This page was last updated on 20 January 2016.
Here are some reviews about Memories of Maggie from military
and Veteran's publications:
Military Writers Society of America--review
by Bill McDonald, Elk Grove, CA:
Truly an Angel – Great Bio on Martha Raye
Noonie Fortin is more than just an author—she is a gifted writer. She has
captured the very essence of one of America’s great unknown icons. When I say
“unknown” I mean only to the non-military world; because those of us veterans
who served in WW II, Korea or Vietnam knew her from her personal trips to battle
fields around the globe. In Noonie’s book, Memories of Maggie—Martha Raye: A
Legend Spanning Three Wars, she writes a moving tribute bio on someone I was
once on stage with in Phu Loi, South Vietnam (in the spring of 1967). I know
from my personal experience the warmth and care she gave and showed was genuine
and not for any publicity photos or media attention.
Much of Fortin’s book was used for a TV movie [A&E Biography--Martha Raye: In
Love and War] about Raye’s life. It is a book
that inspires and captures moments from a distant past when entertainers didn’t
protest wars and policy publicly but gave their time and energies to supporting
This was such a wonderful book to read that I have been asked to share my
personal copy with several dozen nurses and friends. (I would advice you to buy
your own copy and help the author!)
A book for all ages to read; it is entertaining and informative. When you put it
down you will understand much more about why so many of us veterans loved this
woman. The author does her memory proud as she presents a good view on the life
and times of Maggie.
A must read. Given the MWSA highest rating!
The Stars and Stripes, Washington, DC--review by William
West, Fort Myers, FL:
This volume records, in chronologically-ordered
anecdotes, how Raye accomplished this unique and monumental mission and left her
distinctive sensitivity with three "generations" of Veterans.
As a poem is
supposed to do, this book begins in delight as we follow Maggie's development as
an entertainer and ends in wonder, as we marvel at her self-sacrifice and commitment. It is worth reading.
Army-Air Force-Navy Times, Springfield, VA:
gravestone reads "civilian," but with the nickname "Colonel Maggie," one would
think Martha Raye was a soldier. She dedicated her life to serving her country
and the needs of her fellow man.
VIETNAM magazine, Leesburg, VA--review by Al Hemingway,
In Memories of Maggie, retired Army Reservist Noonie
Fortin has captured the essence of Martha Raye.
Saber, First Cavalry Division, Copperas Cove, TX--review
by Art Junot:
Noonie Fortin...has completed a labor of love in this book. It
makes interesting reading as it also traces the trials of the author and her
friends in the pursuit of appropriate recognition on a national scale for a real
Trooper, Colonel Maggie.
The VVA Veteran Washington, DC--review by Mark Leepson:
Noonie Fortin offers a heartfelt tribute to Martha
known for her unwavering loyalty to America's fighting men and women as she was
for her work on stage and screen.
Veterans' Voice, Lombard, IL--review by Meribeth
The description of how much warmth and caring could come from this
woman offers readers a book that begs to be held in your lap and read, like a
puppy who wants a few moments of your love....This is not a definitive buffet of
all she did. It is one big chunk of story and you have the time and the fork. Go
The NCO Journal, Fort Bliss, TX--review by Jim
This is an inspiring book about a remarkable woman whose heart was
bigger than her nickname of "Big Mouth."
The book has also received reviews from civilian publications. Here
are some of their comments:
The Silver Valley Voice, Silverton, ID--review by Belvina W
This remarkable book by Noonie Fortin details the incredible legend
of actress-comedienne-humanist Martha Raye.
Once the Medals for Maggie project, including the highest US honor, the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, had been accomplished, Martha's daughter Melodye
felt that all the letters from the Veterans who voiced their staunch love and
admiration for Colonel Maggie should be published in book form. This became
another task for Noonie Fortin, and one she graciously accepted. The result is
this book. It is a book that needs to be read. The letters, and Author Fortin's
masterful inclusion of bits of Martha's life, will give the reader an
appreciation of the tremendous importance of Martha's life's work which cannot
Needless to say, Noonie Fortin has done an outstanding job of amassing
and arranging the seven years of research and information contained in this
Fortin's articles have been published in numerous newspapers, journals,
Memories of Maggie, rated fourth among the ten best
sellers about military affairs, is classed as a collector's edition along with
such books as Colin Powell's
My American Journey, Scott O'Grady's
Return With Honor, Gen Perry Smith's
Spring Lake News, Spring Lake, NC--review by Tom
Martha Raye is chiseled in marble on a Veteran's headstone at Fort
Bragg's military cemetery and burned into the hearts of untold legions of
Veterans and other admirers. Her stories and theirs are entwined here with
plenty of photographs, making this a must have book.
The Post, Fayetteville, NC--review by Faye
This book is a biographical tribute to a woman whose life, when
examined, makes her seem almost incredible....This is a great reading
experience. It moves along easily...The outcome is a beautiful portrait of the
kind of person we all need in our lives. The lives she touched will never be the
same. She was a friend to the frightened and lonely, a mentor to the young, a
nurse to the infirm, but most of all, she was, and is, "Colonel Maggie."
Copperas Cove Leader-Press, Copperas Cove, TX--review by
Fortin has done a credible job in telling Raye's story from
the perspective of the soldiers and civilians who knew and loved her.
Amazon Books, Internet--review by Leon Fletcher: Rating 9 [out of
Fortin's book is written in a clear style, moves rapidly, is packed
with facts and fascinating stories about Martha Raye...A book you will long
Letter to the Editor, TN--Ronald Winkles, Major, USA Retired:
highly recommend this book....The author did a wonderful job at capturing Ms
Raye's front-line dedication to entertaining our military men and women as well
as providing them with nursing care.
Word Wrap, Wordweaving.com--C. Hope Clark, military brat:
pours her heart and soul into this compilation of the memories of Martha Raye,
the Veteran's heroine through three wars. Martha Raye, nicknamed Big Mouth for
her physical trait always upturned in a smile, is noted by civilians for her
theater, films, and commercials. However, Noonie shows us Martha (Maggie)
through the eyes, ears, and hearts of our servicemen and women.
Maggie replays her life chronologically from childhood to death in a 322-page
volume of touching recollections, reflections, and love for Colonel Maggie.
Maggie herself said "To be a clown is a gift," and she used the gift
God gave her to its max. She firmly believed in exercising her talents to their
breaking points, but rather than enjoy the glitter, glamour and fame she easily
obtained, she diverted to serving her country through casting her flair and
forte over the men and women doing duty in battlefields, bases and barracks
around the world. Being a Veteran, Noonie appreciated the energy this woman used
to uplift our dedicated military, but begrudged the lack of acknowledgement by
So Noonie began a two-fold effort - one
Memories of Maggie and the other being an effort to acquire the
Presidential Medal of Freedom for Martha Raye. She accomplished them both. This
book covers it all.
Noonie Fortin continues an effort to
spread the word about Martha Raye and distribute
Memories of Maggie across the
country. Intent on improving the continued lack of recognition for the female
Veteran as well as the impact of Maggie, Noonie speaks to groups wherever they
will listen, most of the time paying the bill out of her own pocket. the
admiration the author has for our military and its human donations is heartfelt
and deep, and the intensity can be sensed on every page.
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