WORLD WAR I
WORLD WAR II
BOOK | FICTION | LITERARY
HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★
To one who considers some of his favorite literary works to be those about World War II – SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and CATCH 22 being the obvious ones – the war seems to be very present for me, when in fact it is now eighty years in our past. With it now so far removed from us, and with the space filled in by so many countless other wars, it really is quite an accomplishment that author J Hardy Carroll was able to bring the period back to us in such a vivid and entertaining way.
HAWSER, our selection for Volume 3 of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review (IABS&R), is a finely weaved, fascinating tale of Hawser (don’t bother asking him his real name) as he recounts his time as a B-17 bombardier during the Allies’s bombing campaign against the Germans.
We meet Hawser in a prisoner of war camp and it is from there he recounts for us all that has happened to him in the war before that point. We learn how he washed out as a pilot to become a bombardier, how he had to abandon his unit because of a murder, how he was abandoned as a child, how he met his arch nemesis, how he became trained in subversive warfare, how he became an expert bombardier, how he became burnt out and disillusioned by the war, and finally, how he tragically became a Nazi prisoner. From there we pick things back up from the present time in the story and we go along with him until the book’s conclusion.
Within that very rough sketch that I just laid out of the novel, there are so many – too many some may argue – different plot twists and sub plots filled with suspense and murder and love and passion and discovery and deceit along the way that several times throughout the course of my reading the book I had to stop to marvel at Carroll’s ability to manage it all so seamlessly and with such intrigue, all the while bringing out some of the larger and more poignant lessons learned from the war: mainly of the incalculable death and psychological and material devastation that the war wrought across the entire globe, as well as teaching us – or reminding us – that war isn’t always honorable and that not all people go to war to be heroes…some go to war simply because they want to kill.
And I was equally impressed with all the military and war jargon with which Carroll was able to flavor the story. It it his description of the B-17s and all their guns and ammunition and flight formations, and his knowledge of England during the war and its pastoral settings and its pubs and its quirky dialects that truly bring the story to life. Now I don’t know how much research Carroll had to do – my guess is a lot – and I don’t know how much of the detail he writes in the story is accurate – my guess is all of it – but I don’t really care. I don’t care because it all seems so real and so accurate that it significantly enhanced the story’s ability to pull me into that zen-like space of blissful verisimilitude.
In the end, the only flaws to be found with the book are in its ambition and achievement. At times the sub plots pull back the tempo of the story and I never really felt that there was that one thing, that one element of the story that had enough heft to bring an immediacy, an urgency of discovery, from the beginning to the end of the tale. But I see that more as a good problem for an Indie Author to have, as it is always better to have too much material to work with than not enough.
So I say congratulations and thank you to J Hardy Carroll for writing such a powerful story that both entertains and reminds us just how much effort and expense throughout history we silly humans have invested in our seemingly never ending quest to kill and conquer each other.
★ = UNREADABLE
★ ★ = POOR READ
★ ★ ★ = AVERAGE READ
★ ★ ★ ★ = OUTSTANDING READ
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = EXCEPTIONAL READ
I wasn’t planning on committing myself to another IABS&R round just yet; however, I made the mistake of picking up Indie Author J. Hardy Carroll’s novel HAWSER to casually leaf through it during a rare fit of nothing-to-do-ness. Well, you know how it goes – one
thing page led to another and before I knew it I was hooked. Carroll gives us a very strong opening that pulled me right into the vibe of the story.
So, since there’s not much chance that I am not going to read Carroll’s book, we might as well go ahead and make it all official-like and call this the official IABS&R VOLUME 3 KICK-OFF post and away we go…
Any books that mysteriously appear in my post office box henceforth will be shelved until we complete this round and move on to IABS&R Volume 4.
I know, I know…I still have essays to write from my first commitment to Emerson. But, as I am not going to do any further Emerson reading until I feel I’ve said all I have to say about Nature, I am in need of something to read (other than the gore and bore of the daily news) so Carroll’s apparently interesting novel fills that void nicely.
If anyone else has reviewed or intends to review HAWSER, please let me know. I’d like to check it out and maybe reblog it here.
Righto, then. Off I go…
Wish me luck!
(It better be good, JHC…)
A while back, I made notice that we were going to manage IABS&R Volume 3 a little bit differently than we had the previous two. Seeing how I am knee deep into my Emerson Commitment, and I am slowly, very slowly, putting together a collection of my short stories and flash fiction, I thought it best not to commit to a moderation of submissions and all the this and that it entails and just invite authors to send me print editions of their work directly…
And lo and behold, someone did send me a book directly. How about that…
I am very pleased and privileged to introduce to you the novel HAWSER, a, what looks to be very compelling, work of intrigue and adventure from an author with a name that I happen to think is a very cool and catchy authorial-type-name and one to be reckoned with – J Hardy Carroll.
Now, as I am chock-full of things to do in the present and beyond, it will be some time before I make the determination as to whether to actually read and review the book. In the interim, I will post it on my sidebar for you all to view and consider in a blatant effort of mine to coax and convince you into purchasing it so that you yourself may do the most honorable thing a reader can do for an Indie Author, which of course is to review it!. And during this lag of time between now and when I make my IABS&R Volume 3 determination, as opposed to “selection” since I have but one book to choose from, I invite you to send – as in mail – as in postal service mail (see Contact page for address) – me a polished and ready for prime time print edition version of your book, which may include just about any genre except Erotica and Romance. At which time, once received, I can then properly reclassify this IABS&R volume properly as a “selection” vice “determination.”
So, without further ado and nonsense from me, I present to you J Hardy Carroll’s novel, HAWSER.
Please visit and follow J Hardy Carroll at
It is my assumption that most of us are probably more familiar with World War II history than the histories of most other wars. As most historians don’t consider something as history unless we are at least fifty years or so removed from the event, I am not considering the world’s most recent wars when I make this assumption.
Consequently, I have been doing a little research to brush up on my World War I history. I was fortunate to find a wonderfully produced ten-part documentary on youtube fittingly entitled “The First World War.”
What I relearned from my research, and I know that this is not a new revelation by any stretch of the imagination, is that we as humans were utterly brutal and merciless during the twentieth century. It’s unfathomable to me how many millions were killed during World War I. And to top it all off, just as the war ended, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected the globe and killed another twenty million or so people.
You’re probably familiar with the saying “misery loves company.” Well, we at least can find some solace for what seems like our present day madness of global wars and revolutions and piracy and economic depressions and disregard for human rights by looking back through history and finding just about any point in time when it was much, much worse.