below the zoneIn “Below the Zone”, General Tony McPeak’s second book in a three volume autobiographical series, he describes his ascent from a Major in the Pentagon to Air Force of Staff, the highest ranked uniformed officer in that service; and his story of that ascent is rich with personal anecdotes, philosophy on leadership, geopolitical observations, and insightful descriptions about political wrangling that often prevailed within the Air Force and throughout the Department of Defense in general. Without question, it is a fascinating and well written story.

General McPeak admits that his rise to the top was not simple or easy.  For example, he was promoted “below the zone”, meaning ahead of his contemporaries, twice during a three-year period while working at the Middle East desk in the Pentagon—once from Major to Lieutenant Colonel, and a year or so later to full Colonel. Then, his career began to fade, as he endured a series of non-career enhancing assignments in Europe, particularly on NATO staffs. Eventually, his career regained its momentum, and in the end, he seemed destined to retire as a Four-Star General when his current tour as Pacific Air Force commander ended. But all that changed, when the current Chief of Staff was removed from office and in a matter of a week, General McPeak was summoned to Washington to become the new Chief of Staff.

“Below the Zone” is the kind of book that should be read slowly in order to savor all the nuances and interesting details contained therein. It is also a book that should be read carefully by all aspiring young

military officers, as well as historians and authors. I can’t wait to read the third volume of this series.

“Below the Zone” is published by Lost Wingman Press; First edition (November 5, 2013) and can be purchased worldwide  online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Ron Standerfer is a novelist, freelance writer, book reviewer, and  book publisher whose articles have appeared in numerous news publications including online editions of the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and the Honolulu Star Advertiser. He is a member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance (ITWPA), American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI). and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IWBPA). He is a retired Air Force fighter pilot who flew 237 combat tours in Vietnam War. His novel, The Eagles Last Flight chronicles the life of an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War and Vietnam years. He is also the founder and President of The Pelican Communications Group, an independent book publisher specializing in new and relatively unknown authors.

Be Sociable, Share!