It’s a little after 8 a.m., June 13, 1944, and Lt. William C. Frodsham, Jr. is in the fight of his life.
Eight days earlier, he and his platoon had waded ashore on Dog Green Beach along with thousands of other determined G.I.s. during the famous D-Day invasion. Then, they had slogged 12 miles into the Normandy countryside under withering enemy fire.
Now, Frodsham and his men are pinned down and outnumbered among the hedgerows, waging a brave and bloody battle against equally determined German forces.
It’s an action-packed start to this excellent first-person narrative about one man’s harrowing — and sometimes humorous — experiences in World War II.
Well-told in an almost cinematic style, this tale draws the reader immediately back to that unforgettable time when America — and its young men and women — were thrown into a global conflict whose outcome was perilously uncertain.
In large part, however, the book, which is largely based on Frodsham’s personal diary, is full of anecdotes and fascinating stories that will surely appeal to anyone who has spent time in the military. Indeed, much of it rivals Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues in its ability to enthrall the reader.
Flash back to December 7, 1941. Frodsham has kissed his girl goodbye, along with his family, and shipped off to Fort Dix, NJ — the first of several Army posts where he is taught to be a soldier.
What follows is a highly entertaining account of what it was like to be in the U.S. Army back in the early days of the war. Frodsham excels in every posting, and is soon on his way to OCS — Officer Candidate School.
But his journey is not without its share of off-base adventures — like the 24-hour AWOL Christmas trip to a friend’s home, and the brief but victorious alley confrontation in which he and a ranking middleweight sergeant dispatch four paratroopers intent on getting them kicked out of OCS.
Time passes and Frodsham seeks — and wins — the hand of his beloved Connie, and they are married in a full-blown regimental ceremony on May 22, 1943 at Fort Leonard Wood in rural Missouri.
Their precious time together is brief, however, as he ships out to England in October aboard the newly refitted SS Mauritania. The five-day voyage is uneventful — except for two exciting days wallowing through 50-foot ocean swells — and he lands at Liverpool along with thousands of his shipmates.
Endless days of drills and preparation for the Normandy invasion are interspersed with fascinating stories of Frodsham’s fraternization with the Brits — and inspiring insights into how this remarkable island nation not only survived the Blitzkriegs, but found humor and hard-won conviviality in its neighborhood pubs each night.
Then, D-day arrives, and it finds Frodsham floating with his men just off the Normandy coast. It’s a hellish scene that confronts them as they wade ashore. Body parts litter the beach, but Frodsham and his platoon forge ahead, intent on their mission to make it to the village of Isigny and hold it until relieved.
In trying to get there, however, murderous crossfire by German machine guns costs the soldiers dearly in terms of dead and injured. By the time they finally cross one field bordered by six-foot hedgerows, Frodsham wonders to himself:
“If the enemy (is) going to surrender France only one hundred feet at a time, this (is) going to make for a very long war.”
Finally, they come upon a German force larger than their own, and, after a furious firefight, Frodsham orders his men to lay down their arms. They become prisoners of war, and the remaining pages detail the hardships, pain, and debilitating slow starvation inflicted upon the troops.
Still, Frodsham and his fellow detainees find opportunity for gaiety even in a Gulag. A theatre group sprouts up, and even a camp newspaper, The Oflag 64 Item. Still, starvation is a constant companion. Frodsham, like most of his fellow POWs, loses more than 60 pounds while in captivity.
I won’t reveal the book’s surprising and satisfying ending. Suffice to say, celebration of the War’s final actions is sweet for Frodsham — who at many times during a forced wintertime march from Poland by his captors, fleeing the advance of Russian liberators, lay huddled against cattle for simple warmth during the long, frozen nights.
This memoir is a saga of celebration and hardship, heroism and tragedy, set against the sweeping backdrop of the twentieth century’s most important worldwide conflict.
Yet it carries with it a tone and craftsmanship at once imminently readable and startlingly personal. The author has written a masterpiece of first-person narrative gleaned purely from Frodsham’s meticulous diary and equally exhaustive research that often puts the reader squarely in the middle of war-torn France and into the very hearts and souls of the valiant men and women who secured the peace we now enjoy.
Five-plus unequivocal stars to The Road to War. It’s an extraordinary read that everyone should enjoy.
