Ray McPadden wins 2019 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for excellence in military fiction
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — "And The Whole Mountain Burned" by Ray McPadden, published by Center Street, Hachette Book Group, is the winner of the 2019 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award “for Excellence in Military Fiction.”
The W. Y. Boyd Literary Award honors the best American Military fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. The $5,000 award and citation, donated by author W.Y. Boyd II, recognizes the service of American veterans and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.
McPadden has written a firsthand account of the trials and tribulations of US Army Rangers, especially Sergeant Nick Burch and Private Danny Shane, fighting in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan in the Spring of 2008. The novel is graphic in describing how the men managed to survive, fight, and die in this godforsaken place. The author states that the novel depicts “the horrors of war, the courage of the soldiers, and the fact that no matter how many enemies we vanquish, there is always another over the ridge.” The Rangers’ only lifelines are their radios and the helicopters that often flew through miserable weather and enemy fire to bring them food, supplies, ammo, and - most important - mail from friends and loved ones. This latter lifeline also brought reinforcements and evacuated their wounded and dead.
William Tecumseh Sherman, of Civil War fame, said in an 1879 speech that “War is Hell.” The author has given the reader one of the most vivid accounts of what it was like to conduct combat operations in such an environment. He allows the reader to feel the men’s frustrations of having to live on a mountainside, fortify it, and hold it. You follow them as they slog through snow, rain, mud, rivers, and climb mountains while on combat patrols and dangerous missions. McPadden allows the reader to experience the soldiers’ adrenaline in numerous firefights. Through it all, the goal of The Army Rangers is to find the enemy, engage them, vanquish them, and to survive to return home.
Author Ray McPadden is a highly decorated officer who served four tours in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters of war. He was also a former Ground Force Commander in an elite unit of Army Rangers. McPadden writes from firsthand experience, having served in the area. His descriptions allow the reader to understand what it is like for young men at war - their fear of facing the unseen enemy, the vivid picture of fighting in all its totality, the bonding of the Rangers, and the sorrow over losing ones’ fellow soldiers.
The members of the W. Y. Boyd Jury selected And The Whole Mountain Burned for this year’s award. The annual award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC in late June.
Members of the 2019 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award are Robert Schnare, Naval War College, Rhode Island, (retired), Maxine Reneker, Monterey, California, Ronald Steensland, Lexington Public Library, director, (retired), Roberto Delgadillo, UC Davis, Andrew Mangels, West Lake Porter Library, and Beth McGuire, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
The W. Y. Boyd Literary Award will be presented on Sunday, June 23, 2019, at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.