The Eye of Nefertiti

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The Eye of Nefertiti: A Pharaoh's Cat Novel Book Cover The Eye of Nefertiti: A Pharaoh's Cat Novel
Pharaoh's Cat
Maria Luisa Lang
Fantasy
Maria Luisa Lang
November 29, 2016
Paperback
208

The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The time-traveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter.

The cat is quick-witted, wise-cracking narrator as well as free-spirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy. The cat travels from present-day New York City to England, both ancient and modern, then to ancient Egypt, where he confronts a horrible demon and experiences a sublime emotion. Once back in England, he descends into a psychological abyss so deep only the Pharaoh can save him.

The Eye of Nefertiti interweaves feline and human, past and present, natural and supernatural. It contains numerous surprises, twists and turns, intriguing characters, both human and animal, fascinating revelations about ancient Egyptian history and culture, and an ingenious application of the Tarot and an Italian opera.

Maria Luisa Lang was born in Rome, Italy, and lives in New York City. She has a degree in art history and is an amateur Egyptologist. The Eye of Nefertiti is her second novel. Her first novel, The Pharaoh’s Cat, is also available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition.

 

The Eye of Nefertiti and its prequel, The Pharaoh’s Cat, were both provided to me freely by the author in exchange for honest reviews.

Picking up not long after the end of The Pharaoh’s Cat, Wrappa-Hamen’s adventures continue in The Eye of Nefertiti. This sequel was designed as a standalone book; the first book is summed up in the first chapter, so you do not have to read The Pharaoh’s Cat first. Still, reading the first book is recommended so you know the characters for this one. Like the first book, this is an adventure story featuring a time traveling talking cat with a penchant for trouble.

Wrappa-Hamen largely retains his character from the first book, being a snarky kitty who inadvertently (and advertently) causes mischief. He makes such a great character because it is what a sentient cat would probably really behave like. Wrappa-Hamen shows loyalty and love to his friends and family but is also a glutton who likes to take naps and avoid hard work. Alongside those continuing traits, Wrappa-Hamen does continue to learn and grow throughout the book. Other recurring characters get less focus and do not develop quite as much. On the flipside, we are also introduced to some nifty new characters as well.

Whereas The Pharaoh’s Cat felt a little lacking in detail, The Eye of Nefertiti was better paced. Wrappa-Hamen’s adventure went along at just the right pace this time around. It felt more like the characters were walking through the events at a nice pace rather than running through them. Like the first book, knowing a little bit about ancient Egypt helps. Nothing textbook heavy, just what you would expect to find in a basic book on the subject like knowing the major deities.

Despite being a walking (on two legs), talking cat, Wrappa-Hamen does seem to be capable of things that seem physically impossible. At one point, he mentions changing his own litter box. This seems like it would be very, very difficult considering he has no thumbs. But since he is magic, maybe this is cartoon logic where characters can just pick things up without the proper appendages (think VeggieTales). Beyond that one little tidbit, the book was an overall upgrade from The Pharaoh’s Cat. Maria Luisa Lang took what she accomplished with the first book and built it up into bigger and better things for The Eye of Nefertiti. Overall, this was a very fun book that I was happy to read and I do plan to keep my eye open for the next one.

March 12, 2017

The Pharaoh’s Cat

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The Pharaoh's Cat Book Cover The Pharaoh's Cat
Pharaoh's Cat
Maria Luisa Lang
Fantasy
Maria Luisa Lang
May 16, 2015
Paperback
182

The Pharaoh’s Cat, a tragicomic fantasy narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, tells of a free-spirited, wise-cracking stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly acquires human powers and immediately captivates the young Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death.

The cat becomes the Pharaoh’s constant companion and, at the royal palace and on a tour of Egypt, participates in the festivities, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. Gradually, he renews the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspires him to become a stronger leader. The bond of selfless love they share will change Egypt’s destiny.

The cat has a good friend in the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that plague him. He has a mortal enemy in the Vizier—the second most powerful man in Egypt--who hates him for his close relationship with the Pharaoh. The Vizier’s persecution of the cat ultimately results in his fleeing with the High Priest to present-day New York City, where they find an ally in an Egyptologist’s daughter.

