Book Reviews


Behind Every “Good Military Man” There Stands “A Great Woman”!, October 28, 2006
By W. H. McDonald Jr.

Did you ever wonder what life would be like for the admiral’s wife and family, or for all officers for that matter? “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is an insider’s look at that world and the author happens to be the admiral’s wife. Patricia Linder uses her wonderful writing skill and style much like a great novelist to paint in words and emotions that picture for us of what life is like for a naval officer’s spouse. Her memoirs run from the late 1940’s through the time her husband retires after having fought in three wars and 37 years of service.

Patricia lets us feel what she went through waiting for her husband while he was flying missions in Korea and over North Vietnam over a decade later. She allows us to follow her emotionally as she tries to raise her children alone and to be a good supportive military wife. It is a tale of great personal sacrifices and trials but one she took on like a good soldier without too many major complaints.

The author endures moves across country, the uprooting of her children from schools and having to face many things all alone without her husband’s help or support. She is a trooper for sure and she gets nothing but my fullest respect. The telling of her story unfolds like a love story even though she does not gush over and make that issue obvious in her story telling. It is in the background of what she writes and you can feel and sense it in their relationship.

This is a book that all family members could read. It is a well written accounting of her life as a supportive military spouse and after reading her story you will understand that was no small act to pull off. I recommend this book to all military families to read. There is much wisdom gleamed from decades of military experience and living.

I give this book the MWSA’s HIGHEST BOOK RATING – FIVE STARS! Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Row Row Row Your Boat 140336754X, August 20, 2003
By Tippi Lawrence (Santa Barbara, CA)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat is one of the most entertaining and insightful books I’ve read about life in the military. Ms. Linder has enjoyed and endured with great good humor. From personal experience, I can attest to her description of “The Life.” This book should be required reading for any beginning military wife, well perhaps any wife. She makes dancing around the world schlepping her enormous bag sound like the only way to travel. Her grasp of political situations is “spot on” as is her ability to handle the resultant unrest with iron irony. She has allowed me to remember all the good things and some of the less than good things about life in the military. I hope she will continue to write and enjoy life to the fullest. Thanks for the memories.
Tippi Lawrence
Programs Manager
University of California, Santa Barbara
Don’t miss it!, August 16, 2003
By Lee Thompson (Tallahassee, Florida USA) – See all my reviews

Rear Admiral James B. Linder’s brilliant career spanned thirty-six years. By his side, stood his wife Pat, who handled the demands and challenges of their Navy life with great aplomb. As the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the threat of a Chinese Communist invasion of Taipei unfolded, these events reshaped and changed the direction of their lives. Admiral Linder’s career moved forward at a steady pace. While he was stationed far away from home, Pat’s ever-present sense of humor, and her unique determination to make any situation an even better one, gave the Admiral permission to “carry on” without unnecessary concern for his family’s well being. Her honest and humorous highlights of their long Naval experience bring laughter and tears. Her efforts to “row, row, row,” whether in an attempt to reach her husband in spirit to support him in his endeavors,or to actually stand beside him to offer her support, were accomplished “without making waves,” a no-no for Navy wives. This was a small miracle in itself.
The author is an extraordinary woman who penned a beautiful blueprint of Navy life – possibly a “Navy Wife 101.” She lived it; she loved it. Pat’s wit and wisdom are evident on every page. It is a book to be enjoyed by all, young and old. It is a book that is not bogged down by unending, detailed descriptive passages, but one that is filled with honest accounts of a career and a marriage that endured happily for many years. Pat, please do not let this be your last book!
A WINNER FOR ALL, August 11, 2003
By Tippi Lawrence (Santa Barbara, CA)

I really enjoyed this book. Having been a military wife and now involved in education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, it felt both familiar and new. Ms. Linder has had an exciting life and knows how to bring us into it. Her Taiwan experiences are described with an accuracy that is spell binding, particularly if the reader has an interest in US/Chinese/Taiwanese politics and how it got to where it is now. I happened to have been there some years earlier in a more comfortable time. She knows exactly where to inject some humor to keep the narrative zipping along. The book snaps up the reader’s attention and never really lets it go. I am anxious to see her next book and heartily recommend Row, Row, Row Your Boat to any and all ages and persuasions. For a really good read, buy this book, you won’t regret it!
Tippi Lawrence
University of California Santa Barbara
Summer Sessions, Manager, Outreach Programs

Informative and funny, August 6, 2003
By C. D. Miller (Tampa, Florida)

What a delightful, informative, funny book! Sure, this is THE book for Navy (and all military) wives, I can just imagine, how they nod, laugh, and probably cry remembering. But it might be even more insightful for people like me who didn’t know the first thing about life “in the trenches”. After reading this book I’ll never look the same at military personnel – and especially their families.(Did I mention the book is funny?) Help other customers find the most helpful reviews