— October 20, 2016, Publishers Daily Reviews
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When I was a boy, I lived across the lane from this man. He was different from my father. This man had a gun. He had been in the war. My father had not.
My parents were very close to this man and to his wife. The wife was at my family’s house nearly every day, visiting with my mother. Her name was Dottie. His name was Bill. I called them Mr. and Mrs. Frodsham, occasionally Mr. and Mrs. F.
Bill and Dottie had two kids, both much younger than me. I was maybe fourteen at the time. When I was a bit older, I met their oldest son. His name was Dennis but he went by Buz. Dennis was married, going to college at the time, perhaps graduate school. He and his wife lived with Mr. and Mrs. Frodsham for a while. The house seemed crowded.
Sometimes, when Mr. and Mrs. F went out, I would baby-sit for the two younger kids, a boy, Christopher, and a girl, Victoria. The kids were fun, and I liked them. Apparently, my parents did too, as they soon became godparents to these kids from across the street. I wasn’t sure what being a godparent meant, but it sounded important.
Fast forward now, half a decade. I’m done with college, getting married. The families are still close. Vicki is a flower girl in our wedding. At rehearsal dinner, Christopher, now twelve, is sipping on a beer, slowly getting drunk. My father is playing the piano, something he loved to do. Everyone is smiling.
Now married, I moved away from home. In time, Bill and Dottie leave the area as well, move east, relocate in the Carolinas. I lived my life, lost track of theirs.
Flash forward now, three decades. I have had a career in investment brokering, retired, now teaching economics part time, writing science fiction most of the time.
Suddenly comes a question. That little girl Vicki, now a full-grown woman with children of her own, contacts me. It is the sixty-fifth anniversary of D-Day, both her parents are dead, and she has in her hand her father’s memoirs recounting his experiences in World War II. She knows that I am a writer. She would like to see her father’s memoirs published. Could I give her any advice how to make that dream a reality?
Next thing I know, I’m deeply involved in the project. Rather than just a dry recitation of facts and events, I have written it as a “novel.” I put the word in quotation marks because novels are generally fiction. This is not. This is real.
But in some sense it is fiction. To avoid making this account read like a Russian novel, filled with countless unpronounceable names and enough characters to fill a small telephone book, I have simplified matters a great deal, changing names to protect identities, eliminating characters that add little to the story, constructing others as composites of several people spliced together as one. Historical characters, such as General Eisenhower remain intact, blisters and all.
So as to not make this account an unreadable textbook, I have limited the use of maps and the like. But, inevitably, a reader may want to summon a Google map of southern England or the Normandy coast to help follow along. There are countless online sources of maps. I only mention Google, as I referred to it often.
Writing this book entailed much research. I don’t know from guns or grenades. Wikipedia was an incredible aid to me in this regard.
William had a remarkable memory. Written so many years after the fact, I would say William possessed a stunning clarity in his recollection of events. I, myself, at a much younger age cannot lay claim to remembering so many details from my twenties. Even so, William had at least some of his “facts” wrong.
For instance, he reports in his text that he returned to the United States after the war onboard the U.S.S. Lafayette. He specifically mentions that the Lafayette was formerly an Italian luxury liner by the name of the Conte Grande before the United States military commandeered it to carry troops. — Not possible.
The Lafayette began life as a French-built luxury liner called the Normandie. The Normandie was seized in New York by the United States after the fall of France. It was to be converted into a high-speed troopship but caught fire and sank. It was later raised again at great expense and floated to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard for repair but never returned to service and was later sold for scrap.
The Conte Grande, on the other hand, was indeed captured from the Italians. It did indeed become a troopship. But it was renamed the U.S.S. Monticello, not the Lafayette.
So which story is correct? I suspect William came home on the Monticello, as the Lafayette was still in a Brooklyn shipyard at the time of his return.
I found several such “problems” in Mr. Frodsham’s account. In each case, I had to go with my best guess as to the actual facts. Any mistakes in this regard are entirely mine.
Thus, I call this work a “novel.” It is somewhat fictionalized and somewhat improvised. William reveals very little about himself in his account. He doesn’t reveal whether or not he misses home, whether he is lonely, whether he is scared. So I have tried to ferret out his feelings the best I could. Again, any mistakes in this regard are entirely mine.
