REVIEWS

How We Built the Gambia Army
Trevor Stewart
Publisher: PageTurner Press Pages: 104 Price: (paperback) $6.99 ISBN: 9781948304542
Reviewed: December, 2018

Trevor Stewart left home at 15 to join the British army. He retired as a major some 39 years later. In this memoir, he recounts one of the highlights of his career: building an army from scratch.

How he got the assignment is a story itself. In 1985, the author was asked to assemble a modern pentathlon team for a British Army of the Rhine competition in Germany. After his squad placed first among 29 teams, a much-impressed general decided Stewart was just the man to oversee a daunting project in the West African nation of Gambia.

One of the last fragments of the British Empire, Gambia had become independent two decades before. As the Brits phased out their presence, officials decided a 1,500-man army was needed to protect citizens and keep peace. Stewart was tasked with making it happen.

He was given a small team, minimal equipment and even less financial support. With his ingenuity, hustle and deal-making skills, he found surplus construction supplies to help build facilities, refurbished outdated military equipment from the Falklands War, convinced those involved in diplomatic missions from other nations to contribute engineering skills and materials. He even found two crates of old bicycle parts that he turned into 18 like-new bikes.

The result, three years later, was a cohesive, disciplined and professional Gambian military. Just as important, perhaps, were his non-military contributions: providing medical care, hosting events that boosted the local economy, and bringing drinking water to three-quarters of Gambia’s villages.

Stewart’s story is interesting, concise and well-told, with just enough humor. “It is amazing how many memories come bouncing back when you put your mind to it—most of which are quite printable,” he writes. While a book detailing a three-year geopolitical project could easily slip into military jargon and government-speak, the author dodges that pitfall nicely.

Few people are likely familiar with Gambia and events there. Stewart provides an enlightening—and enjoyable—read in these pages.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Title: A Broken Man
Subtitle: The Rocky Shoals of Marriage, Remarriage and Divorce
Author: Trevor Stewart
Genre: Non-Fiction – Relationships

Appearance: 4
The appearance of a book can make a significant impact on the experience of a reader, whose enjoyment is often enhanced by an enticing cover, an intriguing table of contents, interesting chapter headings, and when possible, eye-catching illustrations.

Plot: 5
The characters of a book should be well defined with strengths and flaws, and while they do not have to be likable, the reader does have to be able to form a connection with them. The tone should be consistent, the theme should be clear, and the plot should be original or told from a unique perspective. For informative books –those without plot and characters–this rating refers primarily to your concept and how well you presented it.

Development: 5
Development refers to how effectively you told your story or discussed your topic. The dialogue should be realistic, the descriptions should be vivid, and the material should be concise and coherent. Organization is also a key factor, especially for informative books — those without plot and characters. The order in which you tell your story or explain your topic and how smoothly it flows can have a huge impact on the reader’s understanding and enjoyment of the material.

Formatting: 4
Formatting is the single most overlooked area by authors. The way in which you describe scenes, display dialogue, and shift point of view can make or break your story. In addition, excessive grammatical errors and typos can give your book an amateurish feel and even put off readers completely.

Marketability: 5
Marketability refers to how effectively you wrote your book for your target audience. Authors may include content that is above or below the understanding of their target reader, or include concepts, opinions or language that can accidentally confuse or alienate some readers. Although by its nature this rating is very subjective, a very low rating here and poor reviews may indicate an issue with your book in this area.

Overall Opinion: 5
The overall starred rating takes into account all these elements and describes the overall reading experience of your reviewer. This is the official Readers’ Favorite review rating for your book.

Review: Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers’ Favorite
A Broken Man: The Rocky Shoals of Marriage, Remarriage and Divorce by Trevor Stewart explores themes of marriage, breakup, healing and finding happiness after a failed relationship. This is a timely book that addresses relationship issues that affect many marriages and underlines the importance of discerning problems in relationships and how to face them. This inspiring book explores different themes like common relationship problems and how to fix them, handling domestic violence, how to deal with friends in a relationship, great communication tips, understanding signs that a relationship is headed downhill, what to do when separation becomes the only option, and a lot more.

The use of journaling carries across the message and emotions in a powerful way. It allows readers to penetrate the psyche of the author, explore the dynamism of the relationship, and feel the tension that develops between the author and his partner. Here is one passage that captures the dilemma of letting go, a moment of pain, in a sterling way: “I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that no matter what I can say or do, you want to divorce me. However, I hope you realize that I do need answers as to why you want to divorce me. When I have these answers, then I might be able to move on, but I still hope and pray that we can move on together.”

A Broken Man: The Rocky Shoals of Marriage, Remarriage and Divorce is a practical guide to succeeding in marriage. It also offers powerful insights on how to deal with divorce. I enjoyed the way the author writes his personal story. The voice is strong and captivating and the prose is good. Trevor Stewart’s book will appeal to so many people dealing with relationship issues; it is compassionate and filled with insight. There is a treasure in this book for everyone. Highly recommended.

Title: A Broken Man
Subtitle: The Rocky Shoals of Marriage, Remarriage and Divorce
Author: Trevor Stewart
Genre: Non-Fiction – Relationships

Appearance: 4
The appearance of a book can make a significant impact on the experience of a reader, whose enjoyment is often enhanced by an enticing cover, an intriguing table of contents, interesting chapter headings, and when possible, eye-catching illustrations.

