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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Yanks in the Outback by Dave Ives is a fictional account, written in the tone and tenor of a non-fiction diary, of Sean Mitchell, a JDFN Officer and the Chief of Satellite Systems Engineering with the United States Air Force, stationed in Oceania. The book allows for a first hand view of the culture shock of an American - a Yank, as he is endearingly referred to - in 1990 being transplanted to Woomera, South Australia. Mitchell recalls, "The first time an Aussie called me a Yank, I became flustered. “I ain’t no Yank, I hate the Yankees! I’m a Red Sox fan!” The journal entries cover a wide range of experiences with a delicate balance between the seriousness of his role leading up to and during the First Gulf War, and levity in retelling some of his more amusing episodes.
Yanks in the Outback by Dave Ives was an excellent read. It's always a bit of a toss-up when a fictional diary comes my way as it's unusual to really find much by way of an arc. Ives has to be given credit for his ability to inject both an arc and subplots in a format that doesn't make this easy. Mitchell is also a thoroughly fleshed out and multi-layered character, made even more amiable by the inclusion of dialogue within the journal entries themselves. Conversations are recalled with great detail and the plight of the young Lieutenant caught between his own perceptive instinct and the strong casing and hierarchy surrounding him is wholly engrossing. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys military fiction and even travel biographies to spend a long weekend with Yanks in the Outback.