I loved Listening to Ghosts by Bob Stockton. But hereās the thing. Iām not quite sure why. I hope I can pinpoint some of the reasons why I like it by saying a little about what I usually read. In truth that would be just about everything. My mom was a librarian and I practically grew up in her library. I read everything, but there is a decided bias towards action adventure and science fiction. Listening to Ghosts is definitely not science fiction or action adventure. It is a memoir about a family that is extraordinarily ordinary. I think the major attraction of Listening to Ghosts must be the writing. The people described are ordinary and commonly found. I know many people like them, even though Iām from a different part of America. But the only thing ordinary people need in order to be extraordinary and let their true character shine is good writing. There is plenty of that in Listening to Ghosts.
Ray Simmons, Readers Favorite.com
In a poignant and interesting memoir by author Bob Stockton, Listening to Ghosts is a book that will keep readers engrossed from the very first pages all the way through until the very end. Recounting the author's life from his upbringing in a Northeastern working-class neighborhood to the time he served with the US Navy, the story of Bob's life is described in precise, authentic, and fascinating detail. Not always most politically correct, but certainly honestly written and full of truth, Listening to Ghosts will make readers smile and chuckle as well as experience heartfelt feelings of concern throughout. Pulled from what is likely the actual diaries kept by the author as a Navy man, the work smacks of authenticity, and readers will feel as if they are with Bob on his many adventures through life.
Tracy A. Fischer, Readers Favorite.com
Listening to Ghosts, while not a light read, is a very interesting read. The recollections and stories presented within the work are written in an easy, friendly style that makes you feel as if youāre sitting at a table swapping tales with someone. A sense of self deprecating humor is often present as the author shares moments that may not always have been 100% flattering, but do show a life that has been very much lived. In the book, the author traces his beginnings from an āadventurousā childhood to his experiences and personal growth on and off base while enlisted in the US Navy. There are some very memorable moments recounted for us, some humorous, some poignant, and some nerve wracking. Perhaps itās a sign that I spent too much of my life working with young children, but the episode involving a submarine being ādecoratedā by a whale leaves me wondering what kind of ribbing her crew might have received back in port at Key West over the incident.
5 Stars. Marsinah, Goodreads.com
Jack Kregas (9/2020): Five Stars.
Heartfelt stories from a time of war and peace.
āā¦ā¦ Most of Stocktonās stories are humorous, some with a little more bite than others. Some of the stories are, well, almost unbelievable. And all of the stories are populated with memorable characters, filled with fascinating detail and vivid word pictures. My favorite line in the whole book is, āMaxās āmoral fiberā was thinner than dental floss.ā In many stories, the author draws the reader in and leads him along, lulling him into a pleasant state only to surprise him by delivering an abrupt sucker-punch ending to the vignetteā¦ā¦
ā¦..Stockton has an engaging and folksy storytelling quality that is endearingā¦
Military Writers Society of America: Betsy Beard, reviewer.
How many times have you heard someone say,
If I'd only asked Grandpa--Uncle Joe, mother--about that. Now I don't suppose we'll ever know where, how, who, when such-and-such happened.
That problem is resolved in Fighting Bob when the narrator--with the help of some pretty overwhelming pain killers--meets up with his great-great-great grandfather and follows
adventures as a lad in the War of 1812 to the conquest of the California Territory in the 1840s. Over those forty-some years Robert Stockton carried Nelson's strategy of "creative disobedience
to the extreme and, as he wryly notes,
it is a two-edged sword.
This is a fascinating little book containing an enormous amount of information presented in dialogue that makes it easy and fun to follow. What with Barbary Pirates and duels and "political skullduggery" and steam warships (with single screw type propellers, no less) and an incredible cast of famous (and infamous) contemporaries, we have a story set in the same seas as the Patrick O'Brien books, the same annoyingly duplicitous Washington as today, and a West as wild as Hollywood ever envisioned.
5 Stars. M.K.Turner, Book Reviews.com
Bookviral.com: (British on line bookstore and review service)
Award: Best Military Warfare
Award: Best Military Fiction
āJacksonville author Bob Stockton fell back on his extensive career in the Navy to publish āVolunteer: A Vietnam War Odyssey.ā A compilation of his three previously published (and successful) novellas, the story follows a Navy sailor through his deployments during the Vietnam War. It is a work of fiction, but it is based on historical accounts as well as the author's own experience.
The book has action, humor, and plenty of "liberty incidents" to make any vet reminisce fondly. I particularly liked the way the main character was very unassuming; he did some very important work, but to him he was just doing his job for his country, a sentiment to which many veterans can relate. It is an easy read that will spark many different memories for the intended audience. Vietnam veterans, especially those from the Navy, will enjoy this book, as will any "tin can" sailor of the last 50 years or so.
The Florida Times-Union USA Today Network.Book review: Vietnam War tales, fictional but founded on fact