Battle for Veterans’ Benefits by K. David Monahan and Alex Connolly

Battle for Veterans’ Benefits; Taking on the VA (Xlibris, 148 pp., $22.99, hardcover; $15.99, paper) by K. David Monahan and Alex Connolly is organized into four parts, each of which is divided into many short, clearly written sections with titles such as “Who’s Entitled to VA Benefits,” “What you need to File a VA Claim,” and “Who is Eligible for Death Pension.”

The authors are both Air Force veterans who receive disability compensation and who have personal experience with everything they write about. They also worked as veterans service reps at the VA adjudicating claims.

There is no index, so finding some subjects such as “widows” isn’t easy. Scanning the detailed table of contents helps, but it doesn’t contain the word “widows.” I did find the phrase “Agent Orange” in the table of contents, and because I have done a lot of research on that subject, I read that section with particular care.

The authors do a good job of delineating what veterans should do to file a claim for a disease they have that is presumptively related to AO. That section is detailed, extensive, and useful.

There is a lot of other useful information in this book, and mostly it is communicated in accessible language. The nature of the book dictates that some government jargon must be used, but there is no way around that. There are a lot of muddy little black and white photos in the book, which just seem to take up valuable space.

I recommend the book for those who wish to do battle with the VA for benefits they think they are due. For more info, go to the book’s website,

—David Willson

The Military Advantage by Terry Howell

The 2011 edition of The Military Advantage: The Guide to Military and Veterans Benefits (Naval Institute Press, 400 pp., $26.95, paper) has recently been published. This annual guidebook contains a ton of detailed information on benefits available to active-duty military personnel and to veterans.

The book was put together by Terry Howell, a retired Coast Guard chief petty officer who is the managing editor for benefits at Among other things, the book contains in-depth info on VA home loans, life insurance, veteran disability pay, veterans health care, burial benefits, scholarships, educational benefits, home loan guarantees, and military discounts.

—Marc Leepson