Maria Luisa Lang was born in Rome and lives in New York City. She has a degree in art history and is an amateur Egyptologist. The Pharaoh's Cat is her first novel. The Eye of Nefertiti, both a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat and a stand-alone novel, is also available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition.

 

The Pharaoh’s Cat and its sequel, the Eye of Nefertiti, were sent to me complementary by the author for a pair of honest reviews.

This book is a fun little story about a talking cat in ancient Egypt and his best friend the Pharaoh. The historical references are not too detailed so anyone could follow that aspect of the book easily enough. Most of the references do with Egyptian mythology but stick to its more well-known areas. I knew the references thanks to Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles so it is nothing too complex.

Wrappa-Hamen, the talking cat protagonist, is pretty much what I would expect if cats could really talk. He has a good heart, but tends to unintentionally cause trouble as he constantly tries to get food and avoid doing things he considers too much work. He also intentionally causes his fair share of trouble as well. The key good guys are the Pharaoh and the High Priest. While the Pharaoh is Wrappa-Hamen’s beloved companion, the High Priest is more of a friend and advisor. And of course, there is the evil Vizier. Forever following the unwritten rule that Vizier’s must be evil in stories such as these.

One thing I did not like about the book is that it felt too short. That is not to say the story needed more content overall. It felt like The Pharaoh’s Cat did not have enough meat on its bones. Things are not quite fast paced enough to feel rushed, but with more details added in the book could have been another 100 pages and it would have been fine. Some of the magical phenomenon are accepted quickly by the “normal” characters and certain events are more summarized than explained.

It is nice to see a fantasy book where the presence of magic is not overdone. Beyond Wrappa-Hamen being able to walk and talk, the presence of magic is subtle. Not every fantasy book needs wizards casting Magic Missile at the darkness; a small touch of magic here and there is still enough to give the story what it needs. Ultimately it was the short length of the book that made me decide on 3 stars instead of 4, but I like to think of The Pharaoh’s Cat as more of a 3.5 (if only the rating system would allow that). It was exciting enough to make me look forward to the sequel, which I will be reviewing next.

March 5, 2017

Split

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Poster for the movie "Split"

Split

Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.

20171 h 57 min
Overview

Though Kevin has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 57 min
Release Date 19 January 2017
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

Split has finally ended the near 18-year rut that was M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography. While not quite on the same level as The Sixth Sense, it is by far one of Shyamalan’s best films. His previous film, The Visit, was not bad but certainly was not on the level of Signs and Unbreakable like Split. The psychology behind both the antagonists and main protagonist largely shapes the film. James McAvoy’s spot on acting of Dissociative Identity Disorder particularly nails it with him swapping between innocent and sociopathic roles throughout the movie.

It is very hard to review this film without spoilers, but it is fair to say this goes beyond a typical abduction story. A villain with multiple personalities provides a unique mix between a group of kidnappers vs. a single deranged individual. This on top of the fact that not all of McAvoy’s personalities are malicious make his inner struggle a constant factor in his victim’s struggle against him/them. The three girls, however, have very little personality. Two of them are just kind of there while the main one, the weird kid in school, actually does stuff.

While this film is labeled as “horror”, it is really more of a drama thriller. There is certainly a fear aspect to the film, what with the kidnapping and all, the film does not contain jump scares and other horror movie tropes. Split is more of about psychology and the question of what does it mean to be human. And how our experiences in life shapes who and what we are. That being said, the film has come under backlash for its portrayal of someone with a mental illness. If you are part of the group who treats being offended like the Olympics, this may not be the film for you. For those who do not have this issue, the film is quite enjoyable.

Shyamalan does manage to work on of his trademarked twists into this film, but surprisingly it is not at a crucial plot-turning point. This made a huge impact on the movie. Shyamalan has become known for each of his films having a twist. Going into a movie knowing there will be a twist by and large diminishes the twist. That omission from his usual work made Split flow smoother for a much more enjoyable film. The “twist” in this movie is more of an Easter Egg and sets Split up to have a potential sequel. Bottom line, keep up the good work Mr. Shyamalan!

