#BookReview By Lou – Mother of the Brontes By Sharon Wright #SharonWright @penswordbooks #NonFiction #Biography #Brontes #MariaBranwell #TheLifeOfMariaBranwell

Mother of the Brontes
The Life of Maria Branwell
By Sharon Wright

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mother of the Brontes is a highly interesting account of Maria Branwell. Thanks to Pen and Sword for gifting me the book. Discover what the book is about and my opinion in the blurb and my review.

Mother of the Brontes cover

Maria Branwell has spent 200 years in the shadow of her extraordinary children, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. Now the first biography of Mrs Brontë appears as a beautiful bicentenary paperback edition in October 2021, with a commissioned portrait of Maria at 38 based on the only two existing images in the Brontë Collection. Sharon Wright’s critically-acclaimed biography reveals Maria’s fascinating life as a Regency gentlewoman who went looking for an adventure and found one. A sudden passion and whirlwind love affair led to the birth of the most gifted literary siblings the world has ever known. From a wealthy home in Penzance, Maria was a contemporary of Jane Austen and enjoyed the social status of a prominent family with secrets. So how did Maria fall for the penniless curate she called ‘My Dear Saucy Pat’ hundreds of miles from the home she loved? And what adventures lead lover Patrick Brontë to their fateful meeting in Yorkshire? What family scandals did Maria leave behind in Cornwall? How did wealthy and independent Miss Branwell of balmy Penzance adjust to life as Mrs Brontë in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution? And what was her enduring legacy in the lives of those world famous daughters and troubled son?

Review

It is well documented about lives of the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Anne and Shirley, through the novels and poetry they wrote and biographies other people have written, even more is known about their brother – Branwell Bronte and their father – Patrick Bronte than the matriarch of the Bronte family – Maria Branwell. This book goes some way to rectifying this biography of her life in this treasure of a book that uncovers her life and her part as an individual and as part of the family she created.

Really delving into history and setting the scene to create background to how things were in the time of Maria’s life, it goes into detail about the backdrop of socio/economical/political scenes. This I felt was necessary to people now and into the future to understand how things were and also puts her life into context. You really get under the surface of how the world looked when she was alive, not just in broader terms, but also the families she may have known or seen around Penzance in Cornwall, the houses that were there and religious beliefs. It provides a focused texture and understanding in the first few chapters.

The book becomes even more compelling to discover why Patrick, so penniless, left Ireland and Maria leaves Cornwall for Yorkshire and how they courted each other and fell in love, even though there was class division of him being poor and her being wealthy, with social standing, but attraction and love won out, however unlikely that would initially seem, but they did and created a life and family together.
There are letters of this period of time, which were later handed down the family. There are extracts of her letters in the book, that feels really special to read and gives readers a glimpse into her letter writing style and means the book is able to retain some of her “voice” for present and future generations. It heightens providence and a real care of the Bronte family. The research is meticulous and the passion of its author – Sharon Wright to ensure this part of the family’s history can be read about in this way, really shines through.

There’s a look into day to day life within the Parsonage that really brings the place, that is still standing, located in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, (now a museum), to life. It shows life within those walls of husband and wife and their children, who, especially their daughters, were to become literary giants, whose work is still popular and is now shown in many media forms. Lesser known however, is that Maria could also write and there is a little bit of this within the book.

The book takes readers right to the end of Maria’s life and the impact her death had on how the family then behaved in their day to day living and continuing of their own lives.

This is an absolutely fascinating read and to be able to read it in her bicentenary year makes it somewhat even more lovely.

1922 – Scenes From a Turbulent Year By Nick Rennison #NickRennison @OldcastleBooks #NonFiction #History #1920s #1922 #TheRoaringTwenties

1922
Scenes From A Turbulent Year
By Nick Rennison

Rating: 4 out of 5.

1920’s or the The Roaring Twenties is a prominent decade. 1922, especially, was a period of a lot of change, musically, film making, politically, prominent people coming to light and some reaching the end of their lives and much more in this interesting look into 1 busy year. Thanks to Old Castle Books for gifting me the book. Check out the blurb and then my review to find out about the book of the year, 1922.