But even with these admitted shortcomings, what remains is still an amazing story of youthful valor. A young man — patriotic, athletic, daring, willing to take risks — enlists in the Army to defend the country he loves so dearly. His leadership skills and acumen with guns and field artillery is quickly recognized by his superiors, and he is encouraged to become an officer.
William trains hard, leads his men into battle, makes snap decisions, is wounded, captured by the enemy, slapped into solitary confinement, sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on the Eastern Front, starved to within a few inches of his life.
Yet, he returns home after the war a hero and what does he do? — promptly enlists in the Army Reserve.
A classic American story. I think you will like it.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
This is a true story. The characters are real.
Under cover of darkness, we had crossed the Vire River deep inside occupied France and were now behind enemy lines. It was very early on D-Day plus 7, and I was the lieutenant in charge of Third Platoon, G Company, 175th Infantry Regiment, part of the 29th Infantry Division.
The day before, on 12 June, our Company had made an aborted attempt to cross this key river in boats. But the Germans had turned us back with harsh counter fire. Now we were in a sort of frustrating stalemate, with the Jerrys holding one bank of the river and our Company holding the other.
We were dug in and waiting for orders. After fighting our way a dozen miles into Normandy, my men were worn out and tired. Our bodies were dirty, our minds numb. My men were hungry, their bellies empty. But they weren’t complaining.
I was proud of my men. They had fought well. We had already been through a lot together. Our unit had been on the move, with only one day’s rest, since just after sunrise on 7 June, when we landed on the coast at DOG GREEN BEACH in the second wave.
Soon new orders arrived from our Company commander. We were to move further south along the river to a point where intelligence had determined the river to be only two feet deep. We were to traverse the river at that shallow point, move cross-country, then seize and hold the several bridges where an important road crossed the Vire-et-Taute Canal. This was the only route Allied armor could use to push further inland. But, in crossing the river at that shallow spot, we would end up several miles behind known German lines.
The Company was beefed up with the addition of a section of heavy machine guns from H Company. In total, our force now numbered more than two hundred men, including our Regimental Commander.
Moving out now in a column of platoons, by 2300 hours we arrived at the point where we needed to cross. It was dark, very dark. No moon. No light whatsoever.
An hour later, at 0003 hours 13 June, I was in the black water leading my men across the river. The information was correct, at least in one respect. The water at that spot was only about two-and-a-half feet deep.
But, beneath the water, there was more than a foot of gooey mud. This made for a rather messy crossing. To keep our weapons dry, we held them over our heads as we quietly slogged and slopped our way through the water and muck to the other side.
Half-covered with mud now, we fanned out on the opposite bank and positioned ourselves to move quietly cross-country. My platoon was on the left, Second Platoon on the right and First and Fourth Platoons in the rear behind Second. Fourth was our Heavy Weapons Platoon.
We edged forward. All of this was done with extreme quiet. We were behind enemy lines. No conversation. As little sound as possible.
We passed by a tiny, no-name hamlet, my platoon still on the left as we advanced. The rest of the Company passed through the center of the village. Less than a mile further on we ran into trouble.
Reading maps and plotting our position had become a practical impossibility in the black of night. We relied instead on our compasses and our intuition, a near-perfect recipe for making a mistake.
Moments later all hell broke loose. My Third Platoon had stumbled onto a German patrol bivouacked for the night. Most of the enemy was asleep. No matter. A short but vicious firefight ensued. It didn’t last long. Conditions favored my men and we killed a lot of sleeping Germans without any losses to our own forces.
Success in hand, I rapidly disengaged my men and we continued toward the bridges. At least I hoped we were headed in the right direction, as we were still traveling somewhat blind in the dark.
In the minutes ahead, the sky began to lighten as dawn approached. I broke out my flashlight and buried myself under my raincoat. Hidden this way, with a little natural light, I was finally able to check our position on my map.
What I discovered made my heart skip a beat. We were south and east of la Roy. That meant our connecting file was gone. This was dangerous. We were advancing without contact with the rest of the Company.
I needed a moment to think and decided this would be a good place for us to stop for a short rest. We had been on the move for nearly twelve hours now.
By 0700 we were up again and moving. I was determined to push my men until we reached our objective, the bridges.
We continued to observe complete and total silence. I controlled my men’s movements with hand signals. Going was slow, though not as slow as it had been during the night.
Each hedgerow represented a new danger, every hidden spot a possible German position. Each field — as well as the hedgerow beyond — had to be thoroughly scanned before risking an attempt to move out into the open and cross it.
