Reviewed by Joni Bour

Not every book engages me. Not every book makes me give up sleep in order to continue reading. Not all books begin at the beginning and end at the end, but this one does.

This author tells his story, giving life to his memories, making you feel as though the events he chronicles happened weeks not decades ago. He may have left things out for the sake of time, space or his own personal reason. But if there are holes in this history, I was unable to find them. The story is tight without being uptight. He doesnít pull any punches and is not shy in the least about speaking the truth as he sees it. This sometimes means a tough criticism of those who were his superior, our government or the American people. But who better to judge than someone who lived the story? He speaks from practical experience and some that were incredible experiences; some of them weren't. They might even be hard to believe except for the fact that many that he relates are well documented by other sources.

His entire book is very well laid out and gives you what I believe is a very clear picture of how a regular young man did some quite extraordinary things. Much of what he did, he feels was just what he should have been doing, trying to use his head to keep himself and others alive and whole, keeping his integrity and self respect intact. But if that was an easy task, then there can be no explanation why so many men were unable to do the same. The more logical explanation is that he may have been a down to earth young man, wanting not a lot more than to stay alive, but he was no regular guy. He was born to be a leader. Not the sort of leader than sits back and doesnít get involved. Not the sort that never knows what is going on but thinks he knows how to get the work done. Nope, he knew how to get the work done, because he was one of the workers. How better to lead than by example?

It canít be easy to decide to write about your life, especially a part that many who share similar memories would rather forget. But then to write down those remembrances, detail by detail, favorable or not, to finally throw caution to the wind, is impressive indeed. Much credit should be given to a man who could easily brush over the unglorified, untidy and unimaginable but doesnít.

If you are looking for a book completely free of chest pounding, he-man GI Joe and 'check me out I am a hero' talk, then you have found the right book. If you were hoping for a story that will just tell you how a man might end up in a place a gazillion miles from his home, fighting a war whose motives changed like the directions of the wind, this is the one. He will answer your questions and offer you more. In his own quiet, conversational, plain-speak way, without shouting it from the highest peak and without a single whisper of HE-man talk, Mr. Wiknik proves he was and is a warrior, an American hero and a living part of our history. If you ever had questions about the war, if you ever doubted the intentions of the powers that were, without a doubt when you close the covers of the book you will have no concerns about the motives, integrity or will of the man who went there.

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Posted 12/12/06