The Rising Tide by Jeff Shaara

Summary of Book:

The Rising Tide is military historical fiction and the first novel of a continuing series by Jeff Shaara based on certain theaters of World War II. It covers the North African Campaign from its position in late May to Rommel’s defeat. It also covers Operation Husky in Italy.
The main characters are two men from history, Erwin Rommel and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and two fictional young soldiers, Jack Logan and Sergeant Jesse Adams. Jack Logan was a tank gunner who was eventually taken as a prisoner of war by the Axis but then freed by Allied forces. Sergeant Jesse Adams was a paratrooper with the 505 PIR of the 82nd Airborne. He is selected by Colonel Jim Gavin when Gavin is promoted to Brigadier General to go with Gavin to go to England/Scotland to lead in the preparations for Operation Overlord (the D-day invasion).
This excellent book tells a well-known story in a new way. Jeff Shaara composes a very interest account of the battles in Sicily, Italy, and France forward from both an infantryman’s view and that of the leaders. 
My edition of the book is 576 pages long book. The book started slow. It went through the war planning and diplomatic issues showing the interactions of the military personnel from the many countries who make up the allies.

North Africa and Sicily

The action in North Africa showed the difficulties of the soldiers dealing with the weather, inexperienced leadership, and tanks that fired shells that simply bounced off the German tanks. 
As the reader, you get to jump into Sicily with the paratroopers. Jeff Shaara brings the reader into the battle. You experience many tense moments when things go wrong. The resourcefulness of the men in the field and how they learn to work together shines through in this part of the book. 


Operation Husky with the battle for Italy receives minimal coverage. This section felt rushed through and is adjunct to the rest of the book. 
I found the book an interesting read. It brought the events of the North African, and Mediterranean Campaign to life in a good and different way.


With God, Anything is Possible

Anything is Possible:

Learning to deal with a chronic illness includes accepting that with God anything is possible.

When faced with a chronic disease you may feel surviving day to day is impossible to do over the course of the struggle.

The Bible teaches that with God, anything is possible.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Luke 18:27 (KJV), “And he said, ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.’”

What the Verse Means:

What is impossible from man’s point of view is possible with God.

Personalized Prayer Using Today’s Scripture:

• I praise God that He is a God of possibilities.
• I praise God that while beating chronic illnesses like Melanoma cancer and neuroendocrine carcinoid may be impossible for man, it is possible to God.
• God is Jehovah Rapha, that is the God that heals.

Photo Source: Pixaby

This is an excerpt from: “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill.”

Available from:
Amazon Print
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble


Four Stars of Valor: The Combat History of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II

505th PIR

Phil Nordyke’s “Four Stars of Valor: The Combat History of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) in World War II” is excellent. It is a must-read for any student of World War II.

Mr. Nordyke does a great job as he takes us with the 505th PIR from its beginnings and training in the United States, through its deployment to North Africa, and through its campaigns in Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland, the Bulge, and Germany before returning home.

Record Four Combat Jumps

The book takes its title from the 505 PIR’s record four combat jumps in Sicily, Salerno/Naples, Ste Mere Eglise/Normandy, and Nijmegen/Holland. Stars representing participation in combat jumps had been worn unofficially on parachute wings during and after World War II. FYI – this practice did not gain official sanction until after the 1983 invasion of Grenada, Operation Urgent Fury.

Sicily and The Secrets of Ultra

I found it a book that that demanded I read every word on every page. Be prepared for some very graphic descriptions of the training and combat. You’ll feel the heat of North Africa. I was disappointed as I read the Hermann Goring Fallschrim Panzer and 15th Panzer Grenadier Divisions were on Sicily, that General Bradley knew it, and because of secrecy of Ultra they did not pass this information on to the attacking forces! “This was a cruel deception of our own forces, but necessary in order to protect the secrets of Ultra.”

Excellent Job of Using Primary Sources

Mr. Nordyke does an excellent job of using primary sources. At first, I was a little confused when I encountered an incident that was described from multiple people’s points of view, but quickly saw the value in seeing the way more than one person viewed/remembered an incident. It helped paint a more complete picture. Pages 300 – 301 and the actions of Private Camille E. Gagne’s response to the killing of First Lieutenant John Dodd is one example. The coverage giving to the 505th’s role in Nijmegen Holland is very detailed and had me feeling I was there.

The Battle of the Bulge

The 505th PIR’s involvement didn’t stop after its fourth jump into Nijmegen/Holland. They played a key role being deployed by truck into Belgium’s Ardennes Forest as the 82 Airborne Divisions helped stop Hitler’s in The Battle of the Bulge in freezing December 1944 and January 1945.

The book has exception maps and an amazing index. This book should be required reading for active duty members wearing jump wings. It is a must addition to any military historian’s library and would be an excellent addition to all university and community libraries.

Starting High School

Grace Slick today at age 78
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967


Starting High School

In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long haired hippies, peace signs, and doves.
In Vietnam, the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.

Written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967

The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.

Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014. Aren’t parents great about keeping things and then later in life returning them?

I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. Samuel Clemens High School was two miles outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Impressing my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem. I failed to follow the rules. She called me a “beatnik hippy poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in, complied with her orders and wrote five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment. I wrote about hitchhiking to the west coast.



Learning to deal with a chronic illness includes remembering all that God does for you.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Psalm 103:2-5 (KJV), “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

What the Verse Means:

The benefits of confessing Christ as Savior are more than salvation and having heaven as your final home. It includes remembering all that God does for you.

The rewards include forgiving your iniquities, healing your diseases, redeeming your life from destruction, crowning you with His loving kindness and mercies, satisfying your mouth with good things and renewing our youth like the eagle.

Personalized Prayer Using Today’s Scripture:

  • Father God, I bless the Lord, O my soul,
  • Lord Jesus, help me to forget not all your benefits:
  • Holy Spirit, thank for filling and guiding my life.
  • God Almighty, thank you for forgiving all my iniquities,
I know it is you who heals all my diseases,
I know it is you who redeems my life from destruction,
  • I know it is you who crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
  • I know it is you who satisfies my mouth with good things,
  • I pray for renewal so that my youth is renewed like the eagle.

Photo Source: Pixaby

This is an excerpt from: “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill.”

Available from:
Amazon Print
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm by Sir Winston Churchill is the first volume of Churchill’s Noble Prize winning six-part chronicle of World War II.

This six-book series is Churchill’s personal memoirs.

The Rise of Hitler and Indifference of European Leaders

The Gathering Storm depicts the rise of Hitler and the indifference of the leaders of the European democracies to the clouds of the gathering storm. Churchill incorporates contemporary documentation and his reminiscence in this opening memoir. Churchill’s mastery of English is reason enough to read this book.

Statesman and Leader of Historic Proportions

I like what was said in a review on, “Winston Churchill was not only a statesman and leader of historic proportions, he also possessed substantial literary talents. These two factors combine to make The Gathering Storm a unique work.”

The Events Between World War One and World War Two

The book tells the story of the events between World War One and World War Two. Churchill shows how key events were ignored or the people simply hoped they would go away without dealing with them. The resulting inaction allowed many of the later events to occur, thus escalating the size and difficulty of the task.

Nobel Prize in Literature

Sir Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for this book and the other five books in the series.

We Never Lived In the Now


I wrote the below poem a decade ago after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.” All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. All are now deceased. I know not one who accomplished their “someday” dreams. It is so sad.

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
Though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
But you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The rest of our lives is before us,
Oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
You had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
Showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
My smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler

Photo credit: Pixaby

Originally published in WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.