Member Books for August 2016

NONFICTION
Contracting for Services in State and Local Government Agencies, 2nd Edition. By Capt. William Sims Curry, USAF (Ret.), Life Member. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-498-73803-3. ASIN 978-1-315-62179-1.

This is the second edition of Contracting for Services in State and Local Government Agencies. The first edition was used as a textbook in Master of Public Administration and in government procurement graduate-certificate programs. It also was used by states, cities, and other local government agencies to upgrade their contracting practices and policies. It is expected that the second edition will be used in the same manner.
 
In preparing to write this book the author conducted a nationwide government contracting best practices research project in 2015 that was a follow-on project to his similar 2006 research. The author acknowledged (in his book) the states, large cities, and other local government agencies that participated in the research project. The author describes the best practices in government contracting in the same sequence as the contracting cycle beginning with procurement planning and concluding with contract performance, completion, and closeout. There also are chapters on contracting during emergencies and socioeconomic contracting. Book owners are provided a discussion of best practices, a sample request for proposals and a sample contract, a process for evaluating proposals to identify the contractor offering the best value proposal, a tool for managing contracts, and other useful contract management tools. Most tools are described in book appendices, and electronic versions are provided online.
 
During the research project, the author discovered certain states and local government agencies were using anomalous mathematical formulas to weigh scores assigned to contractor proposals. The book provides corrected formulas for the readers as well as proof of the anomalies and proof for the accuracy of the corrected formulas.
 
Family Inc.: Using Business Principles to Maximize Your Family's Wealth. By former Army Capt. Douglas P. McCormick. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 978-1-11921-973-6.
 
Family Inc. is a roadmap to financial security for the family CFO. Too much personal wealth management advice essentially boils down to goal setting, which isn't helpful or effective in terms of overall financial planning. This book takes a different track, giving you a crash course in corporate finance and the tools to apply the field's proven, time-tested principles in the context of your family's financial situation.
 
You'll learn key principles of wealth creation and management and learn how to make your intellectual and real capital work for you. Your family situation is unique, and your principles sometimes must differ from standard financial advice — and that's okay. Life is not a template, and even the best strategy must be able to adapt to real life situations. You'll learn to chart your own path to financial security, utilizing the author's own tools he developed over 15 years as an active board member, board chair, or chief financial officer of multiple companies.
 
Oversimplified wealth management advice does not leave you equipped to manage your real world finances. This guide is written with intellectual rigor but in the language of family discussion to give you a real, practical guide to being an effective family CFO.
•    Create your own financial prosperity and security
•    Align financial acumen with your family's specific situation
•    Adapt to real world situations and make your financial advisor work for you
•    Utilize powerful financial tools to help you build financial independence
 
Every family needs a CFO to manage wealth, and the principles of corporate finance apply from the boardroom to the living room. Family Inc. delivers actionable advice in the form of CFO training to help you plot a real-world family financial plan.
 
Headlines From the Frontline: The Military and Media Relationship ... An Uneasy Truce. By Col. David R. Kiernan, USA (Ret). Authorhouse. ISBN 978-1-42086-8-302.

A generation of journalists has come along that never experienced any of the systems of censorship and control of journalistic endeavor that were common in wars prior to the one in Southeast Asia. In such a situation, there is a premium on the need for understanding. If journalist and soldier are forever to be facing each other across from their respective barricades — at best observing uneasy truces — there needs to be a constant flow of communication designed to keep the aims clear and the issues current. When a military person succeeds well in doing that, we journalists naturally will be eager to say thanks. Such a one is Col. David R. Kiernan, USA (Ret.), vice president of strategic communications at MPRI in Alexandria, Va.
 
Through study and career-oriented academic research, Kiernan might be the best informed person today on the past, present, and future of the First Amendment and the military. He is among a new breed of Army public affairs professionals. A graduate of Virginia Military Institute, he received a master's degree in mass communication from the University of South Carolina, was editor of the prestigious Infantry Journal at Fort Benning, Ga., and Pentagon chief of media relations for the Army during the Gulf War. This book will whet the reader's appetite for several areas of study, especially the censorship programs of World War I and II and the Korean War. The conclusion is thus inevitable and correct: Censorship could not have changed the outcome of the Vietnam War, but press coverage of the war obviously did have an impact on public attitudes and support of the conflict. On this issue and many others, Kiernan has put together an excellent assessment and guide to understanding the military-media relationship. This work will assuredly become the handbook for both journalist and soldier alike.
 
FICTION
Winter’s Bloom. By Col. John Wemlinger, USA (Ret), Life Member. Mission Point Press. ISBN 978-1-94399-506-6.

Winter’s Bloom is a poignant tale of loss, love, and redemption. For more than three decades, Rock Graham has carried the physical and emotional scars from a tour in Vietnam. He is a decorated war hero, but guilt from what happened one dark night in a steaming southeast jungle in Asia always is lying in ambush, waiting for an unguarded moment to set his demons free. When he tries to find solitude at a cottage on Lake Michigan in the dead of winter, a chance encounter on the desolate, frozen shoreline changes his life forever.
 
The Land of the Million Elephants. By former Air Force Capt. Michael T. Ferrara. CreateSpace. ISNB 9-1-51741-181-7.
Drawing from his experiences in the U.S. Air Force flying support missions in Laos during the Vietnam War, author Michael Ferrara makes his fiction debut with The Land of the Million Elephants — a thrilling spy novel that mixes action, adventure, and mystery in the Laotian theater of that war.
 
