Since we have had so much of the aforementioned snow and ice, this winter has been a good time to plow through some books. Even with my busy schedule I try to read a book every week. I thought I would give a little review on three books that my son Zack and daughter-in-law Vanessa gave me for Christmas. So here is my first attempt at a Coach’s Corner Book Review.
I will use an athletic rating system such as the following.
All American = Beyond excellent book, an absolute must read, one of the best books ever.
All State = Great book, only a few will exceed this one.
All Region = Good book, definitely worth reading.
All District = Fair book.
Starter = Readable but one has to be really interested in the subject.
Bench Warmer = Would read if nothing else is available.
Cut List = Didn’t make the team, wouldn’t read again.
TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE By Solomon Northup
Twelve Years A Slave is a riveting narrative written by Solomon Northup. Northup was a free black man living in the state of New York in 1841. While on a trip to Washington DC, he was abducted and sold into slavery. He was held in bondage for 12 years as a slave in Louisiana. Northup chronicles the trials and tribulations as well as horrors he endured as a slave. His portrayal of the slaves’ life is vivid enough to make you wince every time his master lashes the whip into his back. As you read the book and he strives to regain his freedom, you will find your own hopes rising and falling with his. Written in the language of someone who served as a slave in the mid 1800’s, one has to reread some passages to understand them fully. This book however is a must read.
Coach’s Corner Rating = All American
OUTLAW PLATOON By Sean Parnell
Copyrighted in 2012 Outlaw Platoon is a book about the war in Afghanistan. Sean Parnell is a 24 year old US Army Ranger who commanded an elite infantry platoon in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. After reading this book you will marvel at the bravery of the soldiers of the United States Armed Forces. The book focuses on just how close combat can bring men together. The men of the Outlaw Platoon become family. As you read this book, however, you can’t help but draw many parallels to what happened when our country went to war in Vietnam. The insurgents in Afghanistan constantly run to Pakistan to seek safe haven as the Vietnamese did to Cambodia and Laos. As it was in Vietnam, it is also hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys in the many hamlets and villages. It seems as if every time the US soldiers win a battle and take a hill, it is only a matter of days before that same spot is restocked with enemy troops.
Reading Outlaw Platoon made me do two things. One was respect our troops to the utmost. The other was to pray for their safety every night. Oh yeah, one more thing. Reading Outlaw Platoon made me wonder about the politicians that are OK with sending our troops to that desolate place. I wonder how many of them would be willing to sevre there.
Coach’s Corner Rating = All Region
THE LONG GRAY LINE By Rick Atkinson
This book follows the West Point class of 1966 from their arrival at the nation’s military academy in 1962 through their graduation in 1966. Three individuals are followed closely throughout the book. After the class graduates the author takes you on a journey with those individuals to war in Vietnam. Much of the book is about the Vietnam War and the different ways the men featured in this book served there. Some of the West Point Class of 66’ served on the front lines and some served in the rear, farther from harm’s way. All in all the book is a 25 year saga of the West point Class of 1966. Just when you think most of the main characters have survived throughout the war, there will be a violent and tragic event to happen in the last portion of your reading.
The Long Gray Line is loaded with history about West Point as well as about our country and the wars we have been involved in. If you like history and books on war, especially Vietnam you will like this book
Coach’s Corner Rating = All State.
All right, check these books out and let me know what you think. Got to go now. Need to shovel some snow off the driveway.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.