Smedley GN
Publisher: Dead Reckoning (Naval Institute Press)
Release Date: October 9, 2019
Price: $26.95
Creator: Jeff McComsey
Format: 176 pgs., Full-Color, 6.6"x10.25", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-6824-7276-7
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This book tells a story about an interesting and overlooked man, and several snippets of the parts of history in which he was involved. Unfortunately, the framing story isn’t in the same vein, and some of the pieces of General Smedley’s story are really a bit too fragmentary.  This often leaves the reader wanting to find out more about a piece of the story, but that may distract them from reading the actual next page.

The framing story, which is about General Smedley’s visit to the camp of World War I veterans who had marched to Washington D.C. to ask for more money and benefits during the Depression, kind of glossed over some of the key events of that story until a brief discussion of President Hoover sending in the Army to disperse them… a horribly ironic incident of sending soldiers to beat up ex-soldiers.

The result of the structure is that there’s a very interesting story here, but one which will appeal more to people already familiar with the story.  The military history of General Smedley is also very interesting, but is told in such a way that it is difficult to absorb, especially when put in the context that the U.S. wasn’t always on the side of the angels in some of the conflicts.  His version of the U.S. interventions in the Philippines or the Boxer Rebellion might not sit well with the folks who were on the other side of those fights.

As with other books from this imprint, the apparent audience is adults.  The artwork isn’t stunningly beautiful, but is very good for the purposes of this story, and moves the story along well.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.