Caution, caution, caution. These were our watchwords.
In the dark we had moved in a tight group, fairly well bunched up. Each man followed the man in front of him so as to not get lost.
But, as the sky lightened, our tactic had to change. I decided to employ a skirmish line: two squads up front, the third holding back.
With the platoon dispersed this way, enemy resistance would not have a concentration of men to fire upon.
My men understood my motives. It was simple economics. Spread out this way, an exploding mortar round would take down fewer of us, leaving more of us alive to carry on the fight. We moved forward slowly and carefully.
About 0800 we came upon a small farmhouse with what appeared to be an upstairs loft. Two of my men spoke fluent French, so I kept them at my side as I entered the house. An older French man and woman — probably husband and wife — stood inside the door. They held on to one another, obviously frightened. I couldn’t blame them.
Who among us wouldn’t be terrified if a contingent of foreign soldiers brandishing automatic weapons entered their home, drenched in mud, sweat, and blood?
And, even if these people did recognize us as being American, even if they did recognize us as being allies in common cause to expel their Nazi occupiers, we were still fierce-some looking men — and we were still present in their home without so much as an invitation. That would scare me too.
I could see the fear in the old man’s eyes. He and his wife were at once frightened and excited. We were liberators, yes. But we were also destroyers. Our armies were about to tear up their fields and their homes and their towns as we drove relentlessly toward the heart of Germany. And, in our wake, we would leave behind stinking corpses and dead bodies for them to clean up after, as well as mountains of rubble and debris.
I turned to one of my translators. “Ask these people if there are any Germans in the area?”
He did and they quietly whispered “Non.” But they pointed nervously toward the ceiling over their heads. We got their meaning and immediately proceeded to fire a clip apiece into the ceiling.
Plaster fell everywhere. At the sound of gunfire, the old woman began to scream. Her husband clamped his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet. I could imagine my own wife Connie in the same situation. She would have fainted, I was sure.
At the corner of the room was a ladder-style stairway to the loft overhead. I poked my head up through the opening and spied two German soldiers lying on the floor badly wounded and moaning. Our wild firing had hit them.
Holding tight to my weapon, I climbed up through the opening in the floor. Several of my men followed. On a table in the corner of the loft we discovered a field phone. Now everything was clear. This was an outpost. These men had probably seen us approach, maybe warned others in the vicinity.
I instructed my men to pull up the phones and cut the wires outside. I had my aid man shoot up the Germans with morphine and bandage their wounds. Then we were out the door and again on our way. But I was troubled.
Despite our every effort, silence had now most definitely been broken. There was a small chance that the sound of our guns being fired had been muffled because we were inside the house.
But that was a big maybe. Plus, those Germans had probably alerted their unit of our approach. But, maybe, if we moved fast, we would be okay. Resuming total silence, we crossed the next three fields nearly at a run.
Once I felt we were out of immediate danger, I stopped my platoon in the shadow of the closest hedgerow to check my map and verify our position. We were almost to the road that crossed the Vire-et-Taute Canal.
I didn’t want to remain out in the open long, so I decided to stay off the road and confine our movements to the fields that ran parallel to it. The bridges were close. Probably only a couple hundred yards off. We couldn’t see them yet. Maybe another field or two.
Because the road was as important to the Germans as it was to us, I knew we had to be extra careful now.
Scrutinizing every inch of the field ahead of us and the hedgerow beyond it, we saw no sign of the enemy. I signaled my men to climb over the hedgerow and start across the field.
But we only got about ten feet into the field when the Germans opened up on us with rifle and machine-gun fire. They had been well hidden behind that next hedgerow. Probably alerted to our presence by their comrades when we knocked out the outpost in that farmhouse loft.
I urgently shouted “Back!” to my men, and we beat a hasty retreat back over the hedgerow we had just crossed.
I was not at all happy with what had just taken place. I looked anxiously about, did a quick headcount. The men in my command seemed none the worse for the wear. But it was a close call. Somehow, none of us had been wounded or knocked down by enemy fire.
Now we responded in kind. We started firing back. I ran along the line of bushes shouting to my men, “Shoot only at what you can see!”
Soon we were in a full-blown fight. Within minutes, a couple of my men caught bullets. Doc, our aid man, sprang into action, quickly bandaged the two men, after which they again took up positions beside the hedgerow.
