The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army by Glen Craney
Published by Brigid's Fire Press Genres: Fiction
Glen Craney is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He is a Chaucer Awards First-Place Winner, a two-time indie BRAG Medallion Honoree, and a three-time Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year-Award Finalist. Craney’s research for this book included the Daughters of the Texas Republic Library, the UCLA Special Collections Library, and the Raymond H. Fogler Library. Fans of historical fiction should read his books.
Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI
Military Writers Society of America: “…a vivid picture of not only men being deprived of their veterans’ rights, but of their human rights as well….[an] admirable book.”
NATIONAL FLOWERS: The Battle of Verdun 1916 by Kermit R. Mercer
Published by Lulu.com on July 21, 2014
Genres: History, General
WW1HA member Kermit Mercer has found a unique way to understand the war with his novel about Verdun based on conversations with World War One poilu (French soldiers).
Mercer lived in the Verdun area while serving with the USAF. He got to know many of the veterans when they were in their early 60s and wrote down their stories in the year after he returned home. His notes were not appropriate for a formal history so he turned them into a gripping novel with insights into the hell that was the war’s longest battle.
This is not summer beach reading. The long-forgotten details about life in the Verdun trenches are surprising and enlightening, like the need to always hold utensils over a candle before eating to avoid dysentery, or how seasoned poilu could tell from the location of shell bursts that an inexperienced German artillery team was at work. In many ways, National Flowers is an excellent supplement to the recently translated memoir Poilu by Caporal Louis Barthas. This is a novel for the serious historian.
Reviewed by Steve Suddaby, past president of WW1HA
The Kaiser's American by Edward J. Klekowski
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on October 16, 2016
This is the story of a Brooklyn man of German descent and his adventures in Belgium in the opening campaign of World War One. It presents an entertaining, almost unbelievable, series of events in compelling detail. Klekowski has written other non-fiction books, including Americans in Occupied Belgium, 1914-1918, and created several TV documentaries, including one on WW1 volunteer ambulance drivers.
The protagonist, Paul Meyer, enlisted in the German Navy at the beginning of the war and survives a crash landing of the Zeppelin on which he was serving as an engineer. His American attitudes clash with many in the German military, but somehow he lurches from event to event learning survival skills and giving the reader a look at the chaos behind the front lines of the German advance on the Western Front.
Unfortunately, the author adds lots of historical detail even when it interrupts the story—what eventually happens to famous historical figures who appear briefly in the book does not advance the story. An appendix or afterword would have been more appropriate. Despite this flaw it’s a good read.
Reviewed by Anne Merritt
The Ways of the World (The Wide World Trilogy #1) by Robert Goddard
Published by Mysterious Press on June 2, 2015
The Corners of the Globe (The Wide World Trilogy #2) by Robert Goddard
Published by Mysterious Press on June 7, 2016
The Ends of the Earth (The Wide World Trilogy #3) by Robert Goddard
Published by Mysterious Press on April 25, 2017
Kirkus Reviews enthused that the Edgar Award-winning best-selling author Robert Goddard’s James Maxted Thrillers are “A sophisticated spy story with serious historical chops.” Publishers Weekly noted that “Characterization and dialogue are topnotch … Readers will look forward to seeing these characters spar again.”
Royal Flying Corps veteran Lieutenant James “Max” Maxted was introduced in the first volume in 2013. His diplomat father Sir Henry is in Paris for the Versailles Treaty and is found dead after a fall from a roof. The French police conclude it’s an accident but Max finds evidence of espionage and government double-crossing.
The second volume finds the young ex-aviator working as a double agent as he tries to learn more about his father’s murder. Working with legendary German spy Fritz Lemmer, who claims responsibility for Max’s father’s death, he makes yet more disturbing discoveries.
In the third and final volume the action shifts from Paris and the signing of the Versailles Treaty to Japan where Max was born. The ending should satisfy fans of Goddard’s work.
One of the things to savor in this series is the slower passage of time and information dissemination one hundred years ago. An attempt to outsmart surveillance with changing trains; the need to obtain and protect photographic negatives; and the rare use of weapons are eloquent reminders of how the world has changed.
Reviewed by Anne Merritt