Remembering Private Lamb
by Leon Cooper
90 Day Wonder Publishing

"These are men I had never seen before, would probably never see again, and yet an aching sadness overcomes me with the realization that the lives of each would soon be in peril."

Part fact, part fiction, this novel recounts one man’s determination to honor those he fought with at the battle of Tarawa in World War II. An aging veteran sees a report showing the worlds’ refuse stacking up on Pacific Island shores—one of which is Red Beach, where he fought and his comrades died. He remembers one soldier who saved his and others’ lives the day they stormed inland. Determined to help cleanse what he considers hallowed ground, he embarks on a mission to restore the beach and to uncover what happened to the Private he’s never forgotten. What follows is a tale of heroism on the battlefield, betrayal in the corridors of power, misplaced nationalism, exposed lies, unimaginable sorrow, and redemptive love.

Cooper tells his tale via first-person narration. This technique brings the horrors of battle rivetingly to life as the novel opens amid the maelstrom of the Marine assault on the Japanese-held island. There is a palpable feeling of confusion and fear as men scramble for cover while their companions fall around them. In a later chapter, this writing method proves particularly impactful when recounting the protagonist’s achingly sorrowful farewell with his dying wife.

The strength and empathy of many of the author’s passages are so powerful that it becomes jarringly obvious when plot points occasionally seem too coincidental or contrived. Still, his characters feel like people you know, his dialogue is sharp and honest, and there is never a doubt about the sincerity he feels for the cause he believes in and the people who populate his pages. The book also includes a forward by actor, Ed Harris.

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