1922 cover1922 was a year of great turbulence and upheaval. Its events reverberated throughout the rest of the twentieth century and still affect us today, 100 years later.

Empires fell. The Ottoman Empire collapsed after more than six centuries. The British Empire had reached its greatest extent but its heyday was over. The Irish Free State was declared and demands for independence in India grew. New nations and new politics came into existence. The Soviet Union was officially created and Mussolini’s Italy became the first Fascist state.

In the USA, Prohibition was at its height. The Hollywood film industry, although rocked by a series of scandals, continued to grow. A new mass medium – radio – was making its presence felt and, in Britain, the BBC was founded. In literature it was the year of peak modernism. Both T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and James Joyce’s Ulysses were first published in full.

In society, already changed by the trauma of war and pandemic, the morals of the past seemed increasingly outmoded; new ways of behaving were making their appearance. The Roaring Twenties had begun to roar and the Jazz Age had arrived.

1922 also saw the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi, the death of Marcel Proust, the election of a new pope, the release of the first major vampire movie, and the brief imprisonment in Munich of an obscure right-wing demagogue named Adolf Hitler.

In a sequence of vividly written sketches, Nick Rennison conjures up all the drama and diversity of an extraordinary year.

Review

1922 was a busy year. Nothing stood still. Great change was on the horizon and new ways of thinking, new art and music forms were breaking through, the film industry was pushing through its scandals and experiencing growth. It wasn’t only in the arts that things were changing, the shape of countries was also changing as well as their politics as well as leaders who had ideals, inspired from the past and their 1922 present. Nick Rennison in his book about this year informs in an interesting snippets that make me think of newsreel articles in some ways. Each part isn’t overly long and yet has enough depth to pique interest and there are many events that occurred that readers may not know about this period of history. Each part, as well as being short is split into each month of the year.
This is a book that people ought to read as the impact is everlasting. By impact I don’t mean it is all negative, there’s positives too. It shows more that each year doesn’t live in isolation of the year previous or what comes after.

There is clearly a lot of research in documenting a lot of what happened in 1922 and then to write it in a way that doesn’t feel too text book like and is actually interesting enough to make you continue reading past the first pages to find out what else happened from the well-known and the perhaps lesser-known.

The book tells a bit of The Spanish Flu and its effects, which no doubt will bring people to think about the present times (at time of writing this blog post). It also documents the deaths for many reasons – from illness to assassination, of prominent people such as Shackleton, Alexander Graham Bell and more. There are people who I certainly haven’t heard of and yet made an impact on the world and there are many people who I have heard of who also have made a lasting impact on the world. The book respectfully tells the truth about them and means people aren’t forever forgotten about, whether they were good people or not.

There are a number of murders woven into months where there was better news such as the emergence of people who were to become sportstars and film stars of their time and their achievements as well as all the above in the blurb and so much more…

There is also political turmoil in a few countries in the world, including Russia, China, Italy as Fascist (far right) and Communist (far left) had emerged and getting stronger, especially Communism. It’s interesting for those who don’t know some of the smaller details that had a huge impact and both exist today, sometimes strong and powerful, some politicians on the edges and getting closer to far right or far left politics in the world. The countries still don’t stand still as the fall of empires occur and near the end of the year, the formation of the USSR.

Jazz had emerged and the Roaring Twenties was starting to really flow and The Jazz Age had well and truly arrived and the changing dancing styles as older figurations of dancing started to completely transform into something more energetic and, considered by some, quite outrageous.

This is a book that will interest people who like history, are interested in the 1920’s or just wondering what was happening in 1922 to expand their knowledge. There’s something in it for all adults as so much was happening that lots of wider topics such as music, film, politics, famous people are covered and so much more… There is much people of any age can learn about.

#BookReview by Lou of Own Your Period @chellaquint@QuartoKnows #PeriodPositive #YA #Teens #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember

Own Your Period
By Chella Quint

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Periods, they are the most natural things in the world in a girl and woman’s cycle, but for some can feel a bit of a taboo subeject and this can be a good resource. To a certain extent Own Your Period is empowering. It most definitely helps to increase knowledge about periods and answers those questions 9 year old plus girls may have. Find out more in the blurb and more informative review below.
Thanks to Quarto Knows publishers for gifting me a copy to review.

