cover image SPARE PARTS: A Marine Reservist's Journey from Campus to Combat in 38 Days

SPARE PARTS: A Marine Reservist's Journey from Campus to Combat in 38 Days

Buzz Williams, . . Gotham, $26 (306pp) ISBN 978-1-59240-054-6

This clear and useful autobiography gives a valuable picture of those American fighting men and women drawn from the reserves. Following in his revered older brother's footsteps, the author joined the Marine reserves by way of the full ordeal at Parris Island, described with great and occasionally nauseating vividness. He then spent six years as crew in a light armored vehicle, an armored car with a crew of four, in which he saw combat in Operation Desert Storm only 38 days after being called up. After the war, he continued as a Marine reservist while making a career as a professional educator, where he drew on his Marine training for dealing with problem students. He served his reserve time with a happy-go-sloppy Sergeant Moss and the gung-ho Sergeant Krause, filled in gaps when nobody showed up for drills and learned the vices and virtues of both his personal equipment and his vehicles. He survived not only combat but the none-too-friendly rivalry between regular and reserve Marines, and worked through a postwar bout of post-traumatic stress disorder while keeping his marriage intact and raising a son. He has written this book with the same care and attention to detail that he exhibited as a Marine. Through him, we have more knowledge about the situation of the reservists on whom this country's military effectiveness increasingly depends. (On sale Mar. 8)