Official Review: Battles Forgotten by George Vardaman, Jr.

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B Creech
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Official Review: Battles Forgotten by George Vardaman, Jr.

Post by B Creech »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Battles Forgotten" by George Vardaman, Jr..]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Family dynamics, poverty, abuse, prejudice, faith, and war are all elements of Battles Forgotten: Afrique du Nord by George Vardaman, Jr. The timeframe of this historical fiction are the years between WWI and WWII. The main story follows two brothers from Texas as they grow from boys to men and serve their country as top mechanics of US fighter planes for the Army Air Corps.

Gordy and Callum Ward grew up in poverty. Their father, Eli Ward, had been a successful insurance salesman but neglected to provide insurance to protect his own family, so when he passed away, he left his family in poverty. Mary Ward (called 'Mary mother' by her kids) could not support five children and two brothers on her own, so she split the family up. She sent the two youngest children to an orphanage, the middle child stayed at home to help their mother, and Gordy and Callum went to live with a half-brother who abused them with beatings daily. Out of desperation, they joined the National Guard at the age of fifteen and sixteen to escape.

Gordy and Callum were both hard workers and intelligent. They eventually became the top mechanics for the US Army Air Corps, responsible for the aircraft's maintenance and training of new mechanics. Gordy and Callum sent most of their military pay back home to their mother and some to the orphanage, where their two younger siblings lived. They stayed together for a while until Callum got transferred to California. Gordy eventually ended up at Maison Blanche in Algiers.

Vardaman has crafted a tale of the forgotten battles of WWI and WWII and the years in between. The characters are endearing and well-developed. The author's various stories told about each character are sometimes humorous and mostly heart-warming, even though they revolve around severe poverty, war, and the Great Depression. The book highlights Gordy's and Callum's military service intertwined with their mother, siblings, and uncles' stories. The back and forth between civilian life stories and military life stories can be confusing at first until the reader understands the author's pattern.

What I enjoyed most about this book was Gordy's and Callum's dedication to their family. They did not always agree with their mother's decisions regarding their younger siblings, but they were respectful of her choices and strong Baptist faith. My least favorite part was how Mary placed her two youngest children in an orphanage while she took care of her two brothers, Laurence and Conn, at home. I felt her loyalty to her brothers over her children was misguided. Also, the ending was abrupt and left me with many questions.

Some typos, mainly involving missing or misspelled words, were noted, but they don't interfere with the story's flow. There are detailed historical facts woven into the stories showing evidence of the author's research. Overall I found Battles Forgotten by George Vardaman, Jr. to be a pleasant read. It was professionally edited and had just enough humor and historical facts to keep me involved until the end. Therefore, my rating is 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to historical fiction lovers and anyone interested in the world wars and the Great Depression eras. There are no controversial aspects to this book, such as strong language or sexual content that would make it unsuitable for anyone in the general public.

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Battles Forgotten
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Gbemisola Akinremi
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Post by Gbemisola Akinremi »

I find the story of the Ward's family compelling to read, despite their seemingly hardship, Gordy and Callum never forget home, family indeed is everything. Thank you for the highlights of this review.
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Post by Pluma »

Gordy and Callum’s story sounds touching and engrossing. The historical period in which the book is set also piques my interest. It is a pity about the drawbacks you mentioned, but overall this book sounds like a good read. Thanks for the great review!
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Post by Joy Phill »

What a touching story of endurance. We all have our different battles as well. Thanks for a well-written review.
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Post by nikechi »

Personally, I think the military is quite under-rated. Having books that really tell their story and shows that they are people just like us really helps me to be more appreciative of all they've gone through, and the sacrifices they make. I think the reviewer did a great job.
Thank you for such an awesome review :tiphat:
Let peace and calm reign the in chaos :reading-4:
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Post by B Creech »

Gbemisola Akinremi wrote: 10 Feb 2021, 10:37 I find the story of the Ward's family compelling to read, despite their seemingly hardship, Gordy and Callum never forget home, family indeed is everything. Thank you for the highlights of this review.
Thank you! Family indeed is everything! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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B Creech
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Post by B Creech »

Pluma wrote: 10 Feb 2021, 18:46 Gordy and Callum’s story sounds touching and engrossing. The historical period in which the book is set also piques my interest. It is a pity about the drawbacks you mentioned, but overall this book sounds like a good read. Thanks for the great review!
Thank you. I enjoyed reading this book. It shows the importance of family and of never giving up. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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B Creech
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Post by B Creech »

Joy Phill wrote: 11 Feb 2021, 15:44 What a touching story of endurance. We all have our different battles as well. Thanks for a well-written review.
Thank you, and thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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B Creech
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Post by B Creech »

nikechi wrote: 12 Feb 2021, 12:58 Personally, I think the military is quite under-rated. Having books that really tell their story and shows that they are people just like us really helps me to be more appreciative of all they've gone through, and the sacrifices they make. I think the reviewer did a great job.
Thank you for such an awesome review :tiphat:
Thank you so much! We don't always get to know the family side of those who serve in the military, so I enjoyed reading about Gordy and Callum's home life. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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Post by Betty Gitonga »

This sounds like a very intriguing book. Looking forward to reading it.
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Post by Josephe-Anne »

It's very ironic that Gordy and Callum's father was an insurance salesman who didn't have insurance himself. With such a big family, the coverage may have spared his youngest children the hardship of being sent to an orphanage. That part sounds so heartbreaking. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading historical novels, so I may take a look at this one.

Thank you for an excellent review!
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B Creech
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Post by B Creech »

Betty Gitonga wrote: 16 Feb 2021, 05:51 This sounds like a very intriguing book. Looking forward to reading it.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It is a very interesting book. I hope you enjoy it if you get the chance to read it!
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B Creech
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Post by B Creech »

Josephe-Anne wrote: 17 Feb 2021, 17:18 It's very ironic that Gordy and Callum's father was an insurance salesman who didn't have insurance himself. With such a big family, the coverage may have spared his youngest children the hardship of being sent to an orphanage. That part sounds so heartbreaking. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading historical novels, so I may take a look at this one.

Thank you for an excellent review!
:tiphat:
Thank you! A lot of the things the children went through were heartbreaking. I feel the mother did the best she could under the circumstances of the Great Depression. Times were hard and she had a lot of responsibility on her shoulders! If you get the chance to read it I think you will enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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Post by Hhannahh »

This is one interesting and touching review. And I believe interesting reviews result from interesting books. I like the subject matter of this book, especially the bit about the years between WW1 and WW2, and I would like to check this book out.
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