Curse of the Chupacabra

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Review: My Grandfather's War

(5 STARS) Before I begin singing praises for My Grandfather's War, I must come clean on two facts: a) being an author as well, it had been my intention to write a very, very similar book years ago about my grandfather's time in World War II as the bottom turret operator of a B-17 Fortress during the Pacific side of the war; and b) (and this is probably something more people can relate to) what it's like to be a caregiver for an ailing family member - the responsibility, the pressure, the fatigue, the time away from work, friends, and the simple pleasures in life we tend to take for granted (something vaguely comparable to being a prisoner of war).

Author Cozean hits the nail on the head with every word, right down to the brief moments of honest, yet silent, thoughts he allows himself to have before trudging on as a caregiver, heroically. I believe My Grandfather's War is a better book than anything I planned on writing if given the chance before my grandfather unexpectedly passed, because where I already had a solid and open relationship with my grandpa, Cozean not only takes a self-discovering journey in this memoir of the immense responsibility bestowed onto him during his "Papa's" recovery but builds a deeper and loving relationship with him that is just as intriguing as the stories of his grandfather's time being the Nazi's POW.

Filled with moments of grief, empathy, and humor, there is a little bit of everything in My Grandfather's War. Each transition moved seamlessly from one moment to the next, but what I especially liked most was the interludes into our nation's history and the retelling of America's involvement in World War II - brief, yet very important information in understanding the background and reasoning behind the motivation, influence, and abuse by all sides. In all honesty, I think I may have learned more about this devastating war in these 200 pages than I had during my 11th grade World History class - and then some - which was more enjoyable this time around because Cozean made sure the information was an exciting and intriguing read.

Finally, I could not agree more with the subtitle, which reads: "A Young Man's Lessons from the Greatest Generation". Even before reading My Grandfather's War, it had amazed me what my grandparent's generation accomplished and endured at their young age, and I wonder if our current generation would be capable of the same if put in the same war… a question similarly posed to Jesse by his Papa, and I believe answered honestly.

I look forward to more by this author in the future.

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Born in Blood by Kate Paulk. $1.99 from
Vlad Dracul, known later in life as Vlad the Impaler, suffered more than any should at the hands of Mehmed, son of Sultan Murad. Of all the pain and indignities brought upon him at the behest of the future ruler of the Ottoman Empire, the curse was the worst. All the young Vlad can do is try to survive and plot his vengeance.