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Books, Writing, History, and the Ritchie Boys

In "Books, Writing, History and the Ritchie Boys" I share my thoughts on certain books, the process of writing, the experiences of an indie-publisher, short pieces on WWII and the Holocaust, highlights of places from Immigrant Soldier, and, occasionally, profiles of Ritchie Boys. Everything in this blog reflects my personal ideas and feelings–a memoir of sorts, it is my perspective and any errors or omissions are mine.

World War II Posters and the War Advertising Council

When I visited the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Florida, last October, I paused in the meeting room after my talk to enjoy their display of World War II posters.  They reminded me vividly of the passion and self-sacrifice the American people were expected to display at that time in our history.  They also started me thinking about the art and effort that went into producing these posters, as well as the radio, newspaper, and magazine ads that infused US citizens with patriotism during World War II.
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World War II slogan, Loose Lips Sink Ships

The novel Immigrant Soldier is interspersed with letters Herman writes to his mother.  These letters are based on actual correspondence treasured by our family. 
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The True Story of General Patton’s New Boots

 
My last blog explained the process of expanding and fictionalizing the true stories Herman told me. This imagining and expanding of Herman’s memories was great creative fun.  Far more difficult, but equally important, was culling redundant or irrelevant sections so the novel maintained a momentum to keep the reader engaged. 
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A Book Group Question about Immigrant Soldier

When I am speaking with book clubs who have read Immigrant Soldier, one of the questions I am most often asked is: “What parts are true and what bits are totally from the author’s imagination?”  Naturally in the limited time we usually have, and in the limited space of a blog post, I cannot go through the pages of the novel from beginning to end.  However, to give a sense of when and why I infused fiction into what is essentially a true story, I offer an explanation similar to the one that follows.

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Camp Young, Desert Training Center, World War II

On Sunday, June 19th, I celebrated Father’s Day as part of a panel of authors of military literature, an event sponsored by the Friends of the San Juan Capistrano Library. The other panel member was Frank McAdams, who wrote the Pulitzer nominated book, Vietnam Roughrider: A Convoy Commander’s Memoir.

Before the panel started, the moderator, Pat Forster, also a Vietnam veteran and a contributor to a Vietnam military history book by Keith Nolan, asked me a simple question – “Where was Camp Young?”

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