February 26, 2017

Paper: Paging Through History

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Paper: Paging Through History Book Cover Paper: Paging Through History
Mark Kurlansky
History
W.W. Norton & Company (NY/London)
May 10, 2016
Paperback
389

From the New York Times best-selling author of Cod and Salt, a definitive history of paper and the astonishing ways it has shaped today’s world.
Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce and art. It has created civilizations, fostering the fomenting of revolutions and the stabilizing of regimes. Witness history’s greatest press run, which produced 6.5 billion copies of Máo zhuˇ xí yuˇ lu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong), or the fact that Leonardo da Vinci left behind only 15 paintings but 4000 works on paper. Now, on the cusp of “going paperless”—and amid rampant speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society—we’ve come to a world-historic juncture to examine what paper means to civilization. Through tracing paper’s evolution, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology’s influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. Paper will be the history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century and illuminates our times.

 

Paper: Paging Through History came into my possession thanks to a Goodreads giveaway.

Paper (the stuff the book is made of, not the book itself) is an interesting little slice of history. It has been around in one form or another for thousands of years and is one of the oldest pieces of technology we use today. Most people today would probably think of a computer printer when hearing the word “paper”, but think of everything else we use it for. Bagging our groceries, wrapping presents, blowing our noses, wiping our…well, you know. It is safe to say that without paper, societies around the world would be very different.

Even going back thousands of years, the topic of paper alone is not quite enough to fill a full book and keep it interesting. Most changes and advancements to this age-old technology took place hundreds of years apart all over the world. Mark Kurlansky supplements this material by talking about topics related to paper such as alternate writing materials (papyrus, clay tablets, etc.), language, different types of documents (scrolls, books, etc.), and more. Kurlansky frequently mentions how it is society that changes technology, not the other way around. Many people think that new technology causes society to change whereas Kurlansky argues that changes in technology motivate the creation of new technologies. Both ends of that argument seem to have a bit of truth in them, but that is for you to decide.

At a glance, you would not think that a topic like paper could be interesting. It seems like something too academic to be written in an invigorating fashion. But Paper keeps itself interesting by talking about paper and related topics to show readers how this seemingly simple marvel has impacted history. It intertwines with many other aspects that allow cultures to advance, such as the widespread ability to read and share ideas.

This book examines paper from many different angles, showing everything from its development to how cultures have shaped themselves based around this (thus far) everlasting commodity. From its origins in China to the digital age in the Western world, paper continues to be a key material all over the world today. Kurlansky’s engaging writing style makes the book an attention holder, as opposed to the usual monotone of a history book. Some of his personal opinions are presented as fact so you will want to take those bits with a grain of salt. Otherwise, this is an excellent read for people interested in niche topics.

February 19, 2017

Star Wars: Ahsoka

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Star Wars: Ahsoka Book Cover Star Wars: Ahsoka
Star Wars
E.K. Johnston
Sci-fi
Disney Lucasfilm Press
October 11, 2016
Hardcover
400

Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance….

 

Ahsoka is a fairly popular character in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. For those of you who have not watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars (spoilers ahead), here is a quick rundown. Ahsoka began as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice early into the Clone Wars. Over the course of the war, her skills grew as the warring state of the galaxy gave her fairly unique Jedi training. Towards the end of the war, she was framed for murdering a prisoner. The Jedi more or less knew she did not do it but were going to string her up for political reasons. In the process, she was expelled from the Jedi Order. Anakin manages to prove her innocence at the last moment, but she refuses to return to the Jedi. Betrayed by her family, she struck out on her own and survived the Jedi Purge as a result. That is where the novel Ahsoka picks up.

Before this book came out, Ahsoka has already made her reappearance in the show Star Wars: Rebels. This book fills the gap between her departure in The Clone Wars and her role as a Rebel. The Clone Wars saw Ahsoka go from inexperienced girl to warrior woman. Rebels portrays her as a more experienced veteran in both combat and leadership. Ahsoka herself is portrayed well; she is smart, heroic, and strives to help the people around her. At the same time, she is scared and alone knowing that the Empire will be hunting her. By and large, this book is about her transitioning from refugee on the run to rebel striking back against the Empire.

