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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


None Braver: U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen in the War on Terrorism by Michael Hirsh (New American Library) From award-winning journalist and combat veteran Michael Hirsh comes the true inside story of the Air Force's pararescue operations in Afghanistan in None Braver. The first journalist to be embedded with an Air Force combat unit in the war on terrorism, Hirsh flew from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, with the 71st Rescue Squadron to their expeditionary headquarters at a secret location in Central Asia .  

Michael Hirsh is a Vietnam combat veteran, a broadcast journalist, and a George Foster Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. He is the author of`Pararescue: The Skill and Courage of the Elite 106th Rescue Wing: The True Story of an Incredible Rescue at Sea and the Heroes Who Pulled It Off.|/span>

The pararescuemen are a super elite force with only 350 men on active duty, in the Reserve and in the Air National Guard combined. When an American air crew goes down, when Army Rangers or Special Forces or Navy SEALs need rescuing, it’s the PJs who go after them. The dropout rate in the grueling indoctrination course is over 85%. They can accomplish a rescue anywhere on the globe, in any conditions. The pararescuemen motto is: “That others may live.” Indeed, there are None Braver.

Hirsh recounts incredible stories of PJ5 in combat in Afghanistan , including:

  • Operation Anaconda saw the first pararescueman killed in combat since Vietnam .`PJ Jason Cunningham was fatally wounded while treating casualties caused during an intense firefight between al-Qaeda and an Army Ranger platoon.
  • An MH-53 helicopter crashed in the Afghan mountains. The crew evaded local forces with the help of two PJs until they were rescued by their sister helicopter.
  • PJs were called to the rescue when a 2,000-pound JDAM bomb accidentally fell on an American Special Forces unit that was escorting future Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.
  • The Ditka 03, an MC-130P airplane, slammed into the Hindu Kush Mountains at 10,000 feet while on a secret mission. Miraculously, the eight men on board survived and were rescued by PJs.

The first book about the actions of PJs in wartime, None Braver is the Air-Force authorized inside story of the Air Force’s pararescue effort in Afghanistan , and it is indeed a thrilling story.

The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West (Revised Edition) by William H. Leckie with Shirley A. Leckie ( University of Oklahoma Press ) Originally published in 1967, Leckie’s The Buffalo Soldiers was`the first book of its kind to recognize the importance of African American units in the conquest of the West. In this revised edition, the authors, William H. Leckie, retired Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of History at the University of Toledo, and Shirley A. Leckie, Professor of History at`the University of Central Florida, further explore the lives of buffalo soldiers in the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments, showing that they were increasingly confident in their fighting ability and, above all, determined to prove themselves worthy of their newly entitled citizenship.

Before Leckie’s groundbreaking work, buffalo soldiers had been relegated to historical obscurity. Thirty-six years later, with sales of more than 73,000 copies, The Buffalo Soldiers is a classic. Now, in this revised edition, the authors expand the original research.

Written in accessible prose that includes a synthesis of recent scholarship, The Buffalo Soldiers delves further into the social impact of being an African American soldier in the nineteenth century. This work also explores the experiences of the soldiers’ families at frontier posts. In a new epilogue, the authors summarize developments in the lives of buffalo soldiers after the Indian Wars and discuss contemporary efforts to memorialize them in film, art, and architecture.

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