Edited by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner. Published by Pegasus Books of New York and London in 2017. $24.95
Reviewed by MAMF Board Member Allen Dale Olson
If you have never experienced combat, chances are that anything you have assumed about it is incorrect. That becomes evident as you read through the stories of 24 seasoned combat veterans in The Road Ahead, each providing a view of America’s “Forever War.”
This 349-page volume is one of the newest anthologies to arrive in the library of the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF), a gift from the publisher, signed by the principal editor.
Each of the contributing writers saw serious combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and each of them has written for some of America’s most prestigious journals – The New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, and so on. They know how to make their words reflect the horrors, the challenges, the triumphs, the failures of combat along with both the misguided and the inspired decisions of commanders and politicians who give shape to these never-ending wars.
The stories are presented as fiction, but there is no doubting that the stories are fact, true experiences, written from having been there.
One story takes you through the pain and anguish of changed family relations after deployment , another details what it’s like to see your bones protrude from where your lower leg flesh used to be, and yet another takes you inside a tribal meeting in an Afghani village to learn just how the elders view the American presence.
These writers hide nothing, spare nothing. Candidly they shed tears and they rage, they show compassion, and they boast. The women veterans are frank about sexuality in combat zones and their personal need to succeed in every way concerning the mission.
This book is literature of our new times, a nation constantly at war; it describes a new reality of who we are as a nation, having reached a place from which we cannot retreat; but more importantly, it points out that war is far more costly than the dollars needed to fight it. And finally, it shows the reality that for some, for many, returning to civilian society is more challenging than facing an enemy on the battlefield.
MAMF is proud to add this volume to its library
To order, click here
Author Lisa Johnston Winfrey is an Army Brat whose dad was a pilot. As a child, he moved 42 times in 17 years. She is a loving wife, mother, and Nana. Her family (as you will be able to tell from the stories) are the most important part of her life. She has held a variety of teaching positions over the span of her career and writing this book was way outside her comfort box.
Readers have been demanding a second book with more unbelievable situations for their enjoyment. When Lisa Ann is not teaching, she is coaching Hip Hop dance – ORLY. Coaching those wonderful young ladies is considered one of her greatest accomplishments. What many people don’t realize is the home lives of these teenagers range from great to horrific. Sometimes the practice times and competitions are the only areas of their lives that are calm and structured. Coach Winfrey was hoping to sell enough books to be able to lighten the load of the financial burden placed on the families of the dancers. She will have to wait and see if that is a possibility.
She says, “This book is a collection of funny stories that will make you say, ‘Oh, really?’ when you read them. The title is slang for ‘oh really’. We’ve told the stories over and over again and one of my friends begged me to write them. The stories are true, which makes them that much more unbelievable.
The book is on Kindle. I think it is $3 for a download and $7 for a hard copy. The reviews on Kindle are super. My favorite thing so far about selling the book has been that a student told me he bought the book to give to a sick relative and he was able to read it to her and make her smile.”
“SHOUT: Sharing Our Truth: An Anthology of Writings by LGBT Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military Services”
This anthology seeks first-hand experiences from LGBT veterans and/or family members, during and/or after military service. Our goal is to create a book that tells your story and might be helpful for others to read—others who live, or want to understand, the LGBT veteran experience. We are seeking submissions from all perspectives and eras.
You don’t have to be an accomplished writer to participate. Just tell your story in your own words. We can do some minor editing to polish your submission.
What Genres to Submit:
Artwork–something which will reproduce in black and white only
You may submit up to 2 pieces for consideration
This book may be sold commercially, but the focus of the book is for academic purposes, i.e. college textbook or LGBT group curriculum. In all cases, any and all proceeds will be split evenly and go to the non-profit Museum of the American Military Family and Military Kid Art Project.
The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2017
Submissions become part of the MAMF Special Collections Library.
Stories and Inquiries can be sent to the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org