Plot: 5
The characters of a book should be well defined with strengths and flaws, and while they do not have to be likable, the reader does have to be able to form a connection with them. The tone should be consistent, the theme should be clear, and the plot should be original or told from a unique perspective. For informative books –those without plot and characters–this rating refers primarily to your concept and how well you presented it.

Development: 5
Development refers to how effectively you told your story or discussed your topic. The dialogue should be realistic, the descriptions should be vivid, and the material should be concise and coherent. Organization is also a key factor, especially for informative books — those without plot and characters. The order in which you tell your story or explain your topic and how smoothly it flows can have a huge impact on the reader’s understanding and enjoyment of the material.

Formatting: 5
Formatting is the single most overlooked area by authors. The way in which you describe scenes, display dialogue, and shift point of view can make or break your story. In addition, excessive grammatical errors and typos can give your book an amateurish feel and even put off readers completely.

Marketability: 5
Marketability refers to how effectively you wrote your book for your target audience. Authors may include content that is above or below the understanding of their target reader, or include concepts, opinions or language that can accidentally confuse or alienate some readers. Although by its nature this rating is very subjective, a very low rating here and poor reviews may indicate an issue with your book in this area.

Overall Opinion: 5
The overall starred rating takes into account all these elements and describes the overall reading experience of your reviewer. This is the official Readers’ Favorite review rating for your book.

Review: Reviewed by Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
A Broken Man is a work of non fiction by author Trevor Stewart, self described as a focus on ‘The Rocky Shoals of Marriage, Remarriage and Divorce’. A relatively short but heartfelt volume, the book tells the tale of its author, Trevor, from a perspective of newfound hope in his new life. Once Trevor was deep within a loveless marriage with no idea how bad his situation was, believing that faith alone would help to sort things out. Once he was out and broken by the experience, as the title suggests, Trevor realized that faith alone was not enough, and he developed an active positive attitude towards life to help him through, which he now shares with others in his book.

Life is very hard sometimes, and I found my reading experience of A Broken Man was cathartic for me as well as the author. Many of us have been through times when we just had to hope that things would improve and we could stay with that person we fell in love with and rebuild with them, and this book encapsulates that painful hope perfectly. I think anyone going through a hard break-up, especially after a long marriage, is sure to take comfort in the fact that author Trevor Stewart has been there, and is brave enough to write about it. His path through may not work for everyone, but it will certainly show that there is a way through and you have to find it for yourself by being positive and proactive.

Title: So You Think You Know Malta?
Author: Trevor Stewart
Genre: Non-Fiction – Historical

Appearance: 5
The appearance of a book can make a significant impact on the experience of a reader, whose enjoyment is often enhanced by an enticing cover, an intriguing table of contents, interesting chapter headings, and when possible, eye-catching illustrations.

Plot: 5

The characters of a book should be well defined with strengths and flaws, and while they do not have to be likable, the reader does have to be able to form a connection with them. The tone should be consistent, the theme should be clear, and the plot should be original or told from a unique perspective. For informative books -those without plot and characters–this rating refers primarily to your concept and how well you presented it.

Development: 5
Development refers to how effectively you told your story or discussed your topic. The dialogue should be realistic, the descriptions should be vivid, and the material should be concise and coherent. Organization is also a key factor, especially for informative books — those without plot and characters. The order in which you tell your story or explain your topic and how smoothly it flows can have a huge impact on the reader’s understanding and enjoyment of the material.

Formatting: 4
Formatting is the single most overlooked area by authors. The way in which you describe scenes, display dialogue, and shift point of view can make or break your story. In addition, excessive grammatical errors and typos can give your book an amateurish feel and even put off readers completely.

Marketability: 5
Marketability refers to how effectively you wrote your book for your target audience. Authors may include content that is above or below the understanding of their target reader, or include concepts, opinions or language that can accidentally confuse or alienate some readers. Although by its nature this rating is very subjective, a very low rating here and poor reviews may indicate an issue with your book in this area.

Overall Opinion: 5
The overall starred rating takes into account all these elements and describes the overall reading experience of your reviewer. This is the official Readers’ Favorite review rating for your book.

Review: Reviewed by Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

So You Think You Know Malta? is a nonfiction history/memoir written by Trevor Stewart. Stewart is an author and retired military officer whose marriage to his Maltese wife led to their honeymoon in Malta. That time spent in Malta spurred his fascination with the country and its rich historical past. For those who are not familiar with the geographic location, Stewart provides maps and photographs of the island and its Mediterranean neighbors. He also discusses the convenience of its location for those living in the EU.

Stewart shares Malta’s history, starting with the first arrival of man in 5200 BC, and he discusses the shipwreck of St. Paul on the island and its effect on the islanders. Stewart discusses the French occupation and later establishment of Malta as a British Crown Colony, with an extended discussion of the effect of the British period on Maltese culture. Stewart’s book also gives the prospective tourist an eagle’s-eye view of the island with suggested places that highlight the rich culture and historical legacies that abound there. He shares his insights on coastal tours, boat trips and walking tours of the various forts and fortifications still surviving.

Trevor Stewart’s So You Think You Know Malta? is a deceptively slim volume that somehow manages to compress a full history of the island along with a competent travel guide and a biography of his wife. He does so in a well-written and appealing manner that kept me interested and engaged throughout my reading experience. I particularly appreciated the excellent photographs that appear throughout the book and found his wife Rosemarie’s story to be inspiring. And while I did have some knowledge of this fascinating island, I really didn’t know Malta, not by a long shot.

Having read Trevor Stewart’s excellent guide, I do know a lot more.

So You Think You Know Malta? is highly recommended.