Friday, September 16, 2011

True stories are waiting for you @ your library

Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

Publishers Weekly

Wilber's gripping minute-by-minute account of the day that president Reagan (codename Rawhide) was shot reveals the major players in the drama, including the president's doctors, his would-be assassin, Secret Service agents, White House staffers, Vice President George H.W. Bush, and Nancy Reagan. The first time author, a reporter for The Washington Post, writes with particular empathy for the stunned, shaken doctors and nurses who made a massive effort to overcome the challenges of locating the bullet, repairing the lung, and fighting debilitating blood loss as the 70-year-old president's life hung in the balance. Wilber explains what it's like to be in the Secret Service, the characteristics of the presidential limousine and its "foam bladder-style fuel tank that was designed to reduce the risk of an explosion," and the great urgency surrounding the attempted assassination: "they sped toward the FBI's field office, the agents knew there was only one way to find out quickly w
hether their suspect had acted alone. They would have to get him to crack." At the same time, advisors and staff engaged in power skirmishes and grandstanding. The author draws from a multitude of notes and sources, offering a fascinating glimpse of a pivotal moment in history. Photos.

SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

Kirkus Reviews

Though Templin is a co-author, the bulk of this book belongs to Wasdin, aveteran of the infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident who reflects on his service and life after the Navy SEALs.

While most are aware that the SEALs are America's military elite, few know that "[w]hen the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six," a group tasked with counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. Wasdin saw combat with Team Six, following an unusual Navy career and a hardscrabble early life. He stolidly discusses an impoverished Southern childhood of farm work and frequent beatings by his stepfather: "Leon didn't kill me, but anything that was not done exactly right, I paid for." The author was drawn to the discipline of JROTC in high school; unable to afford college, he signed up for the Navy's Search and Rescue program in the early '80s. After distinguishing himself on risky helicopter-borne operations, he re-enlisted in exchange for a tryout in the notoriously difficult SEALs training program. Wasdin ably portrays this harrowing experience, particularly Hell Week, which was designed to weed out applicants. As a SEAL, Wasdin picked the grueling specialty of sniper; he saw action in Grenada, and received a Navy Commendation Medal in 1991 for covert operations during Desert Storm. The heart of the book is the ill-fated Battle of Mogadishu, where SEAL Team Six first operated a safe house in enemy territory, then became involved in the protracted firefight around two downed helicopters; Wasdin's grave wounds ended his SEAL career. The author demonstrates an impressive attention to detail, vividly recalling the chronology of several violent missions and comfortably discussing the nitty-gritty of the SEALs' uncompromising training and cutting-edge equipment and tactics. The writing is plainspoken and not overly reflective—the author doesn't consider how his difficult upbringing might have contributed to his warrior's nature. Still, as he describes his exit from military life, Wasdin gives a good sense of how confronting warfare and bloody death has ultimately made him a more contemplative and faithful person.

Realistic overview of an often misunderstood fighting force.

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales

From Barnes & Noble

Bill Rasmussen would not have launched ESPN if a Connecticut hockey team hadn't fired him and his son. In fact, when it was first aired in 1979, ESP (it picked up the "N" only later) was a distinctly local affair. Only later did it become a multi-billion dollar corporation and "the Worldwide Leader in Sports." James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales' Those Guys Have All The Fun accomplishes what many thought impossible: It provides the inside history of a small enterprise that became a media behemoth that changed the face of broadcasting and sports. To research this book, Miller and Shales (Live From New York) conducted more than 500 interviews with outspoken luminaries including Chris Berman, Robin Roberts, Keith Olbermann, Hannah Storm, Mike Ditka, Bob Knight, and scores of others.

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