Another Award?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Novel about black Vietnam soldiers IS A FINALIST FOR TWO AWARDS

A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt is a finalist in the 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. ForeWord Reviews says, “Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd.”

A Long Way Back is also a finalist for receipt of the Montaigne Medal. The Eric Hoffer Awards Committee states, “These are books that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought. The Montaigne Medal is given in honor of the great French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who influenced people such as William Shakespeare, René Descartes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Eric Hoffer.”

A Long Way Back was the recent recipient of the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. The CLC Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.

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Goodreads Review

Nice to know people are still reading my first book:

It was the title that grabbed my attention: “Snake Walkers”. I pulled it off the library shelf, read the cover flap, and quickly realized that this is not a book I would usually choose to read. I, however, found the title and the idea of “the mysterious abandonment of a small town” intriguing so I checked it out.

I am truly at a loss for words to describe the array of emotions I felt while furiously reading page after page to get to the end of the story. If a book should ever be a best seller or made into a movie, it’s this one.

I won’t even include a synopsis of the book in this review, because as I said it’s not a book I would normally pick up. This is a must read regardless of your preference of genres/topics.

Elyse’s Reviews, Goodreads Author
August 2015

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So

I was talking to a young African-American man a couple of months ago who was moving up in corporate America.  He shared how everybody thought he had gotten his engineering job through affirmative action, when, in fact, he had scored the highest of all the applicants.

It reminded me of my short stint in corporate America, but also of a subsequent conversation I had when I was appointed to a prestigious financial advisory group  some years ago. I had come in early.  The chairperson of the board, a banker, was already there.  He says, “Most people on this committee have a financial or real estate development background.  I’m curious as to how you got chosen.”

So, I ask, “You’ve had this conversation with everybody on the committee?”

“No.”

“Anybody else on the committee?”

“No.”

“Have you read my resume?”

He says, “No.”

“Then, you don’t know that I have a master’s degree in Urban Studies.”

“Um. No.”

“And, so, you probably don’t know that I own a commercial and industrial real estate appraisal firm that does work for some of the largest banks in the state.”

“No.”

That I’ve taught commercial real estate appraising throughout the United States, Jamaica, and the Bahamas?”

“No.”

That I’ve completed market studies and feasibility studies for real estate ventures?”

“’Really? No. I did not.”

So, I ask, “Are you a Republican?”

He says, “Yes.  How did you know?”

SMFH before SMFH became an acronym.

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Review of A Long Way Back by Reader Views

A Long Way Back  by J. Everett Prewitt is an excellent read that follows a post reporter who is sent to Vietnam to report on the war effort. What he uncovers is the disgusting truth about race in the military and a cover-up designed to protect those in power, while ensuring those who were betrayed are never allowed to have a voice. The story is gripping and it is hard to imagine a time when soldiers would be willing to betray their own. A Long Way Back  simultaneously covers the issue of race, while also subtly taking a look at combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. The book’s ability to fairly, and accurately tackle both issues is impressive. J. Everett Prewitt is an excellent writer and his writing style is realistic, intense, and seems to accurately capture the time period and military life. Prewitt writes from both the perspective of the post reporter investigating the case of missing black soldiers in Vietnam, and the perspectives of the missing soldiers. Having both perspectives keeps the story fresh and allows the author to cover multiple points of view. Prewitt does an excellent job creating memorable and believable characters the reader cares about.

This book does everything well including pacing, character development, and the storyline itself. It is clear that Prewitt is a good author who is well within his wheelhouse on this one. The only issue I have with the story is that in the second half of the book some of the chapters are told from the perspective of one of the Viet Cong leaders as she stalks the missing soldiers across the jungle. These chapters are short and feel forced, like commercial breaks from the story. I personally feel that they were unnecessary and detracted from the actual story. Given how late in the story these chapters appear and my attachment to the other characters, I just could not find myself caring about the enemy’s perspective and so I hurried through these chapters to get back to the actual story.

Aside from those few chapters on the Viet Cong’s perspective, the book never misses a beat, and the attention to detail within the story is impressive. I have no idea if the story is actually based on true events but it is written well enough that I would not be surprised if that were the case. Prewitt has created a powerfully moving novel with A Long Way Back. It is not a story for the faint of heart, or those looking for an uplifting read, but for those who are interested in a realistic take on race, Vietnam, and post-traumatic stress; A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt delivers a read that will not soon be forgotten.

(Author’s Note)  Hopefully, readers will care about the Viet Cong perspective once they read Something About Ann.  The novella continues the story of a black Vietnam veteran and a Vietnamese woman who fall in love not knowing they had already crossed paths in Vietnam.  To be published in September 2016.

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Literary Classics Seal of Approval

For Immediate Release

Literary Classics

pr@clcawards.org

Literary Classics Seal of Approval Smaller

Literary Classics is pleased to announce that the book, A Long Way Back, by J. Everett Prewitt, has been selected to receive the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  The CLC Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.

A Long Way Back is the gripping tale of a group of Black American soldiers and one young man determined to bring their story to light.  When Anthony, a Washington Post news reporter sent to cover the war in Vietnam, witnesses the return of seven soldiers from a mission he senses a story.  The soldiers, bedraggled and severely shell-shocked, are met with stunned silence.  It seems the other men at base camp seem shocked to learn the men made it back alive.  Anthony feels certain this is a story the Post would want him to cover, but he is refused the opportunity to speak to anyone. He hears hushed rumors of the men having been sent on an illegal mission to Cambodia; but under threat of court-martial, no one will divulge any information about the mission, or the fate of the others who never returned.