Blurb

Own Your Own PeriodHaving a period is an incredible thing – Own Your Period celebrates what the body can do and provides young people (age 9+) with everything they need to be prepared… and empowered.  

This fact-filled guide to periods is bursting with positive, honest advice on managing and understanding menstruation, covering every aspect of periods as well as lots of advice on puberty and growing up in a warm, friendly and reassuring way.

Topics covered include the fascinating science behind why things happen, with all the details of menstruation through to the menopause explained, as well as answers to all essential questions like what’s a vulva and what does it look like, what do periods actually feel like, and what happens if blood stains your clothes?

Menstrual expert and educator Chella Quint’s witty text slays superstitions, busts common myths and fights period shame, while providing practical information about menstrual products, tracking cycles and sharingher own personal stories.

Funny, insightful and warm illustrations with friendly chatty text makes this an everything-you-need-to-know essential handbook, which pre-teens can refer to before their periods start, and will appreciate when their cycle is more established. 

This complete guide will prove an invaluable companion to any young person about to start their first period, and will help them embrace their cycle with positivity and pride, and grow into healthy, happy people!

Review

Own Your Own Period is a valuable book for ages 9+ and aims it just right at this age group. It’s informative and reassuring. It is warm and inviting and full of illustrations that go with the information provided. It will answer all those pressing questions without scaring pre-teens and teens alike. In doing so it will debunk myths, presumptions, misconceptions. It will prepare older children and teenagers for starting their periods and take away some of the awkwardness. The tone of the book also assists in this and makes it readable for this age group and makes it less text book like. The title is also great because it isn’t anyone else’s period but your own, but what the book shows is shared experiences that some may be able to relate to with their own periods.

There are sections about what you may feel when you get your period as well as the biology so you can understand your body more. The environmental part isn’t quite so well done and could have been done a bit better so it doesn’t feel so pressurised as people try to find what works best and feels comfortable for them.
The explanation of how to use some sanitary products is good enough.

There is some wit in some of the anecdotes provided and this lightens the mood and will make it feel more comfortable for readers experiencing or going to experience their periods for the first time. The fun-facts also make this easy for information to digest, as does the structure of the book that also goes some way into encouraging the end of period shame. The cover is also great at showing girls, that whatever your skin colour, you’re likely to have a period and hopefully it can go someway to help break down barriers in all cultures and backgrounds. The chatty layout normalises it to a certain extent and brings some positivity in the fact that this can be used to enhance, gain knowledge in a real way.

The book can also be used as a tool for 9 plus year olds to start a conversation with their parents because when with something like a book, it can make this easier as it arms you with info that you may want to talk about, and the same goes with parents/carers too with their children or young people in their charge.

The Suicide Prevention Pocket Guidebook @welbeckpublish #welbeckbalance #TheSuicidePreventionPocketGuidebook #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember #MentalHealth

The Suicide Prevention Pocket Guidebook
By Joy Hibbins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Would you know how to support someone who is in crisis and having suicidal thoughts? This book will assist you in enhancing your knowledge. Thanks to Welbeck Books/Welbeck Balance for gifting me this important book to review. Discover the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

The Suicide Prevention Guidebook cover picUnderstandably, we may feel extremely cautious about how to approach or talk to someone who is having suicidal thoughts; we may be worried about saying or doing the ‘wrong thing’ – and this often creates a barrier to helping.

In this pocket guidebook, Joy Hibbins, founder of the charitySuicide Crisis, shares her invaluable experience of helping people through suicidal crisis. Using the charity’s groundbreaking approach, Joy helps you gain the practical skills, knowledge and confidence you need to support friends, work colleagues or family members during a time of crisis.

This book will show you how to: 
• Understand the complexity of suicidal feelings and what may lead to a crisis 
• Be aware of factors that can increase someone’s risk of suicide 
• Directly ask someone about suicidal thoughts 
• Build empathy and a strong connection with the individual in crisis 
• Learn strategies to support someone and help them survive

The fact that you care, and you want to help, can make such a difference to someone who is in need of support.

