Rick Brooks  Author/Cartoonist


It's saddening when you figure out who the real enemy is. "Battle Lines Undrawn" is a coming of age tale from Rick Brooks telling of Brad Stevens, a young man who joins the army. During his training however, he begins to see the real threats to America are not the communist boogeyman. "Battle Lines Undrawn" is a quick and fun read, not to be missed.
                           Midwest Book Review

Follow an American teenager from his daily struggles at Jump School training to becoming a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, to the beginning of the African-American civil rights movement in Battle Lines Undrawn by Rick Brooks.

In 1956, Brad Stevens is an All-American kid, star of his high school's football and track programs. Instead of college, Brad and his friend, Billy, enlist in the army. After basic training, the pair transfers to Jump School where recruits are put through vigorous training designed to separate the men from the boys. Every day, many of Brad's co-recruits either quit or are kicked out of the unit. Brad must make five successful jumps to earn his wings as an elite Screaming Eagle of the 101st Airborne. The training is tough and the jumps dangerous, but Stevens will stop at nothing to become a paratrooper and to protect the American way of life against the communist threat. Soon Stevens begins to see that the biggest challenge in America isn't from a Soviet or Chinese invasion but from inside the nation's own borders.

Brad and his platoon are sent to Little Rock, Arkansas in September 1957. Once there, Airborne troops are deployed to protect nine African-American students from an angry anti-integration mob. The students were prevented from attending Little Rock Central High School by the Arkansas National Guard.

Author Rick Brooks has done a wonderful job detailing the severe challenges the brave soldiers of the airborne must face in order to earn the right to serve their country. Brooks has done his research, as the training and parachute passages feel authentic. His characters are well drawn and the dialogue realistic to the time period. His illustrations are exceptional and add nicely to the imagery of his narrative. With the election of President Obama, it is easy to forget that only few short decades ago a level of bigotry existed that would stop an African-American person from enjoying a movie with his white friends. This is a coming-of-age story of a naïve teenager and of an entire nation. This book is geared to young adult readers (10-18) and I believe it would be an asset to middle school history/social studies programs. Highly Recommended.
                       William Potter, Reader's Choice Book Reviews

A recent high school graduate, Brad Stevens enlists in the Army and volunteers to become a paratrooper. As an eventual member of the elite 101st Airborne Division, Brad is fired up and ready to protect his beloved country from its sworn foreign enemies; however, as he soon begins to realize, the safety and prosperity of the nation is far more threatened by the various domestic challenges that abound than by anything outside its borders...

Throughout the pages of Battles Lines Undrawn, author Rick Brooks takes the reader on an eye-opening journey through the annals of vivid, living history. As young Brad's coming-of-age sojourn progresses, he undergoes a dramatic epiphany that successfully peels back the remaining layers of his youthful naïveté and introduces him to the harsh realities of a complex, often confusing world. Likewise, the reader is sure to find him/herself equally enlightened, as his/her accepted understanding of our nation's history and culture is similarly challenged - hopefully for the better.

Brief, yet powerful, Battle Lines Undrawn is a stirring true-to-life account of the various physical, emotional, and spiritual hurdles we must clear on the road to full maturity. Highly recommended.

                        Karynda Lewis, Apex Reviews
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