Author, J. Everett Prewitt’s vivid depiction of the horrors of war are compounded when intertwined with the racial injustices perpetrated upon the men whose story Anthony hopes to reveal.  A Long Way Back is a powerful and compelling novel.  Recommended for home and school libraries, this book has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

 Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature for young readers, takes great pride in its role to help promote classic literature which appeals to youth while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations.   To learn more about Literary Classics, you may visit their website at http://www.clcawards.org or http://www.childrensliteraryclassics.com

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Chrissy the Greek

I enjoyed the match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but, alas, I had to be subjected to Chris Evert’s snide commentary.  Evert concedes Serena is probably the best who’s played the game, but can’t seem to get past Serena’s athleticism.  In fact, according to Evert, it’s all Serena has or has ever needed to win.  If I, an average tennis player, can see how Serena sets up a point, varies her pattern of play, and changes her shot selection when necessary, I’m sure Evert, the former pro, does too.

But yesterday, Evert made the statement, one she’s proffered before, that the only difference between Serena and Maria is Serena’s athleticism.  Really? It reminds me of assertions sports commentators have made in the past about black athletes, alluding they were all brawn and no brains.  Jimmy the Greek, Al Campanis and a few others I recall got called on it.

In no sport does the best player win on just athleticism, why would Evert think tennis is any different?  On one tennis website that discusses what’s necessary to win constantly, they state: “Tennis players who consistently win their matches bring more to the court than a killer forehand or serve. Winning is an art that involves the ability to observe your opponent and act on what you see. It also takes mental fortitude and an ability to protect, and even mask, your own weaknesses.”

Mental fortitude! You will never hear that from Evert. Here’s my take on Evert, giving her the benefit of a doubt she’s not merely a hater.  The game has passed her by.  Evert can’t conceive of a female player who has combined the characteristics of mental toughness, intelligence, self-confidence, focus, determination, and yes, athleticism, to dominate for so long.

But I’m not taking the hater label off the table entirely.  Evert then comments that Sharapova makes more money than Serena through endorsements and knows it irritates Serena. It’s like some schoolyard kid who watches their friend lose a foot race and says, “Yeah, well, the other guy’s dad drives a beat-up car.”

Okay, my mother always told me to be nice, so I won’t call Evert a hater.  But , I can’t call her uninformed either.  So, I’ll let the reader come to their own conclusion.

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The Fisherman

I used to call my father-in-law an “expert fisherman.”   Emery loved to start a “lively discussion” at family dinners or whenever the time was convenient to him.  He would toss the bait out—usually current politics—and slowly reel his line in.  He was very patient; sometimes he would just let the bait sit out there.  Cast and reel in women’s rights, cast and reel in the current economy, cast and reel Kent State, cast and reel Viet Nam. Wham!  Someone would grab the bait, he lands a beauty—and there is no escape or retreat.  A doomed argument ensued, and Emery would get this sly grin knowing that he got ya.

I married my wife, Barbara, 39 years ago.  And so began my warm relationship with my in-laws.  We went over for Sunday dinners of pot roast, carrots and potatoes, and pies.  There was always a pie cooling in the kitchen.  I was in heaven.  Emery was a very conservative-thinking individual, and after dinner on Sunday, he would read the paper and the fishing would begin.  All it took was an article that rankled him.  His comments would bait the hook, and we were off and running with the damned discussion.  I would mentally smack myself in the head and curse the fact he got me or my wife again.

However, he was the father I never had; he took me under his wing when I married his daughter, and I learned a lot from him.  He was always patient and methodical when he was explaining a project.  I soon learned to have a mechanical problem or a gardening problem on hand when my wife and I would visit, because that would sidetrack his urge to fish for “lively discussion” topics.  After a respectable time passed, and I knew the “fishing gear” was about to come out, I would toss out my current issue.  Emery was very geared to mechanical problems, and once he caught the gist of my problem he became intent on solving it.  Then I was the one with the sly grin.

He was a person with a great sense of humor, too.  The family owned about 8 acres, and Emery’s dream was to be a small farmer.  While still working as a project engineer for a company that manufactured rubber products, Emery was set on clearing some of his property for growing cukes for pickling, red raspberries, and to fulfill the wish of his wife—an extended pasture for raising Arabian horses.  That is, however, another story.

This project involved cutting trees down, clearing brush, etc.  Emery was the person who handled the chainsaw.  He paid little attention to where his help might be and would just cut away.  It was up to us to duck and run, and if one of us yelled when he was dropping a limb too close to where we were standing, he would just grin and ask, “What were you doing standing there?”

My mother-in-law was the philosopher of the family.  I had many discussions with her over the years and she, too, was getting a little tired of the “fishing excursions.”  Over the years, Emery had become involved with making wine and beer, and she liked the idea my wife proposed about learning the craft.  It would be good for him to pass his knowledge on.  After all, Emery had learned the process of wine making from his father, so it was time to hand it down.

This was the best move ever.  When were together, our concentration was on brewing beer or wine.  We discussed specific gravity, malts, hops, wine chemistry, grapes, and it was a magic process when we were brewing.  No politics, no arguments, just the sound of the bubbling coming from the airlocks that kept the outside world from contaminating the brewing wort (beer) or must (wine).

Emery died in 1995 from cancer.  During his last six months of life, he endured a great amount of pain.  But, even during this time, he maintained his sense of humor.  Once, my wife and I brought over some huge potatoes we had grown in our garden, and he immediately ordered me to weigh them on the scale he had in the basement.  I obliged, and the one was almost 2 pounds; his comment was, “That was some Joner!”  He was also amazed at our raspberries that we grew without spraying or fussing over.  My wife would bring fresh-picked berries to their house, and they never made it past Emery.  She would give them to him and he would just shake his head because they were so good.

When he was close to death, he died after he was certain that all the family was present and he had spoken to them.  He was making sure that all were well.  No more “fishing expeditions.”  This November marks the 20th year since his passing.  I still miss him.

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