Hook Up: A Novel of Fort Bragg
By William P. Singley
It was an Army between wars. Korea was a fresh memory for some soldiers and Vietnam was only an insignificant blip on the military radar. It was an Army in which reluctant draftees mixed with aimless volunteers looking for adventure and ways to test or confirm their manhood. In those days and in that Army, “hook up” was a jump command for paratroopers rather than a romantic liaison.
Hook Up: A Novel of Fort Bragg takes us inside that Army and introduces fascinating characters who are struggling to become paratroopers and survive in a starch-stiff U.S. Army airborne regiment based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Side-by-side in that demanding trek are officers like Lieutenant Sy Margolin, a potential nebbish who instead becomes a strong leader, and enlisted men like Privates Willie Patterson and Scott Breslin, who challenge authority every step of the way to winning their paratrooper wings.
In Hook Up we get a close-up, very personal, and fascinating look at an Army that no longer exists—an Army populated with soldiers who have either learned hard life lessons or are about to learn them in a crucible where failure can land you in the stockade or in the morgue. From the rigors of barracks life to the raucous off-post adventures to the thrilling jump sequences, Hook Up is a fast-paced, thrilling story of military excellence pursued and human innocence lost.
This story gives you a glimpse into military life in the late 50’s. As was the times, the enlisted men drank, smoked, cursed, and chased women. Some soldiers were slackers and brown-nosers, while others were trying to be the best soldier they could possibly be. Whether they were just doing their time or committed to retire in the service, they had one thing in common, they would never be the same individuals that they were before military life.
While reading this, I thought it was a work of fiction. I was surprised to find out that the characters and events were actual fact. I liked the update on each character at the end. I had become very fond, even attached, to some. I felt every accomplishment and loss of each one. It was amusing to read all the antics the men did to one another. I was familiar with the way officers humiliate lower ranks. I just don’t understand it. I have to admit though, that my favorite part was when a sergeant stated that a private had it coming because of him “being no bigger than a hummin’ bird’s fart”.
**The above opinions are 100% my own, whether I purchased the book or it was given to me to review.
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About the Author
More than a few years ago, Bill won the Samuel Goldwyn Literary Award at UCLA. Immediately afterward he spent a year in Vietnam taking photographs and writing stories about the First Brigade, 101st Airborne. His stories and photos were published worldwide and he earned a Bronze Star. He also served with 82nd Airborne; Hook Up is a result of his military experiences. He has written two additional novels based on ex-paratrooper and private investigator Tommy Palmer. Bill grew up at the South Jersey shore and has lived and worked in Africa and Hawaii, and traveled throughout Southeast Asia, the Orient, and Europe. He earned his living as the corporate sales manager for a major international airline and holds a master’s degree in Asian Studies. He raised a family close to the beach in Southern California where he resides today.