Review

This is an easy to follow and digest guidebook that is accessible to all. The book is broken up into short, easy to read paragraphs, with some examples too, which enhances understanding and firms up what the chapter is saying, as does the short summaries at the end of each chapter. There are also a comprehensive list to who to call when you need support for yourself, a loved one or a complete stranger who you find yourself supporting. Being a pocketguide makes it easily transportable to have easy to hand.

The book is covers all manner of sub-topics and takes your hand on what is a huge subject and leads you through. It goes through what you may be feeling when faced with someone who has suicidal thoughts and vaildates them, such as fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, guilt and more, as well as reassuring that the book will equip you with the tools to manage this situation, that you may not already have. This can be highly useful because you just don’t know if or when you will come across someone who is suicidal. The book splits suicide into parts, including Passive Thoughts of Wanting to Die, Active Thoughts About Suicide, Suicidal Intent. It also explains certain terms as well as increases your understanding about what may lead to a sucidal crisis. The book then goes onto debunking as many as 10 myths/misinformation about suicide. The book then tells you of warning signs, including what they may say or do and potential mood changes. So, this gives you information that puts everything into context and what to look out for. The book develops from here into how you can help practically and lists questions you can ask and how to handle them as they helpfully include many permeatations in answers; your body language and actively listening; tone of voice; topics to focus on; how to help them survive (again, if it is more than 1 crisis point they have experienced in their lives) and creating a safety plan.

The book responsibly also talks about how to care for yourself after supporting someone who is at suicidal crisis point. It also says about what support the person in crisis can also recieve and who you can call.

The book is all in all one that seems very valuable for everyone.

#Bookreview by Lou of The Boy Between by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley @mrsamandaprowse #JosiahHartley @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember #MentalHealth #BlogTour

The Boy Between
By Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley
Rated: 5 stars ***** 

Today I have the priviledge of closing the blog tour for The Boy Between with a review
Tender, authentic, profound, honest and incredibly emotionally insightful – The Boy Between, you can tell, is written from the heart and covers so much ground in what became a family crisis, that I am sure will connect with so many people on some level or another and what makes it unique is, this crisis in mental health is told from a mother and son’s perspective. It makes it a rounded read and one I think will perhaps benefit so many people, whether you are the person directly suffering or someone more indirectly, caring or just perhaps know someone or want to find out more.

Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours for inviting me to review this book.
Find out about both authors below, then the blurb and review.

About the Authors

The Boy Between Josh ProwseJosiah (Josh) Hartley lives in an isolated farmhouse in the West Country, but close enough to Bristol to enjoy its music scene. He is an animal lover and servant to two French Bulldogs. Equally happy at a music festival or watching rugby with his mates, he likes the outdoor life and with Devon only a short drive away often heads to the sea to surf and sit on the beach watching the sun go down. After a stint at the University of Southampton and another at the University of Bristol and one unsuccessful suicide attempt, Josh decided to write about his descent into mental illness and the depression that has held him in its grip for the past few years. The Boy Between carries the overriding message that things can and often do get better. It’s a book of reflection, raw, honest and full of hope: the proof being that Josh is still here and now excited about what comes next. He is ready to catch any opportunities that life throws his way, quite a thing for someone who only three years ago was living in a world gone grey, ready to disappear from the face of the earth…

The Boy Between Amanda ProwseAmanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author twenty-five novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is, and will always be, writing. This is her first work of non-fiction.

You can find her online at www.amandaprowse.com, on Twitter or Instagram @MrsAmandaProwse, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove.

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Blurb

Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one… 

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.

Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.

In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.

For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.

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Review

No one wants to find themselves in a situation where their child becomes depressed or indeed has a mental health issue, but there is a heartfelt reminder at the start of the book that you are not alone. What Josiah and Amanda have done is bravely spoken out about how it is and how it came to be that a 19 year old boy became depressed. Hopefully one day it won’t be a brave thing to do, it just will float into natural conversation, but I use, that sometimes overrated word because mental health is still judged and still needs to be part of this type of conversation to get it even more into the public domain and in the hope that people will seek help.

