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Book Reviews

In the Name of Honor – Richard North Patterson

A trial story,  a military trial story, a military trial story about a soldier recently deployed in Iraq, full of PTSD references… a host of subjects I usually avoid .  When I was asked to review a book that combined all of these factors – I wasn’t too sure; as a paralegal I find myself yelling “you can’t DO that” at trial or law office mistakes; as a military spouse any inaccuracies in a story portraying “my” world, tend to irk me; stories about service members who have  Post Traumatic Stress that depict the soldier as a formulaic  trigger happy, psychotic, offend me.

But I changed my mind, about 2 pages into “In the Name of Honor” and I began looking forward to my commuting train trips to keep reading!

If you live in the DC area, and have access to Fort Belvoir – you will recognize the fictional Fort Bolton – especially the Officer’s Club!

Those of us in the military community will also recognize the people – well written, but not transparent, there are enough questions about their motivation to keep you guessing.  The twist at the end – NOT telegraphed ahead of time, a couple of clues scattered around are inconsequential, but in hindsight, are great building blocks.   The military members of the cast are well drawn.  The spouses, well  I recognized these women, or at least their outward “milspouse”, and the interactions between the lead characters and the minor players who appeared in the military family world – could have been pulled from the blogs I frequent, or the military spouse networks we all skim through.

Non military readers will enjoy the story, the twists, turns, murder mystery convolutions and history.  Some scenes are hard to take, but seem to be pulled from the stories and headlines of the Sadr City actions.  I haven’t asked the family members who were in the area to read it, not too sure that is a good idea!

The PTS defense, with its ingredients of anger, depression, sleeplessness, nightmares and amnesia – is a textbook case.  Is it overblown?  I don’t know.  That is a judgment I leave to those who are suffering with it, or who are family members of someone who suffers from this level of Post Traumatic Stress.  Well written?  Oh, yes, very well written.  My own reservations concerning books/TV shows etc showing returning vets as being trigger happy, psycho, ready to snap at any time, still concern me, but I was drawn into the story, I wanted to understand the accused.

Did I enjoy the book?  Yes, I did.  It’s not a “happy” book, it’s not a book to skim through and escape, no “brain candy” here.  In the Name of Honor is intense, complex, and well written.  The characters have depth, they will surprise you.  The obligatory love story intertwined, isn’t the typical one (I’m not going to ruin it for you, go read it yourself!) Would I recommend it?  Yes, absolutely!

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2014 4:27 pm

    HELP!!! Any good liberal feminist advice books, for military newlyweds?

    I’m looking for a book (to give with a gift certificate to either BB&B or IKEA) for my friend, who just married an air force boy (they met at Unitarian Universalist camp). She is not happy about his career choices.

    I want a book that will both introduce her to benefits and resources that can help support her, when she moves to her new husbands base and help her with navigating complex bureaucratic systems (both my parents were civilians who worked for the Navey, so I know how these can be a big problem). My friend also has attention deficit disorder and I know having a one stop reference is really helpful when you have to navigate a large complex organization.

    It would also be great if the book was blatantly and obviously liberal. My friend already has a fear that the military is full of conservatives and she will have no friends on the bus and I don’t want to reinforce that fear. Preferably, the book should talk about “spouses” or “partners”, rather than “wives” or “girlfriends”, but I think if it didn’t, this would be more of an annoyance than a deal breaker for her.

    I liked Today’s Military Wife: Meeting the Challenges of Service Life seemed to have a lot of good resources and didn’t have a “stand by your man” tone in any of the passages that I read, but I read that it isn’t really useful for spouses of enlisted members. Also, I didn’t see anything in it that would help with my friend’s fears of liberal isolation.

    I also liked The Mocha Manual to Military Life: A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends, and Female Service Members. The book focuses on women of color and my friend is white, but I think the book has a lot that applies to everyone. I also think my friend will might appreciate learning about the history of people of color in the military and that it might help with her perception of the military as a bunch of redneck conservatives. However, some advice assumes that the person reading it is religious and my friend is not. It also has some quotes from the women, who talk about prioritizing family over their own careers, which, while they don’t have bad advice, aren’t really praised in a feminist way.

    Has anyone read either of these books, beyond what you can find on the previews you see on amazon? If you guys know of anything better, I would love to hear about it! Thanks!!!

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