3 out of 4 stars
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In late 2019, at the age of 94, the World War II veteran named Donald "Sparky" Rodde decided to release his biography. Broad Horizons tells the story of the author's own life and is divided into four parts. The first two parts describe his childhood and adolescence, and even his relationship with family and friends. The final two parts, in contrast, focus on Donald's participation in World War II.
I'm not particularly eager to start writing about what I didn't like, but in this case, that's what I should do. As important as it is to describe Donald's formative years, a biography should focus on the most exciting aspects of the author's life. Almost half of the book consists of Donald describing minor events such as family fishing trips and academic performance at school.
The other half of the book, as already mentioned in the first paragraph, discusses the author's participation in World War II (the best half of the book by far). At the beginning of the war, because he was still very young, Donald Rodde feared that the conflict would end before he could be ready to fight. In the end, he served as an aviation radioman and gunner aboard the Aircraft Carrier, USS Ben Franklin, CV13. Having killed 9 Japanese soldiers and given numerous examples of bravery and intelligence, his contribution to the war in the Pacific was significant. These achievements earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. President Roosevelt personally decorated him.
From the first page of part 3 to the end of the book, Donald provides a clear picture of what happens behind the curtains during a massive war. That's the highlight of the book and my favorite part by far. Nevertheless, the author needs to make some changes to make Broad Horizons more interesting. He should focus on describing the details of the war. Instead, he preferred to keep writing pages and more pages about fishing. If I were the author, I would change that as soon as possible.
Besides, there are many grammatical errors in this book. It's undeniable that Broad Horizons needs another round of editing. Sentences lacking punctuation, misspelled words, and inconsistent punctuation are commonplace.
All told, Broad Horizons by Donald Sparky Rodde deserves three out of four stars. While I can understand the reasons why some draconian critics would give it two stars, that would be unfair. Due to editorial issues, I decided to take one star away. I found one derogatory term towards Japanese people and one other example of profanity ("bastard"). In a war context, this is not serious. When soldiers are struggling to survive, you cannot expect that they will treat their enemies politely. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the conflict between the United States and Japan during World War II.
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