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.


85 entries by Tom Glenn

Book Review

The Yank: The True Story of a Former US Marine in the Irish Republican Army

An American serviceman dives headlong into the Troubles.

Book Review

The Kingdom of Sand: A Novel

By Andrew Holleran

The Kingdom of Sand: A Novel

Gay life in Florida is chronicled to tedious effect.

Book Review

Parker Hitt: The Father of American Military Cryptology

The life of a remarkable man told in detail.

Book Review

The Marauders: Standing Up to Vigilantes in the American Borderlands

Meet the extralegal actors harassing immigrants and the brave folks pushing back.

Book Review

Feature

An Interview with Elizabeth Bruce

The novelist talks Texas, King Midas, and the appeal of quiet characters.

Book Review

A Guardian Angel Recalls

By Willem Frederik Hermans; translated by David Colmer

A Guardian Angel Recalls

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

Book Review

The Fighting Bunch

By Chris DeRose

The Fighting Bunch

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

Book Review

We March at Midnight: A War Memoir

A searing recollection of life on the battlefield.

Book Review

Conquering Jerusalem: The AD 66-73 Roman Campaign to Crush the Jewish Revolt

A detailed history of a truly savage war.

Book Review

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer

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

Book Review

A Quiet Cadence

By Mark Treanor

A Quiet Cadence

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

Book Review

My Good Son: A Novel

By Yang Huang

My Good Son: A Novel

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

Feature

An Interview with George J. Veith

Two Vietnamologists discuss the fall of South Vietnam.

Book Review

Endpapers: A Family Story of Books, War, Escape, and Home

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

The Mountains Sing

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

Book Review

False Light: A Novel

By Eric Dezenhall

False Light: A Novel

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

Book Review

A Promised Land

By Barack Obama

A Promised Land

Our 44th president tells his expansive, inspiring story.

Book Review

The Fighting Bunch: The Battle of Athens and How World War II Veterans Won the Only Successful Armed Rebellion Since the Revolution

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

Self-Portrait with Russian Piano: A Novel

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

Book Review

Children of the Ghetto

By Elias Khoury; translated by Humphrey Davies

Children of the Ghetto

A haunting, sometimes muddled tale of Palestinian defeat.

Book Review

A Quiet Cadence: A Novel

By Mark Treanor

A Quiet Cadence: A Novel

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

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

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

Book Review

The League of Wives

By Heath Hardage Lee

The League of Wives

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

The Mountains Sing: A Novel

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

Book Review

Say Nothing

By Patrick Radden Keefe

Say Nothing

A gruesome tale, graphically told.

Book Review

The Black Cathedral: A Novel

By Marcial Gala; translated by Anna Kushner

The Black Cathedral: A Novel

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

Book Review

Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers

The threat of Russian malware is severe and ever present.

Book Review

The Devils Came in from the Country

By James Anderson O’Neal

The Devils Came in from the Country

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

Book Review

Road to Disaster

By Brian VanDeMark

Road to Disaster

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

Children of the Ghetto: My Name Is Adam

A haunting, sometimes muddled tale of Palestinian defeat.

Feature

An Interview with Thurston Clarke

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

Book Review

The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home

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

Book Review

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

A gruesome tale, graphically told.

Feature

An Interview with Juris Jurjevics

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

Road to Disaster: A New History of America’s Descent into Vietnam

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

Book Review

Raven Rock

By Garrett M. Graff

Raven Rock

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

Book Review

Our Year of War: Two Brothers, Vietnam, and a Nation Divided

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

Book Review

Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself — While the Rest of Us Die

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

Book Review

Arizona Moon: A Novel of Vietnam

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

Book Review

Vietnam: A New History

By Christopher Goscha

Vietnam: A New History

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

Book Review

Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story

Looking back at combat: Was it worth it?

Book Review

Book Review

Chicago: A Novel

By Brian Doyle

Chicago: A Novel

An unorthodox fictional celebration of a great city

Book Review

Sweetgirl: A Novel

By Travis Mulhauser

Sweetgirl: A Novel

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

Book Review

Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan

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

Feature

An Interview with Joby Warrick

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

Book Review

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

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

Book Review

The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

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

Book Review

Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran

An unflinching look at the true cost of battlefield bloodshed.

Feature

An Interview with Larry Matthews

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

Book Review

Detonator: A Dave Haggard Thriller

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

By Robert Timberg

Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir

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

Book Review

I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir

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

Brothers Forever

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

A Memorial Day Roundtable

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

Book Review

Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years

A soldier-diplomat bears witness to atrocities beyond imagination.

Feature

Interview with Gregg Jones

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

Book Review

Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam

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

Feature

The Wages of Combat: No Exit

“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

Thank You for Your Service

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

Interview with David Finkel

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

Roundtable: Authors Talk about Writing on War

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 Reviews of Opera Books

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

Feature

Author Q&A: Grady Smith

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

Book Review

Grady Smith

Blood Chit

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

Feature

More Talk with John Locke

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

Feature

Tom Glenn Q&A’s with John L. Locke

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

Feature

Juris Jurjevics responds to Tom Glenn

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

Book Review

Umberto Eco

The Prague Cemetery

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

Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam

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

Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Differently

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

Feature

Author Q&A: Garry Wills

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

Book Review

Garry Wills

Verdi’s Shakespeare: Men of the Theater

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

The House That War Minister Built

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

Feature

Author Q&A: Juris Jurjevics

Tom Glenn interviews the author of Red Flags.

Book Review

Juris Jurjevics

Red Flags

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

Feature

Author Q&A: Karl Marlantes

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

What It Is Like To Go To War

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

Book Review

Robert Levine

Weep Shudder Die: A Guide to Loving Opera

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

Book Review

David Wise

Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War with China

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

Book Review

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Last Men Out: The True Story of America’s Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam

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

Who Shot The Water Buffalo?

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

Book Review

Jonathan Rabb

The Second Son

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

Book Review

By Douglas Waller

Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage

A story of bravado in early shadow warfare.