Acting on orders from President Richard Nixon and the head of the CIA himself, young agency operative Mark Knight sets out to stop the North Vietnamese drug trade in Laos and neutralize its catastrophic impact on U.S. forces.  He works with a team that includes a Hmong warrior, a Pentagon intelligence whiz, two decorated fighter pilots, a Thai Army officer, and a very beautiful woman who acts as an assistant to the U.S. ambassador.
 
As Knight and his team get closer to unraveling the mystery, they discover the existence of a spy and a traitor to American war efforts — someone who will go to any length to protect his identity and secrets.
 
Intriguing and intelligent, The Land of the Million Elephants sheds light on a little-known part of the Vietnam War, providing insightful social commentary in the form of a page-turning spy novel.
 
The Infidels’ Revenge. By Lt. Col. William A. Keefe, USA (Ret), Life Member. Brighton Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-1-62183-324-6.
 
The Infidels’ Revenge is a work of realistic fiction that challenges the premise that the death of Osama bin Laden rendered al-Qaida incapable of mounting attacks within the continental U.S., as the sitting president of the U.S. and his former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael J. Morell, have repeatedly asserted on television.
 
The Infidels’ Revenge narrates a series of actions in which two separate groups of Islamic terrorists — less than 50 people in all — decimate the forests in the western U.S. and take down enough of the electrical power grid to set the country back into the 19th century. Subsequently, the government responds by enacting effective policies, strategies and laws, and it captures and disposes of the perpetrators — hence, the infidels’ revenge.
 
Although this book is fiction, it is well researched and very realistic. The principal characters are real members of al-Qaeda carrying out roles ascribed to them in publically available literature. Elements of the North American infrastructure that appear in the story, such as power plants and transformer stations, exist, and if the reader elects to type the cited Internet addresses into a web browser, he or she can see pictures of them. The actions of the perpetrators are fictional, but they are tactically feasible. (The author has purposely embedded flaws in the concepts of operations that will be apparent only to technical experts, lest this story be used as an effective plan of action.) Last but not least, the interactions among government agencies are in accordance with current organizations, missions, and functions.
 
Feeding the Enemy. By Cmdr. J.R. Sharp, USN (Ret). Koehler Books. ISBN 978-1-63393-250-0.
 
Feeding the Enemy is based on the true story of an Italian family’s determination to survive in the face of evil during World War II. It is a story of perseverance, ingenuity, and love. This book captures the spirit of survivability against all odds and provides the reader with an appreciation of what Europeans went through during the war.
 
The Zucchet family is faced with the destruction of their farm and the annihilation of all their family members by the Germans and Pro-Fascist supporters during World War II. The family patriarch and World War I veteran, Pietro, uses elaborate hiding places to store food and valuables and diversion techniques to distract the enemy during their many visits to the farm. He does whatever it takes to prevent the same fate as so many families in the war-torn area. Pietro’s daughter, Catherina, makes a remarkable journey from young woman to wife and then mother of two while avoiding the same enemy. Woven into the tapestry of this novel is the story of her love and life within the terror of war with a soldier named Gino. The story follows his constant battles while serving in the Italian Royal Army and how he became a resistant freedom fighter battling his way back to her and their love.
 
MEMOIR
#5 Samaritan Court. By Maria Mai-Thuy Swenka, spouse of Col. Ronald A. Swenka, USAF (Ret), Life Member. Lightning Source Inc. ISBN 978-0-99721-427-7.
I was still a newlywed and a newcomer to America when my husband, Ron Swenka, and I moved into #5 Samaritan Court in September 1972. That three bedroom military house at Norton AFB in southern California was my first stable home since leaving my family in Vietnam one year before. Mixed with the sadness of saying goodbye to my family, I felt an exciting sense of purpose and hope: This was the beginning of my new life in America.
 
What I did not know was that from that simple address, #5 Samaritan Court, I would begin a complex, 13-year mission to save my large and extended family from our war-shattered homeland of Vietnam. Of course, that address wasn’t even close to our last. As the wife of an officer in the U.S. Air Force, I got used to moving often and with military regularity. But #5 Samaritan Court remains in my heart and my memory as the symbol of something more than just a physical place. It forever will remind me of the story of the “Good Samaritan,” because it was there I began the bittersweet task of rescuing those who were helpless to help themselves.
 
Ultimately, this mission, launched with the assistance of so many, would help 49 members of my family and extended family escape from communist Vietnam. It is for those rescued people that I am writing this book, so they might come to understand the sacrifices that were made by so many to bring them to freedom. It’s been said that freedom cannot be fully appreciated until one has lived through the alternative. I want our children, who were born in America, as well as our future generations of the Swenka and Ha families, to know that such a terrible alternative exists and how it impacted their family’s legacy. In short, I want them to appreciate the precious treasure of freedom, which is always won at a great price.
 
But when Ron and I married in November 1971, there was no sense of immediate danger to my family. The fall of Saigon was still three and a half years away. Of course I was deeply worried — my family was living in a dangerous country, racked by war. But years before, they had escaped to the freedom of South Vietnam. We still hoped that, in time, the Republic of Vietnam, joined by America, would defeat the communists headquartered in Hanoi, about 55 miles from my hometown of Nam Dinh.
 
Then, on April 30, 1975, catastrophe struck. Saigon, the city of freedom, had fallen. The collapse came like a lightning bolt. The small number of Americans there (military advisors, civilian contractors, and the diplomatic corps) were pulling out. The government of South Vietnam was disintegrating. The war was over. The enemy had won. I could not give up until my family was free. To my everlasting gratitude, neither could the many people — military and otherwise — who courageously and tirelessly helped me to get them out. This book is for them as well.