William Stroock, college professor and author of A Line through the Desert and the science fiction novel, To Defend the Earth.
January 1st, 2013- Israel Strikes: A Novel of the Israeli/Iran War.
Through a howling sand storm, against the Iraqi Republican Guard; the largest and most intense tank battle of the First Gulf War...
It was an imaginary line on a map, but it changed one young cavalry trooper's life forever...
Rejected by his family, and by the girl he loves, he fights a battle in the desert, and at home....
A Line through the Desert
The Battle of 73 Easting
Jake Bloom doesn’t like high school very much and he’s always felt out of place in his synagogue. He’s not thrilled with his parents either. But he loves Led Zeppelin and his girlfriend, Patricia. Seeking to emulate the Israeli soldiers he’s always admired, much to the horror of his over protective parents, Jake joins the army the day after graduating high school. When his summer romance with Patricia ends in heartbreak, as it must, Jake leaves for the army jaded and embittered. In the elite 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Jake finds the purpose and brotherhood he’s always yearned for. When the regiment is deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm Jake meets the challenges of tedium, duty, and the horrors of war with honor and good humor – who knew you could blast heavy metal music at the Iraqis? Now if he could only put Patricia out of his mind…
"Pitch perfect." Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric
"Stroock has done a good job of capturing the life of a soldier in a combat unit throughout his service in Germany and the Middle East." General Phil Bolte, Cavalry Journal
"Stroock not only tells us about military life, he makes us feel it." William Katz, Urgent Agenda
"Jewish 'Jarhead'....with the GenX attitude Stroock brings to this unsentimental, fast-paced book, should make it a favorite with history and military buffs." Kathy Shaidle, Eaxminer.com
Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric. Omri Ceren's exclusive radio interview with Will, at One Jerusalem. Will talks about A Line through the Desert, the GWOT, and Israel's war against Hamas and Hezbollah.
William Katz, Urgent Agenda, December, 2009
A LINE THROUGH THE DESERT:
It's a pleasure to receive a book written by one of our subscribers.
William Stroock is a distinguished writer on military history, whose articles appear in specialized journals. He knows his stuff. His research is thorough.
He's now writtten a novel, "A Line Through the Desert," that puts his knowledge at the service of historical fiction. In this case, the main setting is the first Gulf war.
Stroock not only tells us about military life, he makes us feel it. We see through the eyes of his soldiers. We feel the sand under them. We rage at the same things they rage at. At a time when most Americans don't even know a soldier, Stroock introduces us to soldiers as breathing human beings, neighbors...men who come from the same towns we do, but who may see the world a bit differently, especially after they've been gripped by combat.
I felt I was there, in the first Gulf war, rolling with the Cav regiments, feeling the thunder of their guns.
I especially liked the part where Stroock's main guy, Jake Bloom, returns home. Stroock understands that even close relatives can never comprehend what a soldier has seen. When Bloom feels out of place in college courses, it reminded me that the veterans who returned after World War II were considered some of the best students our colleges had ever had, because they had become so mature.
There's a great deal of barracks language, but many who read military fiction are used to that. It's a solid read, with a love story included, and a primer on what soldiers go through today.
Cavalry Journal, U.S. Cavalry Association, Fall, 2009
A Line Through the Desert by William Stroock. Charleston, Booksurge Publishing, 2008. 317pp. Available at Amazon.com for $12.95.
Reviewed by Trooper Phil Bolté
This is a book of modern war, soldiers, and romance. Author Stroock has written about a a young man who volunteered for Army service and became a trooper in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, then stationed in Germany. Well trained and motivated, Jake Bloom became a tank commander, leader of a four-man crew of an Abrams tank. And then came Desert Shield and Desert Storm and he found himself shipped to the Middle East and participating in the regiment's combat operations.
Sroock has done a good job of capturing the life of a soldier in a combat unit throughout his service in Germany and the Middle East. He describes accurately the challenges of the junior leader as he deals with his subordinates, peers, and superiors. Sergeant Bloom is able to walk the line between familiarity and discipline, a particular challenge of a tank commander.
Underlying the military aspects of Bloom's life is a romance started and broken off before his movement to Germany, a home town romance that went sour. Without overdoing this aspect of the story, the author has made it realistic. It is the story of a teen-ager who grows up in years and in experience, the latter magnified by battle.
While the gutter language used throughout the book may be seen as adding realism, some will find it offensive and consider it detracting from the overall quality of the narrative.
Soldiers who read this book will find the author's accuracy in describing weapon systems and their performance refreshing. He has, as well, captured the performance of soldiers in modern battle.
