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.

Hello, I’m a Military Brat

Pease Air Force Base at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The picture was taken in the May 1966 from the balcony of the operations building. I was in the 7th grade. There is one KC-135 and six B-52s on the runway.
Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There are one KC-135 and six B-52s on the runway. The picture dates from May 1966. I was in the 7th grade. I lived on Pease AFB from February 1966 to May 1967 and was in the 7th and 8th grades while we lived there.

What is a military brat? A military brat is the son or daughter of an airman, marine, sailor, or soldier. These children of career military have shared characteristics. They grew up in a community of service. Sacrificing for the greater good is part of their character. They moved on average once every three years to a new state, region, or country.

Academic studies show military brats lack racism.1 They are the only color blind group in the USA. They are the most open-minded of any subgroup in the world. They are more tolerant and embrace diversity with respect for others better than their civilian counterparts to include those raised in liberal homes. They are equally respectful and tolerant of conservative, moderate and liberal points of view.2

They adapt to change and new situations better than any group in the United States. 2

They are socially independent. They do well in personal relationships. They put the needs of the other people ahead of their needs.

Military brats who grew up as military dependents particularly in the late 1940s to early 1970s are kinder, caring, and more loyal than their raised as civilian children counterparts. They were higher achievers academically and professionally make the best employees due to characteristics like self-discipline, self-starter, flexibility, and their personal fiscal responsibility. 2

Most military brats do not have a real hometown.2 Most do not know their cousins, aunts, and uncles or grandparents very well. Many do not trust the governments of North Korea, Russia, and China.

The word brat is not derogatory. It stands for:

B – Born

R – Raised

A – And

T – Trained1

I’m a military brat. My father served in the United States Army, United States Army Air Force and the United States Air Force (USAF). He retired from the USAF.

I am also a former United States Army officer. Growing up as a military brat helped prepare me for my service. It was all natural and comfortable to me. I felt it was where I belonged more than anyplace else in my life.

1 http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=military%20brat

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_brat_(U.S._subculture)


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

Hello, I’m a Military Brat

Pease Air Force Base at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The picture was taken in the May 1966 from the balcony of the operations building. I was in the 7th grade. There is one KC-135 and six B-52s on the runway.
Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There are one KC-135 and six B-52s on the runway. The picture dates from May 1966. I was in the 7th grade. I lived on Pease AFB from February 1966 to May 1967 and was in the 7th and 8th grades while we lived there.

What is a military brat? A military brat is the son or daughter of an airman, marine, sailor, or soldier. These children of career military have shared characteristics. They grew up in a community of service. Sacrificing for the greater good is part of their character. They moved on average once every three years to a new state, region, or country.

Academic studies show military brats lack racism.1 They are the only color blind group in the USA. They are the most open-minded of any subgroup in the world. They are more tolerant and embrace diversity with respect for others better than their civilian counterparts to include those raised in liberal homes. They are equally respectful and tolerant of conservative, moderate and liberal points of view.2

They adapt to change and new situations better than any group in the United States. 2

They are socially independent. They do well in personal relationships. They put the needs of the other people ahead of their needs.

Military brats who grew up as military dependents particularly in the late 1940s to early 1970s are kinder, caring, and more loyal than their raised as civilian children counterparts. They were higher achievers academically and professionally make the best employees due to characteristics like self-discipline, self-starter, flexibility, and their personal fiscal responsibility. 2

Most military brats do not have a real hometown.2 Most do not know their cousins, aunts, and uncles or grandparents very well. Many do not trust the governments of North Korea, Russia, and China.

The word brat is not derogatory. It stands for:

B – Born

R – Raised

A – And

T – Trained1

I’m a military brat. My father served in the United States Army, United States Army Air Force and the United States Air Force (USAF). He retired from the USAF.

I am also a former United States Army officer. Growing up as a military brat helped prepare me for my service. It was all natural and comfortable to me. I felt it was where I belonged more than anyplace else in my life.

1 http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=military%20brat

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_brat_(U.S._subculture)


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of The Liberator Series. The Rebuilder – Book 1 is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released October 1, 2015. The Mission – Book Two will be available Spring 2016, The Traveller – Book 3 will be available Summer 2016, and The Seer – Book 4 will be available Fall 2016.

“Special Operations in The American Revolution” by Robert Tonsetic

“Special Operations in The American Revolution” by Robert Tonsetic tells nine stories of battles or campaigns during the American Revolutionary War. In each case, the American colonist used unconventional warfare.