It starts with a prologue as to the state in which Josh became so depressed he could have committed suicide, followed by an introduction by Amanda that shows what a hard predicament to find a household having to deal with and write it down. It’s such an honest account that they deserve kudos as they each write alternating chapters, so you as a reader can see 2 perspectives, one from Josiah who is deeply depressed and the other from Amanda who wants to save her son.
This book may resonate with some people, whether they are that person or caring for a person in similar circumstances and it also brings it more out into the public domain for a wider conversation, understanding and empathy.

The writing is absorbing because of the language that is used and you can almost feel what is being written. There is such honesty and a rawness that comes with that. It is incredibly moving and emotional and at the same time informative in a way and may well leave you just wanting to hug them.

There are some lovely tender moments when Amanda recollects when, Joshy, as she likes to call him, is very young and has the ambition of cutting grass and comes up with a rather emotionally intelligent answer as to why this and not something else. There is also, almost a bittersweetness to it. The importance of happiness also comes across.

The innermost thoughts are incredibly interesting from both Josiah and Amanda. What is fascinating and thought-provoking is some of the back-tracking Amanda does, from how her son was when he was very young to the present, in terms of his health and his personality traits and the correlations between how he was then and now, similarly as Josiah talks about his own life from the past and present. There are some uplifiting moments that just capture a different, more positive, lighter side of life that spike through times when life was quite the opposite.

It is highly responsible too that they have highlighted high profile mental health campaigns such as ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’ and ‘Britain Get Talking’ amongst others, including Mental Health Month and then there is also MIND and The Samaritans. At the bottom of my review, I will add some contact links to people who can assist. Never find yourself alone. Within the book there is also a list of symptoms to depression. It’s all incredibly well thought out, it is about the authors lives, which I’m certain many readers will be able to relate to and also has helpful information throughout it as well, that builds for a greater understanding. It is more than lists, it is from the point of view of how it actually feels for Josiah as well. There are the challenges of school, homelife and university life. There is the mother trying to do the best she can for her son and wishing for a better outcome and then there is the offspring, going through depression and in reality they are both, in different ways, having to deal with it and live with it. It really shows how mental health issues can affect the whole family, just in different ways.

The book takes a very interesting look into universities, it could actually provide some use for people within them, for students, but a greater insight for those who are staffing them. It also shows up what is lacking within society that needs fixing, whether that was intentional or not, I do not know, but it’s certainly there, which could be very thought-provoking as a society as a whole, in how behaviours affect others. It is startling how much pressure is there, when it is actually all written down, from work/study/life balance to barely being seen as a whole human-being in places like universities and more and how it all made, in this instance, Josh feel and the impact it had.

The book also goes into an interesting look into anti-depressants, Josh’s take on them and also some of the effects he had and being in the psychiatrist’s office and also the lack of understanding from friends. This really is such an honest look into his life.

It concludes with very helpful advice for those who have depression and those who are carers/guardians/friends of those with depression that could really benefit someone in someway and are really easy to do. There is also a list of people, really famous people, who readers perhaps wouldn’t have thought, could possibly have depression because of being in the spotlight so much for their achievements. It also shows some hope and positivity for the authors futures.

Useful Links – You Are Not Alone.
The links below are of places you can go confidentiality to seek any confidential assistance you may need. I’ve added them here but please know, I would not know if you have clicked on them or not.

Mind               Samaritans

The Greatest Beer Run Ever – A Crazy Adventure In A Crazy War – Soon to be a Movie by John “Chick” Donohue and J.T. Molloy #GreatestBeerRun #JohnChickieDonohue @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #NonFiction #NonFictionNovember

The Greatest Beer Run Ever – A Crazy Adventure In A Crazy War
by John “Chick” Donohue
Soon to be a Major Movie
Rated: 5 stars *****

Adventure like no other! The Greatest Beer Run Ever – A Crazy Adventure In A Crazy War is an enthralling page-turner that greatly enhances any knowledge of Vietnam and is highly unique! This is an adventure that has not been told before until now, in what is a fascinating book!

Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and of course Monoray for sending a hardback copy of the book, that will soon be a major movie.

