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Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#1 by ReviewerDiksha
» 03 Oct 2017, 22:28

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "West Point Mafia Revealed" by Peter J. Ammon/Patina M.Thompson.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by ReviewerDiksha
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West Point Mafia Revealed is a novel based on the real-life story of a Vietnam war veteran, Peter J. Ammon. Written by him in collaboration with his daughter, Patina M. Thompson, this book is a revelation of the malpractices and outdated norms followed by the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point. Starting from the place where he was born, it takes us through various stepping stones which led Ammon to serve in the army. Along with the circumstances that led him to join West Point, we are also given a peek into the life of the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war. Ammon has brought forward his experiences while working as a trainer for the new cadets at West Point, what finally led to his departure from the institution and what he made out of his life through this journey.

The story is narrated in first person by Ammon. The first chapter gives a brief and sharp history of his childhood, where and how he was raised, and his various accomplishments at school. The third and fourth chapters take form of the letters that he had written to his wife while serving in the Vietnam war. These two chapters form almost half of the book. And this is where the flaws start to emerge in the storytelling. While it seems interesting to read the letters of a soldier, stretching it for two whole chapters turns it into a drag. At first, it felt good to know about the love, concern and intimacy that the soldiers and their loved ones have for each other. It also brings forward the conditions he had faced and all the troubles he encountered in the jungles of Vietnam, along with his men. However, the author stretched it far more than he needed to. He could have taken a different approach in bringing forward this aspect of his life. For something that could have been wonderful, even romantic, it became the most tedious thing in the book. I had a strong urge to jump over lines and paragraphs. The only reason I didn’t do it was that I was hoping that there would be something substantial in this section.

This was also the part where I encountered the maximum number of grammatical mistakes. At first, I was keeping a strict track of all these errors. However, when they started getting out of hand, I realized that these errors would have been made in the original letters. Considering that they had copied down all the letters as it is, I dropped my concerns regarding it. In chapter three, there are many instances where ‘womens’ is written instead of women or woman. Since this is too frequent, I was led to think that it could have been an inside joke shared between Ammon and his wife (which might or might not be true).

From the fifth chapter, we see the entrance of Ammon as a trainer into West Point. He adopted unorthodox and witty ways to better his men, while quickly understanding the difference of opinion that he held with the institution. He openly talked about these flaws with his colleagues and even wrote letters to his superiors in which he had voiced his concerns regarding the techniques used to train the cadets and also suggested the ways through which they could better it. These letters have been put up in the book. Of all the things I felt alien to, Ammon’s thought process in these letters was not one of them. He had brought forward the criteria of standing up foremost as humans rather than being separated by caste and racism. I constantly found myself in agreement with the techniques and subtle nuances he wanted to impart in the training system. These things have a universal appeal and are not limited to the military mindset.

I will say that the title of this book had mislead me. It is completely different from what I had originally expected. I had thought that since the ‘mafia’ is the central theme, it would form a greater part of the book. However, it turned out more to be about Ammon’s life. Perhaps a different and more apt title could prevent the reader from forming any misconceptions. To sum it up, my rating for West Point Mafia Revealed is 2 out of 4 stars. This book is not for everyone. Also, I accept that I wasn’t the right audience for it. I am not well versed in army dictionary and that is why it was a bit too much information for me sometimes. However, a person with an army background or someone who is connected to a serviceman will appreciate it. They might relate closely to the unexpected incidents in Ammon’s life and how he handled it. This book is inspirational in its essence. It calls out for making the most out of things when everything seems lost and standing up for what is right rather than succumbing to what is easy.

******
West Point Mafia Revealed
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#2 by Alicnim
» 05 Oct 2017, 03:40

At some point while reading your review I wondered what this Mafia does or what it's about. I can see you had the same problem. Your review was a nice read.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#3 by MarisaRose
» 05 Oct 2017, 05:56

I also considered reviewing this book, and I'm glad I passed. It sounds like there is a big disconnect between the title and the actual content of the book. Also, I don't think I'm the right audience for this one either. Interesting review, nice job!
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 05 Oct 2017, 08:17

Thanks for the review. I'm not sure who would be the right audience for this review, but I don't think it's for me either.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#5 by Mercy Bolo
» 05 Oct 2017, 13:47

Awesome review... So, there's no mafia? That's a letdown.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#6 by social
» 07 Oct 2017, 16:19

Need to get a copy to review myself
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#7 by Jaime Lync
» 07 Oct 2017, 18:51

Awesome review! I totally know that gnawing feeling to simply skip entire passages in a book. It is especially saddening when you know the content could have been stellar. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#8 by RKS
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:24

Seems interesting. I agree with you about the title of the book. It should be more appropriate to fit the content of the book.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#9 by ShubhamSund
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:33

I too thought about the mafia.. What it would be and everything. I guess there is a certain image related to the word and so the author should really have opted for something better. Your review was very insightful. Thank you
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#10 by PratibhaG
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:36

A well-detailed review. I would love to read some letters and appreciate the kind of approach the author has taken about it. However, you say that it turns into a drag. That's bad! I guess it could have been a good thing. Thank you for an honest review.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#11 by NeerajS
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:38

Great review, ReviewerDiksha. I see your approach towards the books and can see that you really leave no stones unturned while reviewing a book. Your critique is very insightful. About this book, I would have loved to read it. Sad it didn't turn out better.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#12 by Salsabila
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:42

Mafia stories are really interesting and the fact that it's based on a real life story makes it even more so. I hope it will be a good read because am definitely going to read it soon.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#13 by KamalK
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:42

Goodbjob with the review, Diksha. I see you mainly go for non-fiction and your reviews really are a detailed critique worth looking out for. Thank you for another honest review.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#14 by ReviewerDiksha
» 07 Oct 2017, 22:50

Alicnim wrote:At some point while reading your review I wondered what this Mafia does or what it's about. I can see you had the same problem. Your review was a nice read.

Thank you for giving your time to read the review, Alicnim :D

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:52 --

MarisaRose wrote:I also considered reviewing this book, and I'm glad I passed. It sounds like there is a big disconnect between the title and the actual content of the book. Also, I don't think I'm the right audience for this one either. Interesting review, nice job!

Thank you, Marisa. I was taken with the title of this book and I thought it to be something extraordinary. About some crime or other thing. But it turned out completely different and that's what disappointed me the most.

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:52 --

kandscreeley wrote:Thanks for the review. I'm not sure who would be the right audience for this review, but I don't think it's for me either.

Thank you for stopping by. Much appreciated :)

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:53 --

Mercy Bolo wrote:Awesome review... So, there's no mafia? That's a letdown.

It is Mercy :| Thank you for stopping by :D

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:54 --

social wrote:Need to get a copy to review myself

Let me know when you have read it. I would like to hear your take on it. :)

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:55 --

Jaime Lync wrote:Awesome review! I totally know that gnawing feeling to simply skip entire passages in a book. It is especially saddening when you know the content could have been stellar. Thanks for sharing.

A different approach and this novel could have been really good. The main content is very interesting. However, poor execution! As happens with most novels. Thank you for stopping by :)

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:56 --

Salsabila wrote:Mafia stories are really interesting and the fact that it's based on a real life story makes it even more so. I hope it will be a good read because am definitely going to read it soon.

Do let me know of your opinions on it Salsabila :)

-- 07 Oct 2017, 22:57 --

Thank you guys for your kind words. Your opinions matter a lot.
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Re: Official Review: West Point Mafia Revealed

Post Number:#15 by ShivaniS
» 08 Oct 2017, 09:08

Very nice review. I wish it was better. Thank you for an honest review.
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