Experience the battles/campaigns of the American Revolutionary War. Learn the background of the principal leaders. See American know-how demonstrated by the army, navy and marines in their operations.
My favorite chapters were one and eight. “The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga” is the title and story of chapter one. It tells of Ethan Allen’s leadership. “The Whaleboat Wars” is the title of chapter eight. It includes the story of Benjamin Tallmage.

The author is a very good story teller. He brings the events to life through the stories of the participants.

The book fills a void in the literature of the American Revolution.
Added bonuses are the book’s bibliography. It is excellent. The operational maps and photos also compliment the narrative.

Casemate Publishing published “Special Operations in The American Revolution” by Robert Tonsetic. It is a must addition to the library of every military historian as well as students of the American revolutionary War.
Dr. Tonsectic has crafted an exciting book.


jak-moustacheJimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs in 2010. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

Update On My Writing

My Writing Life:

From time to time I get asked what I am working on in my writing life.

I have a few projects. First, I’ll share the new projects. On-going projects will follow. I’ll close with the old projects.

New projects:

  1. I am excited about joining the Author Culture Blog. It is at http://authorculture.blogspot.com. In the days ahead I’ll be doing some book reviews for them. I owe them my biographical information, getting the bio information up on the site as well as scheduling the first review.
  2. I am a writing a science fiction book. Here’s my book pitch. I’m 15% through writing the first draft of the book (about 15,000 of 100,000 words written) … What if all religion had been eradicated from the solar system in the twenty-second century? What if a time capsule is opened two centuries later containing a copy of the Holy Bible? Its reading causes a revival of the “dead” religion Christianity to spread across the solar system. What if a coalition of the descendants of the atheist, freethinkers, and humanist that had eradicated religion centuries earlier comes together to again free the solar system from the scourge of religion? What if the place where the time capsule was found and read becomes a holy shire? What if this city is attacked with resulting severe damage? The Bradbury-Burroughs Rain Dome tells the story of the rebuilding of the Great Wall and Rain Dome in a retelling of the Holy Bible’s Book of Nehemiah set on the planet Mars in the twenty-fourth century.

On-going Projects:

  1. I have a dozen scheduled book reviews on my blog Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews. You can find it at: http://keplersreviews.blogspot.com
  2. I continue writing flash fiction, short stories and poetry. I submit the fiction monthly.

Old Projects:

  1. I continue seeking a traditional publisher for my book, “Honor and Jealousy in Texas”. Traditional publishing moves as slow as a glacier. When will I sell it? When I get the correct offer. Will I Indie publish it. I don’t think so, but no not to ever say never. It may be a book written to show I can write on from start to completion. I learned so much in the process.
  2. I am finishing the edits on a book of poetry titled, “Lonely and Feeling Blue.”

 

One Great Way to Promote Your Book: A Blog Tour

Once upon a time

Once upon a time in a century long past when an author wrote a book his or her publisher might send the writer on a book tour.  The author would visit media outlets in various cities promoting their book and conduct book signings.

Oh, this still sometimes happens if the author is enough of a celebrity to merit so large a capital investment on the part of the publisher.  Other authors with outgoing personalities traveled the country promoting their work, sometimes at their own expense.  While this method worked, it was difficult for new authors.   Newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations were not anxious to use their copy space or airtime on an unknown writer.

As the age of the Internet developed, many new authors would promote their book through on-line forums, message boards, groups and chat rooms.  These formats encouraged potential reader and book buyers to consider the book.  Many times the author marketed their book through these sites by simply making a short sales pitch as they signed their name to their comments.  While this method is useful and generated grassroots support for a book it was extremely time-consuming and could be disheartening for author and publish because it requires a large amount of work for minimal return.

Today’s realities

Today with the economic recession and minimal dollars available for publishers or even self-published work and for those with family situations which include children or the need to keep their day job other options for promoting their work need to be considered.  A new opportunity emerged with the dedicated book or author website and blogs.

The most exciting of these new opportunities is the blog.  The name blog comes from the word weblog.  This is an online journal.  The purpose of a blog is three-fold.  It educates and entertains the public while allowing the readers the opportunity to provide immediate feedback.  Today professionals also run blogs seeking a targeted audience.  The professional’s goals include building standing and name recognition while making money.  Blogs have the added benefit of being inexpensive, easy to set up and support, and simple to find through search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!

