Two Good Deals
by Ken and Shirley Deal
Trafford Publishing

"My smoking experience was between ages five and seven: setting a couple of good fires, almost being strangled, and becoming extremely sick saved many dollars and left me with pretty good lungs…"

Part memoir and part family record, this is a joint venture by Mr. and Mrs. Deal, a married couple who have been together since December 2, 1949. Born at the height of the Depression, Shirley Taylor and Virgile Kenneth Deal did not meet until they were stationed together at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland shortly after World War II. Mr. Deal pursues an Air Force career in accounting and finance, with a concentration in payroll. His numerous stations, from Okinawa to Ramstein, are recounted from the viewpoints of himself and his wife, who had to juggle children and housekeeping. He describes the gradual centralization and ultimate computerization of military payroll management, which he had great part in implementing.

The authors state that this book is “primarily written for family and extended family members,” which makes it difficult to categorize. The first three chapters by Shirley are mostly focused on family and home; the next 39 by Kenneth describe his career in the military and then real estate. The style is informal, very direct, and filled with the names of friends, relatives, and acquaintances. More than twenty pages of black-and-white photographs give faces to some of the names. Mr. Deal’s discussion of the politics involved in both the military and real estate are illuminating and transcend the narrow boundaries of a family record. Their moral compass, derived from religious faith, provides the narrative with an editorial and evaluative element that broadens the scope to a greater social purpose as well. Overall, an interesting look at the past ninety years of life in America.

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