Beyond Ahsoka’s character development, this book does not really do too much. The other characters seem like one-shots we will never see again. While developing Ahsoka seems like it was the only thing this book was really meant to do, it did make the story feel a bit dull. We have already seen her later in life during Rebels and the episodes of Rebels she pops up in seem to do more for her story than this book. For readers who are interested in Ahsoka’s character, this book is certainly worth the read. But for people who are just concerned with the overall storylines and plot points of Star Wars, Ahsoka does not really do anything. Also, this book will make very little sense if you have not watched The Clone Wars, which is something of a time consumer.

February 12, 2017

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow

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Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Book Cover Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Gurihiru
Young Adult
Dark Horse Books
October 4, 2016
Hardcover
240

The Fire Nation is threatened by a prophecy told by the Kemurikage--mysterious figures thought only to exist in legend: "remove Zuko from the throne or the country will perish!" Unrest is brewing as the New Ozai Society prepares to make its move against the crown, and children begin to go missing from their homes under mysterious circumstances! Avatar Aang and his friends are doing everything in their power to save them--but will it be enough?!

This special, oversized edition of Smoke and Shadow features volumes 1-3 with annotations by writer Gene Luen Yang and artists Gurihiru, as well as a sketchbook section with new, behind-the-scenes material!

Collects Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Volumes 1-3.

 

Avatar: Smoke and Shadow picks up not too far from where the previous Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel, The Rift, left off. For those of you unfamiliar with these, the Last Airbender graphic novels take place after the television show. The first three largely served to wrap up unanswered questions from the show but we have largely moved beyond that. A few plotlines that began in the show are still going but now we are moving into a series of new adventures. These new adventures have their roots here in the comics instead of the original television program.

This comic is entertaining to any Avatar fan but does feel like the weakest one so far. The other comics revealed the fates of characters that viewers spent three years watching. This includes the main characters that go from a group of youths to the adults seen in flashbacks in the Legend of Korra follow-up TV show and the minor characters that just were not important enough to get extra screen time on the show. That being said, if you have not read the other three graphic novels you will not understand this one. Each comic has built upon the previous stories and that continues here.

The thing that made this comic the weakest of the set was that it felt like less of an adventure. Yes there is an evil plot and the heroes must save the day, but it does not feel too at the forefront. This story introduces us to some history of the series, such as the how the Fire Nation was founded, and focuses heavily on the political aspect of Zuko’s reign as the new Fire Lord. The other three stories also had the benefit of wrapping up storylines from the TV show. With that more or less done, these new stories feel less important. It is hard to get invested in a story built up through a few hours of reading versus one built up through years of television.

We also get to see the set up of the next story, which will feature Sokka and Katara returning home. For that alone readers should not skip this one. But do not expect it to live up to The Promise, The Search, or The Rift. This review may seem kind of bland, but so was Smoke and Shadow.

February 5, 2017

A Monster Calls

Published Post author

Poster for the movie ""

A Monster Calls

Stories are wild creatures.

20161 h 48 min
Overview

A boy attempts to deal with his mother's illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping to a fantastical world.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 48 min
Release Date 7 October 2016
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Excellent

Going into A Monster Calls, I knew very little about the movie. A boy calls a monster to fight bullies or something and it is based on a children’s book. That is all I knew and I did not expect too much from the film. Boy, was I wrong. Pleasantly wrong, in fact. Saying that this is a must-see film might be going a little too far, but bare minimum it comes within a stone’s throw of that territory. Going into detail without spoilers is something of a challenge for this film, so just know that it teaches a life lesson that’s in a gray area.

A Monster Calls is a family movie and could be best described as a coming of age film. The very first line of the film describes protagonist Conor as too old to be a kid but too young to be a man. Many coming of age films are the same; some unusual circumstance results in a youth learning a valuable lesson. Conor’s situation in A Monster Calls is not entirely unusual, but the presence of the Monster makes it extraordinary. Do not let the premise of the movie turn you off to it; this film is anything but generic.

While the film is overall good with its effects, acting, and so forth, it is the emotion that truly makes this movie unique. The entire film just felt…sad. Not a cry your heart out type of sadness or a few gut-wrenching moments here and there. The whole movie just had this steady sadness, this borderline misery that is not going away and you do not know if it will ever get better. That is not to say that everything else about the movie is not good; the art, effects, acting, and everything else are very wholesome.

