to get over it. The author’s writing is very organized and smooth, and it involves the reader deeply in the book’s chapters. Each chapter starts with a memorable, wise quote. The effect of the book is uplifting and its message is assuring, i.e. we can be take control of our lives if we want.

Wisdom to Wellness deserves recommendation for anyone who cares about their health, wellbeing, and quality of life.