I have a confession to make. I’ve traded in my fiction writing stripes for a foray into the world of non-fiction. This project is a labor of love. Two years ago, I met Ed, at that time 94 years old. He captivated me with his stories of fighting in Europe in World War II, being captured by the Germans and being liberated by the Russians.
For Liberty is the biography of a frontline soldier, fighting the Germans in World War II. Extraordinary are his experiences leading up to joining the army, his “kill or be killed” decisions in combat, the struggle to survive in a prisoner of war camp and the opportunity to meet Russians behind their lines at the time the Cold War was starting. On the night of New Years Eve 1944, Ed undertook the assignment of being a forward observer, only to be bombarded by the last German initiative on the Western Front, Operation North Wind. Throughout his life he continued to be a forward observer, connecting his experiences in the past with the unfolding future. His was not an easy life, struggling through the Depression years, losing 40% of his body weight while a prisoner, suffering what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder, losing custody of his first son, but bouncing back from his traumas to have a successful second marriage and to run a profitable small business. His life was full of dichotomies: His early education at an anarchist school set the stage for his inquiring mind; even without completing college, he developed a wealth of knowledge about history though his avid reading; although he hated Germans, he became the greatest chicken thief in all of Europe to support four German refugees; and throughout his life, in spite of the stress and trauma, he retained an impish sense of humor.
This book is under contract and will be published in the next two months.