The film is not 100% perfect and seems to shy just a bit of being considered a masterpiece. While the theme of the movie is directed at children, it is not meant for small children. Think of A Monster Calls more as an age 10 and up film. The movie may not appeal to everyone and parts of the film may leave more open to interpretation than some people like. That being said, unless this film is extremely against your tastes it is 100% worth watching. Just may bring a box of tissues when you do watch it.

January 29, 2017

Dragon Blood (Hurog #2)

Published Post author

Dragon Blood Book Cover Dragon Blood
Hurog
Patricia Briggs
Fantasy
Berkley Publishing Group
December 21, 2002
Paperback
275

As the rebellion grows against High King Jakoven, Ward, ruler of Hurog, realizes he must join with the rebels. However, Jakoven can crush his enemies with dragon's blood -- the very blood that courses through Ward's veins.

 

Note: This review will contain spoilers regarding Dragon Bones, the first half of the duology.

Dragon Blood picks up not too far from where Dragon Bones left off, with Ward and his kingdom rebuilding from the aftermath of the battle at Castle Hurog. While this book was still plenty entertaining, it did not quite hold the up to its predecessor. It is still a good book, just not quite as good. We get some lingering questions from the end of Dragon Bones answered and the story continues in a predictable but still entertaining manner. The issues seemed to lie within the details.

The pacing and strength of the writing in the first book stayed more or less the same throughout the novel. In Dragon Blood, the book starts off just as strong but that seems to wane as the story goes on. The ending especially feels rushed; it felt like the story was leading into something much grander and epic than the quick and decisive ending we were presented. Something of a similar issue seemed to be present with the characters. While all the surviving characters from the first book do make an appearance, some of the folks who were Ward’s companions in Dragon Bones barely get mentioned in this adventure.

Another thing that seemed to hurt more than help Dragon Blood was a forced love story. Yes, for many works of fiction writers feel obligated to throw in a love story. That does not automatically make this a positive thing. I will not say who the love interest is for spoiler reasons, but if you have read the first book it is not too hard to figure out as there is pretty much only one suitable female candidate (not Ward’s sister, this is not Game of Thrones). The romance in and of itself was not necessarily a bad romance, it just felt too forced when the first book barely hinted at it.

Overall, Dragon Blood is worth the read just as much as the first book was. Even as a two-parter, it is a pretty short story that is good for people who do not want to jump into a longer series or just do not have the time for that right now. For the overall page number the characters are well built, the lore is well-developed, and the story is (mostly) well-paced. More little fantasy books that are weaker, rather than stronger, than the Hurog duology.

January 22, 2017

Dragon Bones (Hurog #1)

Published Post author

Dragon Bones Book Cover Dragon Bones
Hurog
Patricia Briggs
Fantasy
Ace Fantasy
February 26, 2002
Paperback
295

Riding into a war that's heating up on the border, Ward, the new lord of Hurog, is sure he's on the fast track to glory. But soon his mission takes a deadly turn. For he has seen a pile of magical dragon bones hidden deep beneath Hurog Keep. The bones could prove to be dangerous in the wrong hands, and Ward is certain his enemies will stop at nothing to possess them.

 

“Hurog means dragon.” This opening line sets the precedence for what turned out to be an almost surprisingly fantastic fantasy book. The premise is that Ward, a young 20-something man, has become the new lord of Castle Hurog. Ward’s late father was a paranoid man worried about losing his throne so Ward has feigned stupidity for years to stay alive. With the throne now in his hands and everyone in the five kingdoms thinking he is an idiot, he now has to prove himself to keep his lands. And there is more to his throne than just land, something magical, but I will not spoil anything here.

The setting for this story is a typical fantasy land. You have the land that Castle Hurog is in, Shavig, as one of five kingdoms. Each kingdom is ruled by a lord and all five of them answer to the high king. As is often the case in these stories, the kingdoms are not doing so great. They are past their golden age and the magical wonders that once made the lands a fantastical place to live are now little more than myths and legends.

Character development was very strong for a little book like this. Ward, as the main character, grows the most as he begins proving himself as a lord. He even acknowledges this himself in the story, remarking on how what he expected and what actually happens are two very different things. Other main characters mostly include the residents of the castle: Ward’s sister, his aunt (the captain of the guard), the king’s vassal, etc. Some of these characters are your typical standard fantasy story badasses while others are the “how’d I get dragged into this” types. Even the minor characters are developed as the story goes on, with each character getting development roughly equal to their importance in the story.