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Blurb

THE GREATEST BEER RUN EVER: A Crazy Adventure in a Crazy War is the amazing
true story of a young man going to take his buddies a few cans of beer – in the heat of
the Vietnam war. In 1967 – having seen students protesting against the Vietnam war, some
New York City bar friends decided that someone should hop over to Vietnam to buy their
various neighbourhood army buddies a beer, to show them that SOMEONE appreciates
what they’re doing over there. One man was up for the challenge: John “Chickie” Donohue.
A U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner, Chickie decided he wasn’t about
to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him most.
Chickie set off on an adventure that changed his life forever. Armed with Irish luck and
a backpack full of alcohol, he made his way to Qui Nho’n, tracking down his disbelieving
friends one by one. But Chickie saw more of the war than he ever bargained for…

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOVIE
Peter Farrelly, writer and producer of Green Book, is turning THE GREATEST BEER
RUN EVER into a movie, currently slated for Autumn 2020 (TBC). In 2018 Green Book
won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Original
Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor. Farrelly has also directed and produced Dumb
and Dumber, Shallow Hal, Me, Myself and Irene, There’s Something About Mary, and the
2007 remake of The Heartbreak Kid.

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Review

John “Chick” Donahue, was, at 26 years of age, a US Marine Corps veteran working as a merchant seaman, when challenged to do something, whilst in a bar – The Hedgehog Inn in NYC. A tradition brought about from ancestry from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. It’s more serious than any old joke about An Englishman, A Scotsman, An Irishman walked into a bar…. These men had known death of family and friends in the Vietnam War, as if that wasn’t enough, they had to deal with protestors, which were more than just frustrating to John. This is when the most fantastical challenge was brewed up, to track down their comrades in Vietnam and give them beer, hugs, support etc. It almost sounds unbelievable, but this actually did happen.

Turns out John also knew Frank McCourt from Angela’s Ashes fame. I should think many people still remember this book and will find what he has to say about an incident, highly interesting.

The book moves onto showing a bit about the political scene and also, more interesting, the thoughts that went through the men’s minds when they saw people protesting about the war and their comrades just going about their duty in Vietnam; whatever you think about the war itself, this becomes thought-provoking and very, very “human” and is told well, from this point of view. It’s almost looking a bit behind the scenes as it were as it delves deeper than the surface and it is an enthralling read. No matter how much you know about the Vietnam War, this will add to readers knowledge and show a whole different uniqueness.

What started as an almost flippant comment about taking beer to Vietnam becomes real, the support for it to happen is phenominal and the adventure, something, as crazy as it sounds, nothing short of inspiring! It’s such a treat of a book of a little known event, that now can reach wider audiences and has even inspired a film company to turn it into a movie is nothing short of miraculous and is a good find! It takes people from NYC to Qui Nhon, Vietnam to their fellow comrades, with beer in their arms and Irish songs in their voices. There is a fascinating insight into what was happening in Vietnam during the war and the GI’s and the weaponary and the danger John “Chick” Donahue was around as he witnesses POWs. There is a great feel of the time that he was there at a perspective  that, perhaps, unless you were there, wouldn’t otherwise have known about. There is all emotions mixed with fascination and even in a war ravaged place, there can be kindnesses. Although, ultimately there is sadness as there always will be in war, but there are pockets that are astonishing with people being kind to each other. It uplifts it all a bit and amazingly is not at all a heavy read. It is somewhat a page-turner, leading to a poignant end.

There are fabulous photos throughout the book, which feels so poignant and brings about a heightened emotion and in a sense, some certain respect and adds a real richness and further understanding of this period of time.

Is it worth the hype and no doubt the hype it will get when the movie is made? Absolutely! It’s so unique and yes it’s sad about the Vietnam war, but out of this is terrific beyond the call of duty type friendship, comradeship, kindness and care. This book brings a whole different light onto a period of time that is mostly noted for it being so tragic.

About the Author

John “Chickie” Donohue joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of
seventeen and spent several years as a Merchant Mariner after his discharge. His
work took him to numerous foreign ports, including Saigon during the Vietnam War.
After the war, he became a Sandhog, or tunnel builder, and eventually became the
Legislative and Political Director of Sandhogs, Local 147, Laborers International Union
of North America, a post in which he served for over three decades. Donohue is a
graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government where he
received his Master of Public Administration degree. He is happily married to Theresa
“Terri” O’Neil and spends his time between New York, Florida, and West Cork, Ireland.

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