Wednesday, August 3, 2011



      Since the draft was abolished fewer and fewer Americans have any exposure to the military and what it means to serve one's country.  No matter what branch of service, the experience is unique and everlasting.  There is an inherent power in the training itself and a sense of loyalty to one's comrade-in-arms not present in civilian life.  And for those who are deployed ,and find themselves in combat situations, life is never the same.

Thomas Young signs at The Poisoned Pen
August 8th at 7:00pm. Click here to find out more. 
     Young, a survivor of multiple postings with the Air National Guard, knows of what he speaks.  His first two books are about the Afghan war and regale us with myriad telling details and an authentic voice.  His first book, "The Mullah"s Storm", tells of a C-130 Hercules transport plane that gets shot down in a blizzard in the Hindu-Kush range of Afghanistan.  The flight navigator, Major Michael Parson, is thrust into a life and death drama trying to hold onto a Taliban Mullah and his American translator, Sgt. Sophia Gold.  The pace of the book is breathtaking as one crisis after another befall Parson and Gold.

     His new book, "Silent Enemy", due out in August, 2011, takes place four years after the action in "The Mullah's Storm".  Parson, now a pilot of a C5 Galaxy transport, is charged with flying a group of seriously wounded U.S. and Afghan personnel (victims of a suicide bomber) to a German military hospital.  Sgt. Gold, now a language teacher, ends up on the plane as an interpreter for the Afghans who were hurt in the blast.  Once they are airborn they recieve word that bombs have been placed on a number of U.S. aircraft and that they cannot land because the devices may be triggered by a loss of altitude.  Once again fast-paced and absorbing action scenes ensue.

     Where Young's talent shines in these books is in the details of the military mind set and in the authentic attention to the minutiae of all the lingo and equipment.  The human element of the two main characters is thoughtfully contrasted with their single-minded devotion to their mission and the responsibilities contained therein.  These are  dilemmas civilians rarely face but are always present in the military.

     These two books are wonderful adventures but it is in their presentation of a soldier's viewpoint that they truly shine.  Despite more than ten years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan the story of what our service members endure is not well told.  Young takes us  into the heart of the war and makes it all too real.

     These are terrific reads with insight into a war and the people who are fighting it we know little about.  Enjoy them.

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