An author promotes their book to get people talking about their book and its message, to make some money, and to sell enough copies of the book for the publisher to keep it in print. A blog tour can be used as a great way to promote your book.

What is a blog tour?

While you ultimately want to increase your book sales, the purpose of a blog tour is to generate interest about your book. A blog tour allows cross-promotion of your book with the blogger’s site. It’s a great way for them to get free content for their blog while promoting your book.  It allows the author the opportunity to target the correct audience.

How do you set one up?

You begin by contacting suitable blogs.  You ask if they would be interested in being part of the tour. If so, a book can be sent to them to give away in a lottery type drawing, and review.  They can invite you to write a guest post or even interview you.   A schedule is created and the book is featured from two times a week to every day of the month. Determine your target blogs.  Make up a list of potential blogs. This will take a little research.  You can search for book blogs with emphasis given to those that focus on the genre you write. I write for three blogs that include regular book reviews.  They are Kepler’s Military History Book ReviewsWriting After Fifty, and Kepler’s Book Reviews.  I have contact information on my blogs for requesting book reviews.   Almost all blogs have a listed a way for contacting the blog.  My blogs are shared as examples.

Next you approach the bloggers via email.  If they have interest preparations are made for a date and an agreement of exactly will be done.  Books need to be sent to them well in advance.  Your publisher may take care of this.  Almost all authors or publisher I deal with do this.

I urge reviews.  When I review a book I always include reviewing it on my site, on Amazon.com, bn.com, Twitter, goodreads.com as well as all my personal sites like Multiply and Facebook.    On my personal site I always include a link where the reader has the opportunity to buy the book.  I like to include the publisher website when possible where the publisher can make largest profit on the sale.

Interviews require less writing than guest posts.  The author and blogger can agree on a set number of questions.  When I ask an author for an interview I send them no more than ten questions.  I draw the questions from the book and the author’s life and interests as I know the author.

Put it on the calendar

Schedule your book blog tour calendar.  You not only promote it on your site, but promote it on the sites of the participating bloggers.  Almost all blogs have calendars of upcoming events.  Make sure you book blog is included on their calendar. Bloggers work hard for free.  They promote what interests them.  They are a key element of the new media.

Don’t stop with one book blog tour.  After your first blog tour is completed make sure you host a second one a few weeks to a few months later with a new group of blogs.  The second time around you can try something different.  Instead of doing a second interview maybe you would want to share excerpts from reviews of your book, maybe post 2 to 3 question interviews conducted by you of the persons who a few of the persons who positively reviewed your book. It could be a fun way to get the reader to see how other readers enjoyed and benefited from  your efforts.  Your personal creativity can come up with other ideas.

Have fun!

Once upon a time in a century long past when an author wrote a book his or her publisher might send the writer on a book tour.  The past is behind us.  Welcome to the future called today. I think Book Blog Tours can be a fun to promote your work.  In the twenty-first century you as the author are going to have to take a more active role in marketing your book.  Why not try a Book Blog Tour? It allows you to talk about yourself, your book and who knows you just might meet some interesting bloggers, develop an audience and following, and sell a few books along the way. That will make you and your publisher happy.

Creative Commons License
One Great Way to Promote Your Book: A Blog Tour by by Jimmie A. Kepler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

When Washington Burned: An Illustrated History of the War of 1812

One of the least known wars in United States or for that matter British history is the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 was a rather disorderly event. At times it had several minor campaigns going on at the same time. They weren’t coordinated, were hundreds of miles apart and had little or nothing to do with the other campaigns.
The author has produced an understandable account out of this disjointed war. His narrative is well organized. The structure used has each chapter covering a distinct area. They are restricted to a geographic area.  The genius of this approach is let you keep needed focus without covering everything happening on all fronts at the same time. The coverage of the Naval engagements is excellent. They receive their separate chapters.
The illustrations are first-rate. The majority of the images are present-day. He makes skillful use of maps to show the more intricate campaigns. This is an excellent single volume history of the War of 1812. It explains what happened. It explains why it happened. The coverage is balanced with US and British material. The book would be an great addition for community libraries, school libraries and is a must for the personal library of military historians. It would also make a nice “coffee table book”.
Arnold Blumberg and Casemate Publishing have provide a well needed, quality book on the War of 1812.