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Nothing in Reserve: true stories, not war stories [Kindle Edition]

Jack Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £9.55
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Book Description

"Nothing In Reserve" details the journey of a middle-aged soldier from suburbia through the sandbox as he wrangles with death, divorce and devastation on his way to a full, if damaged, heart. The stories in this book bring light to the real war fought by every man: the struggle for meaning against the blaring chaos of war and the often purposeless drift of peacetime. The tenderness expressed herein was not acquired at retail. It was earned through unsparing, brutal honesty.

Praise for Jack Lewis's writing :
"Every once in a while an author comes along who, through the sheer force and intensity of his prose, knocks you flat. To me, Jack Lewis is that writer and truly one of the great, literary heavyweights of his generation. No matter what subject he takes on, no matter how familiar we might initially assume it to be, Jack transforms it into something fresh, dynamic, and unforgettable. Road Work, just to give one example, is about as perfect a short story as any author could hope to craft — and like the rest of Jack’s writing, it hits hard and leaves a mark."
– Andrew Carroll, editor of Operation Homecoming.

Product Description

About the Author

Born in Portland, Oregon in 1964, Jack Lewis is a middle-aged curmudgeon of catholic writing proclivity. Jack holds a BA English cum laude from Washington State University and an MFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California. He wears thick glasses, drinks Ardbeg, owns two motorcycles and a chainsaw, and prefers slip-on shoes. In 2006, Jack contributed two chapters to Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front (ed. Andrew Carroll, Random House 2006), and participated in two documentary films based on that book including Richard Robbins's Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. Those writings stemmed from his service leading a tactical psychological operations team in NW Iraq during 2004-2005. Editorial writing earlier in Jack's career resulted in the D.B. Houston Journalism Prize, SPJ Editorial Writing honors, Best of the Palouse citation, and WSU Philosophy Club Gadfly of the Year. Between spasms of frenzied writing activity, Jack has worked as a busboy, geriatric nursing aide, soldier, production assistant, telecommunications circuit designer, soda jerk, computer technician, hotel manager, farm hand, editor, hardware store clerk for the coolest hardware store in Seattle, and motorcycle service writer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 669 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Litsam, Inc.; 1 edition (30 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,429,393 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars like the tagline says - it's not war stories 5 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
I have not only read this book, and chatted with Jack about it... like the tagline says - it's not war stories, it's true stories... albeit some of them about people in wars. You feel as though you are there with them, you feel their hurt and when you suffer the type of things the author reiterates in detail about PTSD (some, not all I can relate to personally) you realise that yes, this person *is* telling the story the TRUE story, not just spinning a yarn.

It's deliciously REAL, something I haven't found in a lot of books, but I've even loaned it to a friend who shall I say was in the same profession as Jack, prior to Jack becoming a brilliant author that is!!, and he says it's almost TOO real. He couldn't read it without having someone else there, or he would have broken down.

However, it has a happy ending... Pretty Wife is indeed pretty, inside and out, and Jack is a happy author!! With a new book out which I'm dying to get my hands on once I've earned enough pesos to pay for it!! :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, troubling, ultimately uplifting 17 April 2011
By Carl Paukstis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a big slice of Jack Lewis' middle-age, told in a series of vignettes in sorta more-or-less chronological order. Fortunately for the reader, he's a very interesting and articulate man, and did some interesting things. It used to be (maybe still is) common for late teenagers and early twentysomethings to try and straighten out their screwed-up life by joining the military and going off to war. I don't know whether it's ever been common for the pushing-40 demographic, but Lewis details just how good an idea that was for him.
There's very little of politics or pontification about the horror of war or the stupidity of military command, though those ideas certainly come through. The Iraq section, the middle two-thirds of the book, presents a very straightforward view of what life is like for a middle-aged senior NCO in a notionally non-combat role. Much of that life is "long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror", but Lewis manages to find wry humor and a great deal of genuine human compassion, both for the soldiers and some of the local inhabitants. His portrayal of the command personalities and of the level of understanding of the mission and purpose of American presence there is troubling, but basically as old as war.
As is his depiction of life after return. While we can clearly understand that Jack Lewis is feeling further and further detached from "the real world" while in Iraq, it soon becomes clear that being home in Washington is NOT bringing him closer. As might be expected, it's never quite clear whether the disintegration of his family life is a cause or an effect of his gradually loosening grip on reality. The most disturbing part of the book is a series of short episodes in which it's clear that Jack is only occasionally living in the same world as the rest of us.
The end is uplifting, since we grew to like Jack lewis quite a lot. Let's just say that a hospital, and a girl, and a dog figure prominently.
This isn't a book about the Iraq war, despite the cover photo. Though a lot of the action is set there, it's really a book about one man's struggle with life and the elusive nature of reality. As with Lewis' earlier _Coming And Going On Bikes_, there's a lot of interior "helmet time" dialog that many of us can identify with very strongly. It may not make you cheerful, or even optimistic, but it will make you think.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journeyman Wordsmith 25 Jun. 2011
By Sharon D. Allen - Published on
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I would delight in a dissertation on dental insurance if it were written by Jack Lewis. I could have sped through "Nothing in Reserve" in a few hours. But Lewis is my favorite type of writer, a journeyman wordsmith and a master of his craft who makes the actual act of reading enjoyable. I found myself reciting parts aloud just to roll the words around on my tongue. Like an art lover in a museum, I ambled slowly through it, savoring the clever wordplay, and, honestly, coveting a few of his phrases. His war was also my war and there are places where he describes how I feel about it better than I can. We were in different units in different parts of Iraq, but the next time someone asks me what it was like, I'm going to give him this book.

