Category Archives: Non-Fiction

In the Company of Heroes

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I’m a former air medical (helicopter emergency medical services) crew member, so I love helicopters and have met and flown with some outstanding helicopter pilots. One of them recommended some books about the 160th SOAR, a U.S. Army special operations unit who fly helicopters in support of special operations forces. I started by reading The Night Stalkers: Top Secret Missions of the U. S. Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment, then I read Roberts Ridge. Both were really good, but I think In the Company of Heroes may be the best written Night Stalkers account yet.

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant (ret.) was involved in operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia (the operation that gave rise to the book – and movie by the same name – Blackhawk Down). His helicopter was shot down, he was seriously injured, and he was taken prisoner by the Somali National Alliance. He was held hostage for 11 days.

In the Company of Heroes does a great job of telling Durant’s story while filling in details of the Night Stalkers unit history and detailing other missions Durant was involved in (like Panama). It is well written and very readable.

I like reading books like this because they teach me lessons about perseverance, loyalty, and bravery. The Night Stalkers’ motto is “Night Stalkers Don’t Quit” (NSDQ), and that’s a great motto for life.

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Filed under Action-adventure, Non-Fiction

Deep Under Cover My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America

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Jack Barsky died at the age of ten. The REAL Jack Barsky, that is. Albrecht Dittrich assumed the identity of Jack Barsky as a spy for the Soviet Union, and thus another Jack Barsky was ‘born’.

Albrecht Dittrich was an incredibly intelligent and capable young man, attending the university in Jena (East) Germany, when he was recruited by the KGB in the 1970s. His training and career eventually led him to the United States where he worked as a bike messenger before earning a degree and becoming an IT specialist and executive at a major American company…all while being a spy.

His personal life was no less convoluted. He fathered a child out of wedlock, and also married and had another child in Germany, all while living a double life in the United States. Eventually, a marriage of convenience (yes, he was a bigamist) in the U.S. gave Jack Barsky two more children.

Shockingly, when he was called to ‘go home’ by the Soviets (“You must come home, or else you’re dead”) a twist of fate, combined with the love of his infant daughter, compelled him to find a way to unilaterally end his career as a spy and stay in the United States, forging a life for himself and his family pursuing the American Dream.

He succeeded at living a ‘normal’ life until the FBI caught up with him 9 years later. Through another series of miracles, Jack Barsky once again ‘started over’.

Now a U.S. citizen, a relatively new Christian, husband to a young wife, and father to a five-year-old child, Jack Barsky has finally REALLY found the American Dream.

A page-turner with surprising twists, Deep Under Cover is a well-written and fascinating read. Jack Barsky is a living, breathing miracle who has reinvented himself several times and, in the process, seems to have found his genuine SELF.  His is a story of grace, second (third, fourth, and fifth) chances, redemption and, ultimately, love.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Filed under Action-adventure, Autobiography, Non-Fiction

Life After Heaven

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Steven R. Music kept a secret for decades. His secret was that he had died (due to a severe medication allergy) and seen Heaven. Everyone around him knew that he had spent weeks in a coma and that he came out of that coma a profoundly disabled person. Before he died, he was a SEAL candidate, bound for Annapolis. Afterwards, he was honorably discharged from the Navy on medical grounds. He spent a decade with severe respiratory disease before he was miraculously healed. Even then, he only told a few people about his spiritual journey to the other side of the veil.

I’ve read several books on NDE’s (near death experiences) and they all have many things in common. Musick’s account of going to Heaven is similar to the others in several ways. What’s different about this book, however, is that the last third of the book focuses on how Musick’s  NDE changed him, and how we all can be more sensitive to the “Heaven bubbles” (Musick’s term) that happen in our lives. Heaven bubbles happen when the veil that obscures our earthly lives from the spiritual realities around us becomes thin.

I’ve come to believe that Heaven is closer than we think, and this book is a testimony to that assertion. I particularly love the stories that Musick shares about his Heaven bubbles…times when his spiritual eyes were opened and he was able to see a dimension beyond what we can see with our physical eyes.

I really liked this book and recommend it to anyone who wants to feel encouraged about the fact that there are angels in our midst, and that there is more to this life than what we can detect with our physical senses.

* I was given an unpublished proof copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The book will be released on March 7,2017. It is available for preorder on Amazon.com.

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Filed under Christian, Life After Death, Non-Fiction