Over the years, I’ve had a variety of clients, but none has impressed me with their courage and conviction as those who’ve served in combat. Two whose books you can buy today are:
Robert Gormly, author of Combat Swimmer: Memoir of a Navy SEAL
I think Publishers Weekly said it best: “Gormly is no knight without fear and reproach in the mold of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. He is a warrior for the working day, not always right and not always wise. But in a harsh world, it will comfort many to know that men with Gormly's spirit, character and patriotism wear this country's uniform.”
Bob served about twenty-nine years in the navy, did two tours in Vietnam, the second after he was wounded, had some run-ins with the “rogue warrior” Richard Marcinko, whom he replaced as commander of SEAL Team 6, and undoubtedly did some stuff we may never hear about. But the stuff we can hear about is pretty exciting and compelling, including action in Grenada that makes that island seem far less the push-over than most Americans think, and facing off with the Italian military while trying to capture the Achille Lauro hijackers.
C.X. Moreau, author of Distant Valor and Promise of Glory
There are few books I’ve worked on that I enjoyed as much as Distant Valor, both because the author is simply an outstanding individual and a good friend with whom I can sit and talk politics and what’s right and wrong for hours. Though this is a novel, it’s a novel in the way that All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel. Or The Things They Carried. This is a novel of the US Marines in Beirut, of duty served in a hostile land, with no end in sight. As our troops continue in Iraq, this book may have even greater relevance now.
Promise of Glory is a very different kind of novel. It’s set during the Civil War and should appeal strongly to any fans of the Shara books. It tells of a time when technology didn’t play a role and death was far more up-close and personal.
Though not a “veteran” himself, Patrick O’Donnell has certainly been there and done that himself. A year ago, Pat was in Iraq sleeping in bombed-out houses and humping a pack with a top US Army unit, before connecting with a unit of marines and going into Fallujah at the tip of the spear. That he made it out alive still amazes me.
Pat is the author of three books, all focusing on veterans:
Beyond Valor: World War II's Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat
Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat
Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs : The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS
Each of these books has the ability to take the reader into combat, and tells you in the veterans’ own words what it was like to be there, struggling on the beachhead at Normandy, or crawling through the sands of Iwo Jima, or behind enemy lines as an OSS spy. It’s no surprise that Pat has been a frequent guest on History Channel programs. He’s truly an expert in these matters.
Pat is currently working on a book about his experiences in Iraq. Look for it in 2006.
Also in the works, and soon to be in stores, is Ron Winter’s memoir, Masters of the Art: A Fighting Marine’s Memoir of Vietnam. Look for it around Christmas.
My deepest respect and admiration to all of these authors, who have done so much for their country. On this day, we thank you and honor you, and we hope that your brothers-in-arms currently serving will soon be home and back with their loved ones.