Reality!, August 6, 2003

When you begin reading ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, you soon think that it is the detailing of the life of a Navy wife and you may conclude, dull, dull, dull. Wrong, wrong, wrong! After the first few pages, you realize that you in fact, have a ‘page turner’ in hand.. Linder spent thirty plus years looking after her Naval officer husband and their two children. In addition, as her husband advanced in rank and assumed command positions, she essentially became the proxy mother of the wives of his connnands. This could involve everything from organizing wives’ clubs to offering advice or even to consoling a wife who had just been informed that her husband had been shot down in combat. The possibility of someone coming to inform her that her husband was lost was also on her mind on more than one occasion. In addition to these assumed responsibilities, she found time to teach school, do volunteer work for the Red Cross, work for a Congressman in Washington D.C., volunteer for work with the White House staff, etc., etc. And this doesn’t even begin to cover the routine things like moving every two years, getting children into new schools, taking care of things that normally would have fallen to her husband, had he not been at sea.
Pat Linder writes of a life filled with love, worry, challenge, with the satisfactiion of many accomplishments, and writes about it all with an inviting style. To say that she is an unusually capable person would be a gross understatement. Her book is informative, is enjoyable reading and, as stated earlier, is a page turner. Try it. You’ll like it! Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Telling it like it is., March 5, 2003
By Barbara Marriott (Tucson, AZ USA) – See all my reviews

In Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Pat Linder has written, with pride and passion, about her life as a Navy Wife. She captures, with sensitivity, the demands, the joys, and the heartaches in a military family’s life. Action packed, and filled with emotion, it is an enjoyable read for civilian and military citizens. Barbara Marriott, author and navy wife.


5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging memoir about Taiwan during a tumultuous time in, May 9, 2005
By Dawn Matheson “Award-Winning Children’s Author

“The view was wondrous. High mountains rose straight up before me, and as I watched, a flock of white birds…winged their way together across the face of the nearest mountain. It was a Chinese painting in motion.”

Not everything was idyllic during Pat Linder’s years in Taiwan. For this savvy, globe-hopping Admiral’s wife, her husband’s posting to Taiwan in 1977 proved not to be for the faint of heart. Earthquakes, political upheaval and the language barrier made for a bumpy ride indeed. There are undercurrents of trouble throughout, from the mysterious phone call advising her to unpack before she ever leaves the U.S., to the daunting number of armed guards around their Taiwan residence, to a rare eye disease that increasingly obscures her vision. And she is scathing in her comments about the cruel practice of foot-binding, designed to keep women from running away from their husbands.

Yet the memoir also contains moments of sheer hilarity, as when Pat makes her first attempt at using chopsticks at an official function, or when – desperate to get her air conditioning fixed – Pat speaks into one of the bugged ceiling fans in her home.

Readers will be amazed to learn how, in 1933, the most valuable pieces from a Beijing art museum were packed into crates and then carried on the backs of peasants for 16 years, lest Japanese or Communist Chinese forces find and destroy them.

When the U.S. government breaks off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1978, Pat’s sympathies are obviously with the Taiwanese people, whom she has come to admire and love.

Since the Admiral shared only unclassified information with his wife, readers will get little in-depth discussion of actual political events. But Pat writes with warmth, humor and passion that is quite engaging. Comment Comment | Permalink | Was this review helpful to you? Yes No (Report this)

5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive and historic memoir of a little know piece of history, October 28, 2006
By W. H. McDonald Jr.

The first chapter just jumps right into the dangers and emotions that author Patricia Linder found herself in during a little remembered part of our foreign policy. Her experiences living in Taiwan during a time when the United States was pulling its protection and official recognition to build relations with communist China, is one full of emotion. Her first person account of that period of history is very well told in her newest book “The Lady And The Tiger.”

Linder does a masterpiece of reporting from her own heart and soul. She sounds like someone who not only was there physically, but was fully aware of all the political and social issues that surrounded what was happening. She has an intelligent grasp of what happened and why. She writes with great passion and skill to weave the facts and emotions together to give the story lots of energy and movement. This book, at times, reads almost like an action novel. You will get hooked from page one and will have a hard time putting down the book.

She faces riots, mobs and angry people all with great courage. She has to deal with tapped phones, and armed guards that she cannot fully trust and even rooms in her own residence that are bugged with listening devices. The events and culture that she found in Taiwan are not what this wife of a Rear Admiral was expecting. This was a tour of duty that was going to really test her soul!

Great book to read! It has the MWSA’s TOP BOOK RATING – FIVE STARS!