The stories themselves are just as good as the construction of them. Lewis flays himself open and bleeds all over the page. His honesty, humility, and vulnerability about the war, the crumbling of his marriage and his slow recovery from both is bracing and inspiring.

He's better than the vast majority of writers at getting the right details right. The stuff that people who weren't there will skitter over easily, but that people who were there will latch onto. A significant portion of the book is not set in Iraq, yet, like all soldiers, Lewis's military experience colors even the most civilian of events.

A person doesn't have to be a veteran to appreciate this book. And a person doesn't have to be a divorcee. He or she just has to be human.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really think you should read this book. 27 Jun. 2011
By Estelle Daphne Venable - Published on
I read this book twice in a professional capacity and then once more just because it's so good. That never happens. After all, I do have a life. I have other things to do. But this book is so honest and funny and real and so beautifully written that I don't regret one second of the too much time I spent on it.

I'm not necessarily a fan of books about war but I am addicted to the kind of writing that makes you feed addicted, no matter what the genre or subject. After I read Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes, I became somewhat evangelical about it, pushing it on everyone I knew. I even bothered a few innocent bystanders at bus stops and cocktail parties, which turned out okay because they all thanked me later. But just as my fervor about that began to die down, I read Nothing in Reserve (did I mention I read it three times?) and I'm dong the same thing, urging everyone I know and everyone I meet to read it. You can trust me. I was not wrong about Matterhorn and I'm not wrong about Nothing in Reserve. Life is short. Don't waste your precious time reading another mediocre book or even pretty a good one until you have read this.

I hope Jack Lewis writes more books soon because I'm ready. I would probably read a romance novel if he wrote one. Well, maybe not, but I'd give it at least 50 pages. And I don't even know where they keep those in the book store.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the warrior in each of us 11 Jun. 2011
By James D. Weatherly - Published on
As others have already described, Jack Lewis has the writing skills to bring you into his world and share the highs, the lows, the pain and the successes of a varied and colorful life. What I did not expect was that Jack's story would connect with my own mid-life struggles in such a powerful way. "Nothing In Reserve" accompanied me on a spontaneous motorcycle journey across the USA. It proved to be an excellent travel companion.

I have never faced an armed enemy on the battle field, but at times my life has felt opposed by some other force. The risk of being taken out by an IED has never existed for me. The risk of being taken out of the life I want to live has become much more real as I age.

Jack Lewis tells the reader of his battles, with humility and honesty. The degree to which his battles described mine was startling. Not in the myriad details of their execution, but in the impact they have on the soul. Jack skillfully moves the magnifying lens from the conflict to the conflicted. I believe that many readers will find themselves somewhere in this book. I did.

I cannot recommend a book more highly.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit less, but a lot more 31 Oct. 2011
By Nancy Schielmann - Published on
Hoping for a bit of understanding as to what might have helped a person who passed briefly through my life, I ordered this book based on the reviews. It wasn't quite what I had expected, as it reads more like bits and pieces of an unusually well-written journal that jump about on a timeline - more than once I had to flip back a few pages to double-check the context (I tend to skim text when I get caught up in a book). However, it also gave far more insight than I had looked for.

The emotion and wry humor are not only terribly reassuring, but they made it impossible to put the book down. What really gave me a shock was when it dawned on me that I had a slight acquaintance with one of the men who had served with the author. Talk about surreal - some things make so much more sense now!

Whether you're searching for knowledge or just looking for an afternoon's entertainment, give yourself a gift by reading this book. You truly can't go wrong on this one.
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