Foreword Review — Mar / Apr 1999
Nominated for federal judgeship, John Winston has the legal experience and clean record of a perfect candidate, except a mysterious caller to his office has reminded him about Hill 1080. For Winston, the call brings back a flood of memories from the Korean War of forty years ago; including the one memory he swore he would never mention to anyone—and has not.
So begins this historical fiction about the experiences of Lieutenant John Winston, infantryman. Meador then takes the reader into the detailed past of this man: from his upbringing in a small Alabama town—with his dream to go to war as his father and grandfather had done—to his call-up and service in Korea; from his discharge and return home to his eventual career into the legal profession. As the story continues with the congressional inquiry moving ahead, John realizes that he must face his painful wartime memories in order to explain what happened on Hill 1080 to the mysterious caller. Either that, or he risks exposure and humiliation in the upcoming public hearing and, most likely, loss of the prestigious judgeship he desperately wants. Word finally does leak out to the press about what happened during the war—but he is also accused of threatening to kill one of his men in Korea and that he caused the threatened man to become permanently paralyzed. When John finally decides to face the accusations in public hearing and does not to withdraw his nomination, a surprise friendly witness appears on his behalf, but not before his accuser makes his appearance. Will John become a United States judge?
Meador’s own experiences are what brings to life all of the vivid details of a naively idealistic boyhood, the brutally ugly realism of the battlefield, the stark reality of military and civil law, and a bittersweet conclusion which cannot be told, but must instead be read to be truly appreciated. Above all other readers who will be interested in this novel—which include all those interested in a good story—are war veterans who know that some things are done during a war which cannot possibly be understood by those who have never been in the midst of battle.