Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Third World War - The Proud Cold Warrior's First Book Review

I came across the book, The Third World War August 1985, in a church thrift store. Being a Cold War veteran who read a lot, I was familiar that the book existed, so I purchased it as background information to help me produce this blog. I was, and still am to a degree, lacking in knowledge of what the military men and women stationed in Europe during the Cold War endured. If you served in Europe during the Cold War and would like to be a guest poster and tell your story or anecdotes, email me at

If you do not know this book and the follow up novel and comic books, please read on.

As I was reading The Third World War August 1985, book reviews to assist me in developing a review for this blog, I learned that the book spawned another novel, Team Yankee, and a comic book series that eventually became a graphic novel.

An idea came to me - read the whole series and then blog on it!

The quest started at Amazon of course. Team Yankee the novel, and Team Yankee the graphic novel were easy to find and purchase. A good start, now for the comic books.

I found one issue, #6 of the comic book series, in a bargain bin at the comic book store at the mall. For the others, I visited every comic book store in the area. No luck. Most never heard of Team Yankee. Ok, back to online! Why am I wasting gas? But, the nerd in me urged me to keep going to comic book stores. I ended up buying other comic books also.

I found the other 5 comic book issues in quick succession, ordered them, and they arrived. Now to reading them all.


Fascinating stuff! As a Navy veteran who's Cold War time was aboard combat vessels that never went to Europe or Asia, I have no personal direct experience with confronting the Soviets face-to-face, so to say. I was an east coast sailor. We always turned right or left after leaving port. The North Atlantic or Caribbean. But, those days are stories for future post.

Except for one, a funny story while in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Soviet Navy never did come near the ships I served on where I could see individuals up close. I am quite sure the ships were observed through a Soviet sub's periscope and from above with their patrol aircraft. My only up close personal experience with Soviet sailors was from a few hundred yards away on the Delaware river in Pennsylvania. Yes, I did say Pennsylvania. There were Soviets that visited Philadelphia to receive grain shipments during the 1970s. As their cargo ship passed by the USS Farragut in dry-dock, the Soviet sailors would be topside trying to get as many photographs as possible. On our side, we would hold up centerfolds from men's magazines. The Soviets would be using binoculars and long lenses on their cameras to see the naked women on the pages. We would be hooting and hollering and they were hooting and hollering back. I realized then, they were sailors like us, our enemy to be sure, but horny sailors just like us.

OK, I got sidetracked, back to the review.

I really enjoyed reading the whole series. The Third World War August 1985 was a very interesting, educational exercise, it is fiction, but fiction based on existing doctrine and war plans of the time. The Team Yankee novel was exciting, and the comic book series based on the novel is done very well. The graphic novel is a repeat of the comic book series in a single volume, if you don't want to hunt down the individual comic books like I did, buy the graphic novel. It is still available online.

The Third World War August 1985 reads like a major blockbuster movie script; plenty of action, plenty of background information, all from the 50 thousand foot level of a commander looking at the entire theater of war. Sort of a Longest Day for the Cold War.

The Team Yankee novel takes that environment established in The Third World War August 1985 and brings it down to ground level. The ground level of a tank platoon commander and his team fighting the Soviets during the short but bloody war between East and West. Now we are in Tom Clancy territory writing wise, with strong character development and a down to earth story line that is not closely presented in the first book, but related in that you are now seeing the same war from the individual troopers eyes. To some readers it may be formulaic with the characters in that there is an experienced company commander, eager lieutenant, rookie tanker that makes mistakes, the Viet Nam vet Sargent that advises the commander, and bumbling officers that cost lives. Well, it may be formulaic but it is reality. We had all those in the military. Especially in the 70s and 80s. That part is real.  It is a very good read.

Is the series accurate in its description of what it was like to be a soldier in Germany in the 80s? I don't know for sure, I'll rely on my readers to let me know. I was floating around the world on a Destroyer in those years and would not know what it was like on the ground in Germany.

The comic book/graphic novel series holds true to the story line in the Team Yankee novel providing visual interpretations of the written words on the pages. The graphics are done in the 1980s format and was published in full color and detail. Fans of reading war comic books will not be disappointed. As I stated earlier above, if you do not collect comic books, I recommend that you order the graphic novel for it has every page of the individual issues included.

I obtained my comic book copies from They are excellent for collectors with a huge inventory and the ability to request copies that are not in stock. They will inform you when they receive it and you can purchase it online. Easy.

The Team Yankee novel and graphic novel came from

Click on the highlighted links to access the websites.

Of course, the novels may be in your local library but I do not think the comic books will be.

Thank you to the authors, publishers, and artist for allowing me to post the images on their books on this page. I enjoyed your work.

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Where did you serve? Military or Civilian? Stateside or Overseas. Fulda Gap? Berlin? NATO? CIA? State Department? The Dew Line? On a Missile Battery? Down in a Silo? At Sea? Under the Sea? In the Air? According to the VA over 26 million Vets are still alive. I'd bet that most served in the 1945-1991 time frame and I'd like to share your story on this blog. As long as it isn't still classified, email me with your story and I will post it here.