Official Review: Need To Know by Steven W Minnick

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Jgideon
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Official Review: Need To Know by Steven W Minnick

Post by Jgideon » 31 Aug 2019, 02:56

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Need To Know" by Steven W Minnick.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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When I thought I had read some of the most engaging memoirs, I got a surprise in the form of Steven W Minnick’s memoir. The title of the memoir was so catchy that I could not resist it. My zeal to add a new file in my mind did not disappoint.

Need to Know: Marching to the Unknown Drummer contains information that could have cost someone’s life (or several people’s lives) five decades ago. It revolves around the life of Steven Minnick when he worked as a military man in the American Air Force. Minnick noted that the memoir is “a first person account of actual events that took place in Southeast Asia in the summer of 1960”. Minnick was “working with Morse code and highly classified information”, which put him in a very critical position. What (or who) is Morse code? You will have to read the memoir to know.

In my opinion, this memoir is the Mother of All Memoirs. It contains what was, I still believe could be, classified information for the United States of America. Minnick and a team of eight other Top Secret military men were assigned to a mission in Southeast Asia. They were to apply their expertise to gain valuable information that involved both Russia and China. Before leaving for the mission that was based in Bangkok, Thailand, their Top Secret clearance was upgraded to “Top Secret code word Presidential Eyes Only”. That is how serious this memoir is.

I liked everything about this memoir. I followed Minnick everywhere he went, listened to every conversation that he was involved in, shared in his fears and victories, and experienced his other less serious part of his life during that time. His experiences in the jungle were adrenaline-filled.

My favorite part was the interaction of Minnick’s team with the natives in the regions they visited in Southeast Asia. The Americans were under orders not to show any disgust for whatever the local people offered them to eat. Can you imagine knowingly eating monkey meat without showing any expressions on your face? I also loved Minnick’s willingness to sacrifice everything for his country.

I kept wondering why Minnick chose to give a detailed account of a Top Secret operation. In the epilogue, he disclosed that he suffered PTSD after the mission. Having read the entire memoir, I knew that it would not be easy for him to live a normal life afterward. Minnick was denied compensation for the disability he developed from that mission because there was no evidence that he ever worked on a special mission in Southeast Asia. Minnick noted, “So, if I was never there and NSA has no record available to confirm or deny this action ever took place, I can conclude I am not violating any order barring me from writing my account of what, officially, didn’t take place in Southeast Asia in the summer of 1960”.

The book was professionally edited. However, there were a few minor errors but not enough to prevent me from giving it a perfect score. Therefore, I gladly rate it 4 out of 4 stars. If you love to learn about the secret missions conducted by the American government, you should read this book. Those who enjoy learning about the history of the relationship between China, Russia, and America will also find it useful. This could also be enjoyed as a thriller due to the nature of events that took place during the Southeast Asia mission.

******
Need To Know
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Stephanie Elizabeth
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 08 Sep 2019, 14:01

Sounds like a great memoir that contains top-secret information! I like that it teaches the reader about Morse Code, as well. Thanks for the engaging review!

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Post by Amanda Deck » 08 Sep 2019, 21:10

That's taking a chance, isn't it? I understand his fury and frustration, believe it's justified. But this may be going a bit too far. It's hard (impossible? stupid?) to be loyal to a country that betrays you though.

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Post by maggi3 » 08 Sep 2019, 21:31

I don’t usually read memoirs, but this one sounds interesting. It’s horrible that he wasn’t able to get compensation for his disability. I don’t blame him for being angry and writing this book. I’ll keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review!

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Post by esp1975 » 08 Sep 2019, 23:28

This sounds like an interesting book. As the granddaughter and daughter of military men who could/can not talk about all of their missions, I have a vague understanding of the risk this man believes he is taking. It would be interesting to see if his mission has since been declassified (it has been over 50 years).

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Post by bkreut » 09 Sep 2019, 09:47

I hope to read this memoir as it sounds so interesting and will look it up in the next days.... Thank you for those who shared!!!

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Post by Jgideon » 10 Sep 2019, 03:40

Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
08 Sep 2019, 14:01
Sounds like a great memoir that contains top-secret information! I like that it teaches the reader about Morse Code, as well. Thanks for the engaging review!
Thanks for the comment. It is a very informative book. You are much welcome

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Post by Jgideon » 10 Sep 2019, 03:43

Amanda Deck wrote:
08 Sep 2019, 21:10
That's taking a chance, isn't it? I understand his fury and frustration, believe it's justified. But this may be going a bit too far. It's hard (impossible? stupid?) to be loyal to a country that betrays you though.
He must have thought very carefully before writing about such an operation. Maybe, just maybe, he went a bit too far.

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Jgideon
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Post by Jgideon » 10 Sep 2019, 03:44

bkreut wrote:
09 Sep 2019, 09:47
I hope to read this memoir as it sounds so interesting and will look it up in the next days.... Thank you for those who shared!!!
You are welcome

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Jgideon
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Post by Jgideon » 10 Sep 2019, 03:48

esp1975 wrote:
08 Sep 2019, 23:28
This sounds like an interesting book. As the granddaughter and daughter of military men who could/can not talk about all of their missions, I have a vague understanding of the risk this man believes he is taking. It would be interesting to see if his mission has since been declassified (it has been over 50 years).
When your country betrays you and you figure out that you have nothing to lose, you can take such risks. Either way, it takes lots of courage to make such a move.

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Post by Jgideon » 10 Sep 2019, 03:52

maggi3 wrote:
08 Sep 2019, 21:31
I don’t usually read memoirs, but this one sounds interesting. It’s horrible that he wasn’t able to get compensation for his disability. I don’t blame him for being angry and writing this book. I’ll keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review!
I felt really sad that they could not compensate him. I don't blame him either.

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Post by kdstrack » 11 Sep 2019, 19:35

This sounds intriguing! I hope that writing this book has given him some closure, after feeling like there was nowhere to turn. I loved your review. Thanks.

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Post by Ekta Swarnkar » 11 Sep 2019, 23:12

What an amazing concept! I loved your review. It is a wonderful experience interacting with people of different places. I remember that too.

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