Front Toward Enemy – A Review

If you read only one book on the military this year, Front Toward Enemy is the one to choose.

For the past two years that I have been involved with the Patriot Guard Riders’ escort of Gold Star families to Snowball Express, I have seen this young woman and her four young sons participating.  This year was different.  I wanted to contact her to let her know I had a photo of her and her sons with Santa from the American Airlines breakfast.  After a little research I found her name, and then a whole new door opened.

I discovered she had written a book which revealed the circumstances of her husband’s death, not at the hands of the enemy as so many others have, but at the hands of an American soldier.  I vaguely remembered the incident a few years back when two officers were killed by detonation of a claymore mine.  The last I had heard the case was underway and then… nothing.

Intrigued, I ordered the book to find out what happened.

A word to the wise.  Start this book in the morning on a day you are free.  A quick reader will finish it in a day or less.  Do Not start reading this book at night.  You will not be able to put it down and you will be on an emotional roller coaster throughout.

I never met Lt. Louis Allen, Barbara Allen’s husband, but I can assure you that he must have been one hell of a guy to have a woman so devoted to the pursuit of justice for him.  Ultimately that justice never came, but as you will read, it was through no lack of exertion on the part of his wife and Siobhan Esposito, the widow of Captain Phillip Esposito.

Fair warning.  This book is a gut wrenching look into the life of a Gold Star wife whose whole world has come crashing down around her only a few days after her husband arrived in Iraq.  Nothing can really prepare you for that.  Compounding that crisis is the fact that Lt. Allen was murdered by an American soldier, not a conventional enemy.

Barbara deftly chronicles her collapse into despair, the second tsunami of grief when she discovered the circumstances of Lou’s death, the genesis of her mission to seek justice for her husband, the drawn out circus of the military justice system, and the ultimate travesty of justice that ensued.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It will leave you heart broken and filled with a formidable resolve to see justice done.

Barbara has a blog here, and a website here.

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