Despite Dragon Bones being the first of a duology, it reads like a standalone story. You do not have to read book #2 (though I recommend you do) to get the full story. The story does get a little dark at times, but in real medieval times that is how things were and fantasy stories like these are all the better for it. For a tiny little paperback that seemed like it would be more time filler than anything else, the book was very good from the lore to the characters to the writing. Dragon Bones is definitely worth the time for any fantasy fan, especially if you like dragons.

January 15, 2017

The Ghost in General Patton’s Third Army: The Memoirs of Eugene G. Schulz During His Service in the United States Army in World War II

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The Ghost in General Patton's Third Army Book Cover The Ghost in General Patton's Third Army
Eugene G. Schulz
Biography
Xlibris Corporation
October 11, 2012
Paperback
346

Eugene G. Schulz was born on a farm in Clintonville, Wisconsin in 1923. He graduated from high school in May, 1941, and worked on his father’s farm and at a truck manufacturing plant until he was drafted into the army in January 1943. Schulz received his basic training at Camp Young, California at the Desert Training Center, and later at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. He was assigned to the IV Armored Corps (later named the XX Corps) where he was a typist in the G-3 Section. His duties included the typing of battle orders developed by Colonel W. B. Griffith, the G-3 of XX Corps Headquarters. The XX Corps sailed to England in February 1944 on the Queen Mary with 16,000 soldiers on board, completing the voyage in five days. After final training in England, the XX Corps landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D+46. His unit was attached to General Patton’s Third Army and spearheaded the drive across France, through Germany and into Austria where they met the Russian Army on V-E Day. Schulz was awarded the Bronze Star medal when the war ended. He served in the Army of Occupation in Germany, then returned to the States and was discharged on December 1, 1945. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin—Madison taking advantage of the GI Bill of Rights, and earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration. Schulz met his wife, Eleanore, at the University and they were married in 1949. Schulz worked as an investment research officer at the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in Milwaukee for 36 years. The Schulz’s have been retired since 1988 and continue to live in Milwaukee. They are world travelers. They have five sons, all married, and sixteen grandchildren.

 

The Ghost in General Patton’s Third Army is the memoir of Eugene G. Schulz, a former soldier who served in WWII. Incorporated into the XX Corps, known as a ghost unit by enemy forces for their ability to pop up where least expected, his skills as a typist gives this memoir unique insight into the war. Schulz typed battle orders and other classified documents; that combined with an excellent memory and what must have been a LOT of research makes this book a treasure trove of information. WWII is a popular subject among historians and others and The Ghost in General Patton’s Third army is a fantastic book for people new to the topic.

Along with his own personal experiences, Schulz goes over details of the war relating to the events he personally experienced. For example, he was not present at D-Day (his unit went over afterward) but he still intricately explains D-Day from the crazy amount of logistics required to make it happen to how crucial of a tipping point it was to Allied forces. This aspect picks up later on in the book, past the point of Schulz talking about his hometown.

The documentation of the book is not just limited to words either. Schulz had his camera with him and it survived his entire deployment. There are unique photographs scattered throughout the book showing army camps, town obliterated by air raids, and much more. These images did make one section of the book extremely difficult to read: Schulz’s account of his unit coming across one of the first concentration camps discovered by Allied forces. Keep in mind that prior to the invasion of Germany, the Allies had no knowledge of the concentration camps. The soldiers who discovered those atrocities saw mankind at its worst and Schulz’s description of those horrors is…vivid.

Memoirs are not something I tend to read but I happened to get this one in a Goodreads giveaway. Having the events of a war recounted from the perspective of a soldier rather than as a series of events highlighted in a history book can be an eye opening experience. You have to remember that soldiers, like the rest of us, are people. From privates to generals, at the end of the day, they are just people. They feel fear and grief, they hope and they resolve, they want to do the right thing and they also want to make sure they can come home. They lose their comrades, people who are friends and even brothers to them. The ones who do come home learn to cherish what they have, what they fought for: peace.

January 8, 2017