Like Totally 80s , Spring 2010
Interview with “A Line Through the Desert" author William Stroock
"A Line through the Desert" is a Gen X story of love set among the realities of the first Gulf War. William Stroock does an excellent job of evoking the feeling of being there in the desert and of being adrift and unsure like every post-high school person must feel regardless of time and place. The late 80s cultural references will be very familiar to anyone coming of age during this time. We had a chance to ask Will some questions about the book and his future plans.
1. Tell us about yourself: What do you do? Where are you from?
I live in Brigdewater, NJ with my wife, Jenica and two daughters Meriam and Lillianna. In addition to teaching history at Raritan Valley Community College I write history articles for various magazines. I have also been a high school substitute teacher and a full time middle school teacher.
2. Tell us a little about your inspiration in writing this book.
The idea for A Line through the Desert had been rolling around my head for a while. I began writing in March of 2003 after I had finished reading Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. He just flipped the on switch in my brain for some reason. It combined a good love story, Gen X culture, and an under appreciated war all in one. I came of age reading Tom Clancy novels so I understood the importance of getting the technical details as right as possible. I interviewed a couple dozen veterans of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment, the unit in A Line through the Desert. Couldn't have done it without them.
3. Did you serve in the Gulf War?
Nope. I was 17 when the war broke out.
4. The love story between Jake and Patricia was so real. Did you pull from your own experiences in developing their story?
You bet I did. The block I describe in A Line through the Desert is the block I grew up on. All the characters are real (I had to cut one out for reasons of space, sorry Antoine), especially Patricia, and no, I never snuck into her bedroom, though myself and the Devon character did break into her house when she was a having a slumber party. There was a little fling but that never amounted to much. Basically I had been chasing this girl since I was 12 but she never really cared. I am still in touch with everyone.
5. We love all the late 80s music and movie references in the book! What were your 80s favorites in both movies and music?
Well, metal all the way, lots of Zeppelin and Def Leppard, Guns n Roses, Metallica, I think Somewhere in Time is Iron Maiden's best album. Later on classic rock, all the music Sgt. Bloom likes in A Line through the Desert. As far as movies, we all remember the way HBO and Cinemax ran movies over an over. My favorites were Aliens, the Lethal Weapon series, Die Hard, Robin Hood, Stand by Me. God I loved Bachelor Party. I crammed "A Line Through the Desert" with as many 80's pop culture references as I could. I wanted it to drip Gen X. I wanted readers to open it up and get punched in the face by 1988.
“I enjoyed it a lot. It was strange reading it all and being able to relate so well to what they were saying, doing, etc. The German & American relationships, the fighting, the resentment from some of the locals was right on. The battle and build up to it was intense. It carries well into the post-war too.”
Specialist Patrick 'Doc' Biddy, Headquarters, Headequarters Company, First Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
“It really brought me back to my days in Germany and my time spent in the Gulf: the good, the bad, the fear of the unknown, the horrible, crappy environment of the desert, the sand that got into everything, the joy of getting a letter from home, the boredom of pulling guard; all of it… The battle scenes brought back those same feelings I had during the ground war.”
Private Greg Byer, 84th Engineering Company, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
'Will Stroock has immersed the reader into the hearts and minds of Cav Soldiers in a time of War. Real Cav Soldiers, Real Battle; it will change or strengthen your perpective of and for the American Soldier. I Salute Mr. Stroock for telling a story that needed to be told."
Private David Sine, D Troop, 1st Squadron, Second Armored Cavalry Regiment
"Great, uncomplicated and entertaining book about the life of a very normal soldier going to war - I was in 2nd Squadron in the late eighties and Will has painted the scene very accurately. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend it to anyone - there's no Hollywood heroes in this book, just real ones."
Sgt. Adam Dadswell, Howitzer Battery, 2nd Squadron, Second Armored Cavalry Regiment
The characters were engaging. It gives insight to the angst of survivors guilt and the grim task of killing the enemy. Soldiers come from all different religious backgrounds. It gives perspective of a Jewish soldier’s to point of view. Every soldier has internal conflict which must be resolved concerning duty to country, family , and his relationship with the women in his life. The brotherhood of men under fire, even class separations which divide enlisted men from NCOs from commissioned officers, the differences between those who have seen combat before and to those who combat is a new risk experienced, the failure of civilian friends and family to relate to the combat vets difficulty to easily re-assimilate back to the civilian world... All these psychological items are explored placing you in the characters minds. This book was written with advice from men who were really there on the field of honor. Hopefully any civilian reading this book will gain a much stronger respectful appreciation of those who serve our country .
Specialist Don ' Doc ' Holiday . 2nd platoon, Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, Second Armored Cavalry Regiment
Copyright William Stroock. All rights reserved.
Web Hosting by Yahoo!
Art by Austin Harrison
Cover by Renee Sullivan- http://www.burntmills.com/
For more great military fiction visit military-writers.com edited by Raymond E. Foster
Have a question? Ask Will anything, drop him a line at Will@gulfwarone.com