W.Y. Boyd Literary Award Recipients


2009 W.Y. Boyd Literary Award

Richard Bausch, Peace, (Knopf, a division of Random House) It’s an excellent work that chronicles the lives of an Army patrol in Italy during the bleak winter of 1944 and details their adventures and the futility and moral complexity of combat.


A Different Kind of Honor

Robert N. Macomber, A Different Kind of Honor,(Pineapple Press) It’s an excellent work about the assignment of Lt. Cmdr. Peter Wake during a conflict that is little known to history, the War of the Pacific. This conflict lasted from 1879 to 1884, with the main players in this war being Bolivia and Peru versus. This historically accurate novel is entertaining and the plot-twisting narrative keeps you wondering what would happen next.


The Deadly Embrace

Robert J. Mrazek, The Deadly Embrace (Penguin Books). It’s an excellent work on a critical period in the Second World War. The intrigue, the tension, and the secrecy surrounding those critical days before the invasion are chronicled through the eyes of American officers, Lieutenant Elizabeth “Liza” Marantz and Major Sam Taggaret. It is a very compelling tale that enables the reader to obtain a perspective of what it was really like in war-weary England in the days before the Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944.


Articles of War

Nick Arvin, Articles of War (Doubleday). An addition to the chronicles of individuals who served in the Second World War. It is a very compelling tale that enables the reader to obtain a perspective of what it was really like for the GI on the ground by providing the reader with an eye-opening view of the carnage and chaos of the war.


To The Last Man: A Novel of The First World War

Jeff Shaara, To The Last Man: A Novel of The First World War (Ballantine). An epic account of modern warfare. Recent history has often overlooked the First World War and the men who fought in it. Jeff Shaara’s novel, To The Last Man, places the courage, valor and horrors of that conflict in historical perspective through the eyes and emotions of several individuals. Some are well-known to history, while others are obscure. To The Last Man is a gripping and passionate work that lets the reader understand the consequences of this tragic event.


Glory In The Name: A Novel of the Confederate Navy

James L. Nelson, Glory In The Name: A Novel of the Confederate Navy (HarperCollins). A triumph of imagination and good, taut writing. “Like the American Revolution, the naval action of the Civil War largely is overshadowed by the fighting that took place on land,” said Nelson. “In part that is because, like the Revolution, the Civil War was a very lopsided contest in terms of naval strength Still, the Confederacy was able to do some astounding things with what they had, and there were some very interesting contests for control of the water, mostly harbors and rivers, since the Union pretty much had a lock on the open ocean. Adding to the picture was the emergence of steam, iron plating and shell guns to naval warfare. It was an extraordinary period, and the huge advances made in fighting at sea are testimony to the unique American genius for invention, North and South.”


Warning of War

James Brady, Warning of War (St Martin’s Press). An action-filed novel with stunning breadth and depth. His excellent writing has captured the historical depiction of the vivid portrayal of wartime China during 1941 and 1942.


Sharkman Six

Owen West, Sharkman Six (Simon & Schuster). Truly a war novel for the New World Order. The book is set in Somalia during the U.S. involvement in Operation Restore Hope in 1991–1992. The harsh realities of modern warfare’s role of the military as peacekeepers are shown in a setting devoid of all forms of a national government. Chaos reigns and the Marines of a Recon Unit struggle trying to feed the starving people of Mogadishu while surviving in a lawless environment controlled by ruthless warlords.


Dog Company Six

Brigadier General Edwin Howard Simmons, Dog Company Six (Naval Institute Press). The author captures the reality of this brutal war and portrays the depths that men in combat can rise to or fall as they faced overwhelming enemy forces and severe weather conditions. The combat scenes are full of realism. It works as a story of the Korean War and the U.S. Marine Corps, but also as a probe into the deepest reaches of the human condition. What causes people to react so differently in combat? It’s the question that has haunted exchanges of gunfire between armies since the beginning of time. General Simmons writes so well about it because he writes from his own experiences.


Soldier in Paradise

John Mort, Soldier in Paradise (Southern Methodist University Press). With a refreshing lack of bombast or melodrama, first novelist Mort offers an insightful, affecting look at the complex personal consequences of war specifically Vietnam on the lives of its veterans. James Patrick “Irish” Donnelly, a reluctantly enlisted infantryman, narrates his story in direct, candid chapters alternating between his experiences in Vietnam and his life in the U.S. before and afterward.


Jacob's Ladder

Donald McCaig, Jacob’s Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.). Reminiscent of Cold Mountain and Gone with the Wind, a civil war saga of a Virginia plantation family fulfilling its unforgettable destiny. Widely acclaimed, with comparisons to Margaret Mitchell and Shelby Foote, Jacob's Ladder is a rich and poignant novel.


The Black Flower

Howard Bahr, The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War (Nautical and Aviation Press). The Black Flower is written with reverent attention to historical accuracy. The book vividly documents the fear, suffering, and intense friendships that are all present on the eve of the battle and during its aftermath. It is a powerful reminder that the war that divided America will not vanish quietly into the page of history.


Gods and Generals

Jeff Shaara, Gods and Generals (Ballantine Books). This Shaara is the son of Michael Shaara, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling novel about the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels (1974). This prequel is a robust, thoughtful novel which focuses simultaneously on the lives of four men who played significant roles in the military side of the Civil War in battles leading up to the great one at Gettysburg’s. The novel follows Stonewall Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joshua Chamberlain, and Robert E. Lee from 1858 to 1863, giving the reader splendidly detailed witness to how the war drew them into commanding positions. As should be the case with good historical fiction, Shaara, in taking actual figures from the past, rekindles them; he uses the personal experiences of these four men to meaningfully explore the political and military issues of the day.