Saturday, August 20, 2005

And they give you cookies!

Wow. I just woke up from the mother of all naps. Now, I suppose this had something to do with me having to wake up bright and early and go to the kick-off meeting of the winter (wait, it’s 84 degrees out, can it be winter?) season of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I’m mentoring for El Tour de Tucson (but you already knew that, from reading my other blog entry about it, didn’t you?). I have to tell you, it was inspiring to see all those people sitting in the audience, eager to hear about the event and the training plans and eager to make a difference!

The meeting itself was held at the
New York Blood Center. Now, don’t ask me why I didn’t think about this, but it turns out that you can actually give blood at the New York Blood Center, and my fellow mentor, Dana, wouldn’t let me leave without doing so. And, well, I hate to admit this, but I never had before, so I was a little nervous. Turns out I have excellent iron levels (they test you before you can donate, to make sure you aren’t anemic) and I got a late breakfast out of it, since they wanted me to eat something before donating. Yummm. The donating part wasn’t that bad, though the technician laughed at none of my jokes and thought nothing of my very serious idea that having a puppy to pet while you are donating would make it a lot less stressful!

Filling out that form, I noticed a lot of questions about active-duty military personnel and that, of course, made me think of our troops overseas, in Iraq and elsewhere. And thinking of them made me think about my client, Patrick O’Donnell, who went to Iraq twice and who was featured in the History Channel show “Shootouts,” which apparently aired again today, though I was napping. I’ve recently done a deal with
Da Capo Press for Pat’s book on his experiences in Iraq. I’d describe it as BAND OF BROTHERS meets BLACKHAWK DOWN and I have high expectations for it when it comes out down the road.

In the meantime, Pat has three other books that I’d highly recommend: BEYOND VALOR, INTO THE RISING SUN, and OPERATIVES, SPIES & SABOTEURS.
BEYOND VALOR is an amazing oral history of the Rangers and other Airborne troops in WWII. If your dad, grandfather, or brother was in the war in Europe, this is a book you really should read. It could change your entire understanding of what made him the man he is today (or was).

If someone in your family served in the US Marines, or you just really liked that new movie, THE GREAT RAID, you should absolutely go read
INTO THE RISING SUN. This oral history of marines and other special ops forces in the Pacific includes entries by some of the men featured in THE GREAT RAID, so you can read it about it in their own words. Further, it’s a bit of an “unknown” part of the war, I think. I mean, we know the marines stormed a lot of beaches, but how many really big movies have they made recently about that war that give you the “realistic” perspective, versus the flag-waving Hollywood glamour movies of the sixties? Seems to me that other than the show BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON (I so wish I’d flown Corsairs; those planes are hot!), John Wayne movies are all I’ve seen. Well, that and WINDTALKERS, but that movie was just soooooo slow! Read INTO THE RISING SUN. Much more interesting.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s
OPERATIVES, SPIES & SABOTEURS, a book I’m proud of working on because, well, um, it was my idea. I suggested it to Pat when he was trying to figure out his next book and it turns out there was tons of great material out there that had never before been published. The OSS (Office of Strategic Services) did not start out as the home for Steve Austin (a/k/a THE SIX-MILLION-DOLLAR MAN). It started out before the CIA and it recruited folks from all sorts of life: from professors of foreign languages to safecrackers and Mafia hitmen, the OSS used them all on a variety of real-life spy missions that make James Bond look like a wuss. Let’s face it, Bond is a pretty-boy who’d have died a long time ago without all the toys and gadgets. It takes a big set of brass ones to be a German Jew who parachutes back into Nazi-occupied territory to help fight the war and this book tells the story of one guy (if not more) who did just that.

So, while Pat is working on his Iraq book, take the time to get caught up on his prior books. You won’t be disappointed. And if you’d like to do something really good today, visit and support my efforts with Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Remember, cancer is a “six degree” disease—if you don’t have it, you are connected through family or friends to someone who does—and only through continuing research can a cure be found. And people have been cured, so help me help LLS keep fighting the fight, please. And/or visit and figure out where you can go to give blood today. Somewhere someone needs it. And they give you cookies!




Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Been reading since you started this--but thought I might comment on this one. My own hubby went to Iraq for a year--he's now out of the mitlitary. Most of those who went won't talk about it, I've gotten a few bits here and there, and look forward to reading the book when it comes out so I can have a better understanding of what he went through, even though my spouse was a medic there at the start with the 4th ID. His life changed and so did mine with his tour in Iraq.

Your blog is great--hope you keep it up.


Andrew Zack said...


There are actually a lot of books in the pipeline about Iraq, but I think Pat's will be one of the best, for sure.

It's interesting what you say about veterans not talking. Pat received a good number of emails from readers of BEYOND VALOR, commenting on the fact that their dads hadn't discussed the war for sixty years, but with that book in hand, sons and daughters were able for the first time to talk to their fathers about the war.

I think few folks realize how much a tour in the military—particularly in combat—can change a person. I can't imagine the things your husband saw as a medic. My appreciation to him for his service. I think there's no other role quite so honorable and important in a military unit—as any veteran will tell you—than medic.


Post a Comment

We will not publish Anonymous comments. If you would like to comment, you should sign your comment with your name, city and state, e.g., John Smith, San Diego, CA. Otherwise we will be forced to reject your comment.

Also, please do not query us here or ask if we would "be interested in" your book. Our query guidelines are clearly outlined on our website and you should follow them if you would like us to consider your work.

Thank you.