Tom Glenn

Tom Glenn has worked as an undercover agent, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a caregiver for the dying, and, always, a writer. Many of his prize-winning stories came from the 13 years he shuttled between the U.S. and Vietnam on covert signals intelligence assignments before escaping under fire when Saigon fell. With a doctorate in public administration, he toured the country lecturing on leadership and was named dean of the Management Department at the National Cryptologic School. His writing is haunted by his five years of work with AIDS patients, two years of helping the homeless, and seven years of caring for the dying in the hospice system. These days, Tom is a reviewer for the Independent and the Internet Review of Books, where he specializes in books on war and Vietnam. His Vietnam-novel-in-stories, Friendly Casualties, is now available on Amazon. Apprentice House of Baltimore brought out his novels No-Accounts (in 2014) and The Trion Syndrome (in 2015). In 2017, the Naval Institute Press published his novel Last of the Annamese, set during the fall of Saigon. Adelaide Books of New York published his latest novel, Secretocracy, about the Trump administration, in March 2020, and his new short-story collection, Coming to Terms, in August 2020. You can access his blog here.


79 entries by Tom Glenn

Book Review

A Guardian Angel Recalls

By Willem Frederik Hermans; translated by David Colmer

The German invasion of Holland forms the background of a man’s struggle to find himself.

Book Review

The Fighting Bunch

By Chris DeRose

American GIs overthrow Tennessee autocrats in this inspiring, if overstuffed, real-life tale.

Book Review

A searing recollection of life on the battlefield.

Book Review

A detailed history of a truly savage war.

Book Review

The graphically told tale of a notorious 19th-century slayer.

Book Review

A Quiet Cadence

By Mark Treanor

A grisly, searing portrayal of how combat and its aftermath affect Marines in Vietnam.

Book Review

My Good Son: A Novel

By Yang Huang

A tailor in post-Tiananmen China strives to make a better life for his grown child.

Feature

Two Vietnamologists discuss the fall of South Vietnam.

Book Review

Untangling the legacy of a German grandfather and father who stood on opposite sides in WWII.

Book Review

The Mountains Sing

By Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

An historical novel that portrays Vietnamese strength in the face of adversity.

Book Review

False Light: A Novel

By Eric Dezenhall

Humorous suspense makes for a fun read, occasional stumbles aside.

Book Review

A Promised Land

By Barack Obama

Our 44th president tells his expansive, inspiring story.

Book Review

American GIs overthrow Tennessee autocrats in this inspiring, if overstuffed, real-life tale.

Book Review

Self-Portrait with Russian Piano: A Novel

By Wolf Wondratschek; translated by Marshall Yarbrough

This fragmented, gauzy story may leave readers scratching their heads.

Book Review

Children of the Ghetto

By Elias Khoury; translated by Humphrey Davies

A haunting, sometimes muddled tale of Palestinian defeat.

Book Review

A Quiet Cadence: A Novel

By Mark Treanor

A grisly, searing portrayal of how combat and its aftermath affect Marines in Vietnam.

Book Review

Don’t Shed Your Tears for Anyone Who Lives on These Streets: A Novel

By Patricio Pron; translated by Mara Faye Lethem

This ambitious, challenging work breaks with form and reflects on the psychology of fascism.

Book Review

The League of Wives

By Heath Hardage Lee

Meet the courageous spouses who beat the odds to help their POW partners.

Book Review

The Mountains Sing: A Novel

By Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

An historical novel that portrays Vietnamese strength in the face of adversity.

Book Review

Say Nothing

By Patrick Radden Keefe

A gruesome tale, graphically told.

Book Review

The Black Cathedral: A Novel

By Marcial Gala; translated by Anna Kushner

Death and destruction plague impoverished Cubans in this visceral, confounding tale.

Book Review

The threat of Russian malware is severe and ever present.

Book Review

The Devils Came in from the Country

By James Anderson O’Neal

In modern-day Liberia, it’s possible — though not easy — to go home again.

Book Review

Road to Disaster

By Brian VanDeMark

A monumental take on the war that scarred the psyche of the U.S.

Book Review

Children of the Ghetto: My Name Is Adam

By Elias Khoury; translated by Humphrey Davies

A haunting, sometimes muddled tale of Palestinian defeat.

Feature

The writer talks Vietnam with an interviewer who witnessed the fall of Saigon.

Book Review

Meet the courageous spouses who beat the odds to help their POW partners.

Book Review

A gruesome tale, graphically told.

Feature

To honor the author, who passed away Wednesday in New York, we rerun here an interview he did with the Independent in 2011.

Book Review

A monumental take on the war that scarred the psyche of the U.S.

Book Review

Raven Rock

By Garrett M. Graff

An encyclopedic assessment of how the feds would weather the apocalypse.

Book Review

The story of the only siblings to serve side-by-side in the controversial conflict.

Book Review

An encyclopedic assessment of how the feds would weather the apocalypse.

