Korea Vet Wins Military Literature Prize

“The Military Writers Society of America has awarded its gold medal for historical fiction to Hawaii author Richard McMahon for his novel, The Dark Side of Glory. Presented during banquet ceremonies at the society’s annual writers conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 27, the award recognizes excellent writing which furthers its mission of ‘Preserving military history, one story at a time.’ In The Dark Side of Glory, which is set during the Korean War, the biographer of a highly respected Army general learns that there is an abandoned illegitimate daughter. As he delves deeper, he discovers an intriguing mystery and a tragic love, in a world of surprises where nothing is as it seems. The book is available in both eBook and print format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.”

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Richard McMahon’s The Dark Side of Glory’

So goes the recent press release on the success of one of Star-Advertiser‘s own Richard McMahon. He actually honed his literary skills as a writer for the Star-Bulletin in past years and now capitalizes on that experience, as well as his 33 years of U.S. Army experience and the associated professional writing skills of an Army colonel with that much longevity.

But just for good measure, when McMahon was settled in Hawaii, he used his GI Bill bennies to take a UH course in creative writing, which he says he enjoyed, and which helped a great deal.

On McMahon’s Amazon home page, he enjoys mostly five-star reviews, with frequent comments such as “a truly spellbinding novel,” “startling twist to a well-written tale,” “captivating, seduces the reader” and the one that says it best, “Don’t start this book with a cup of hot coffee because the next time you reach for it, it will be cold.”

McMahon was drafted into the Army in 1946, and while fighting in Korea he received a battlefield commission.

But he is quick to point out modestly that it wasn’t for bravery (as many such commissions are) but for officer vacancies ahead of him that simply needed to be filled.

He says his book was a longtime effort.

He once submitted his manuscript for comment to a fellow writer who had been awarded the Medal of Honor. He got back two full pages of critique, which he says was summed up in three words: “This book stinks!”

But as a longtime effort, he was continually motivated to refine and polish the work to its award-winning level.

He never gave up on himself to write his own story — a story described by some as a potential miniseries on the level of Herman Wouk’s two-part series Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

It occurs to me that with all the retired military in Hawaii, there must be hundreds, maybe thousands of stories out there just waiting to be shared and enjoyed.

Let’s let Richard McMahon’s success story be our motivation to contribute our individual stories that may otherwise just lay fallow — never told, never heard.

As I say frequently as a speaker: “There are heroes among us. Every day there is inspiration at our elbows, if we just knew each other’s story.”

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