Book Review

An action-packed story that peers into the culture of Marine combat.

Book Review

Vietnam: A New History

By Christopher Goscha

In this compelling account of the country, culture (not war) takes priority.

Book Review

Looking back at combat: Was it worth it?

Book Review

Book Review

Chicago: A Novel

By Brian Doyle

An unorthodox fictional celebration of a great city

Book Review

Sweetgirl: A Novel

By Travis Mulhauser

A flawed but captivating tale of bravery and loss set in a fictional Michigan town.

Book Review

A well-researched, accessible account of America's foremost spymasters.

Feature

The author discusses his new book, Black Flags, which chronicles how ISIS came to be and America’s role in creating it.

Book Review

A journalistic, sometimes gruesome look at a nascent movement's reign of terror.

Book Review

Meticulous research and the author's studied neutrality lend authenticity to this saga of Soviet-era intel.

Book Review

An unflinching look at the true cost of battlefield bloodshed.

Feature

“My great hope for Dave Haggard is that he can provide a few hours of page-turning entertainment…”

Book Review

A radio reporter tangles with Middle-Eastern terrorists set out to blow up Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

Book Review

Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir

Robert Timberg

Disfigured during combat in Vietnam, Robert Timberg transformed his life by becoming a distinguished journalist.

Book Review

How the U.S. senator and former Marine persevered through sheer determination and hard work.

Book Review

Brothers Forever

By Tom Sileo and Col. Tom Manion

A Navy SEAL and a Marine who were Naval Academy roommates become brothers in death as well as in life when buried side by side in Arlington National Cemetery.

Feature

Two veterans and a war correspondent ponder the consequences of war.

Book Review

A soldier-diplomat bears witness to atrocities beyond imagination

Feature

A foreign correspondent and a veteran reminisce about the brotherhood and raw courage that characterized the 1968 battle of KheSanh.

Book Review

A commanding history of this longest battle of the war asks questions that time cannot answer.

Feature

“The Wages of Combat: No Exit” is Tom Glenn’s survey of books by and about veterans. Americans write about the combat that changed them forever.

Book Review

Home after their deployments, the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion struggle with their day-to-day lives in this moving and graphic follow-up to The Good Soldiers.

Feature

David Finkel’s newest book, Thank You for Your Service, is a no-holds-barred study of soldiers striving for normalcy after being pushed beyond the limit of human endurance in combat.

Feature

Tom Glenn, the author of Friendly Casualties, a book about Vietnam, asked two other writers who have published books about that war - Karl Marlantes and Grady Smith - to explain why they wrote.

Book Review

Two very different books on opera feature the career of a once-leading baritone and the life of Richard Wagner.

Feature

Tom Glenn speaks with the author of Blood Chit about his book and his experiences in Vietnam.

Book Review

Grady Smith

The horror of war and its traumatic aftermath are the transfixing center of the author’s first novel.

Feature

A continuation of a conversation between novelist John Locke and WIRoB reviewer Tom Glenn.

Feature

Tom Glenn discusses the differences between men and women with the author of Duels and Duets.

Feature

The author of Red Flags on the Vietnam War responds to our review by Tom Glenn.

Book Review

Umberto Eco

In a novel stuffed with characters and strange events from history, an accomplished forger struggles to discover who he really is.

Book Review

Lewis Sorley

A thoughtful biography examines the career of the man who did everything “by the book,” but never quite understood the biggest enemy he came up against.

Book Review

John L. Locke

A look at the biological evidence behind miscommunication between members of the opposite sex.

Feature

Tom Glenn speaks with the author of Verdi's Shakespeare.

Book Review

Garry Wills

From a prize-winning writer, a study of two geniuses who, together, have probably done more to shape modern theater than any other.

Book Review

Andrew Imbrie Dayton and Elahe Talieh Dayton

Three generations of an Iranian family struggle to survive and prosper in the midst of their country’s bloody history.

Feature

Tom Glenn interviews the author of Red Flags.

Book Review

Juris Jurjevics

For the reviewer, this masterful novel of Vietnam stirred up memories all too real.

Feature

More than 40 years after his service in Vietnam, Karl Marlantes describes coming to terms with the emotional scars of combat in What It Is Like to Go to War.

Book Review

Karl Marlantes

Coming to terms with the gruesome truth of combat, by a veteran of Vietnam.

Book Review

Robert Levine

Easing into the art of "drama by means of music."

Book Review

David Wise

A detailed look at some FBI operations designed to thwart Chinese espionage against the United States.

Book Review

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

The harrowing story of how 11 Marines, doing their jobs, oversaw the escape of thousands from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

Book Review

Ken Babbs

Antics of two Marine helicopter pilots fill this Vietnam novel written by a Marine pilot who served in Vietnam.

Book Review

Jonathan Rabb

Tom Glenn reviews this final book of Rabb's trilogy, set during the Spanish Civil War.

Book Review

By Douglas Waller

A story of bravado in early shadow warfare.