But we had a problem. The vegetative growth atop the hedgerows blurred our sightlines. We were shooting blind. Fortunately, the overgrowth across the way was quite sparse indeed.
Our tactical position was simple enough. We were pinned down. We were pinned down in a smaller field, with larger and wider fields on each side of us. A flanking attack would certainly meet with stiff resistance. For the moment, the enemy was firing in great volume at us with machine guns and rifles. Thus far, there had been no mortars flung our way. I thanked God for that one.
To hold them off, I moved B.A.R.’s to each flank, keeping one gun in the middle. These were Browning Automatic Rifles, and they were very effective guns. The Browning had a high muzzle velocity and was accurate out to about six hundred yards with sight adjustments. Our Brownings were the newer models, the ones with a skid-footed bipod fitted to the muzzle end of the barrel, as well as a redesigned magazine guide. My B.A.R. men were crack shots. Not to brag, but so was I.
The enemy continued to fire, and we continued to return fire. With the B.A.R.’s in place, we were being more effective knocking them down. Even so, several more of my men got hit, one badly.
The opening into the field in front of us was at the middle of a long hedgerow across the way. Suddenly, four Germans swung open the gate and set up a machine gun right there in the opening. I was amazed. It was as if they were going through a parade ground exercise rather than lethal battle.
Right about then, my B.A.R. man in the center of our line got hit in the left upper arm. I saw him go down and grabbed for his gun. I had no problem taking out the four enemy machine-gunners busy setting up their gun at the opposite gate.
In the minutes ahead, we kept picking away at the enemy. The moment we spotted someone stick his head out or saw a weapon protruding over the hedgerow, we would shoot.
About ten minutes later, another set of four Germans began to set up a second machine gun at the same spot, right smack in the middle of that opening.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was still at the B.A.R. where I promptly dropped the four of them. I thought they must be nuts. Why didn’t they set up the gun over top of the hedgerow? I couldn’t figure it out. They had now lost eight men in a stupid move.
It was at about this time that I decided we needed reinforcements. I’m not sure what made me come to that decision. Maybe I reasoned that any force that could withstand the loss of eight men in rapid succession without withdrawing had to be much larger than my own.
I called over my Staff Sergeant. He was a good man, and I trusted him implicitly. Like me, his first name was Bill. I told Bill to work his way back and to the right to find the rest of the Company and to tell the Colonel of our plight. “Ask him for support,” I said.
Bill left as ordered. But I never saw the man again. We didn’t know it at the time, but the rest of our Company was fighting a losing battle some six hundred yards up the road to our right.
No sooner had Bill taken off, than there seemed to be a sudden, large increase in volume of fire from across the field. Jerry had brought two 40 mm anti-aircraft guns into position. The explosive rounds were now hitting the hedgerow, spraying us with small but deadly shrapnel.
I was still manning the Browning when suddenly I noticed that my men on the right flank had started to increase their rate of fire. Jerry was trying to sneak along the hedgerow, trying to outflank us on that side.
So far, our rifle and B.A.R. fire had them pinned down. To drive the enemy back, we tossed in a couple fragmentation grenades. That tore them up badly, knocking down perhaps eight of them at one time. The rest beat a hasty retreat.
My bazooka men had but two rounds remaining. I knew we had to use them judiciously. I gave the men orders to aim for the location where the 40 mm rounds seemed to be coming from, then crossed my fingers.
My men fired one round. It hit the hedgerow near the top. A miss. Damn!
My men moved a little to keep the Germans off-balance, then fired again. This time they aimed just a bit higher so the round would clear the bushes. Bingo! The second round — our last round — exploded just beyond the hedgerow. That AA gun fell silent.
Now, yet a third enemy team set up a machine gun in that opening. These guys must be absolutely crazy, I thought, as I dropped them with my trusty B.A.R. They had now lost twelve men trying to set up that gun.
My original B.A.R. man was now bandaged and back in the line of fire. I gave him back his piece. I don’t remember the man’s name.
The volume of fire from across the field seemed to lessen, if only for a moment. Then, another machine gun started up, this time from over top the hedgerow. They had finally gotten smart, I thought.
Again the fire from my men on the right flank got heavier. The Germans were trying yet another sneak move along that hedgerow. This time they didn’t get far at all. My third B.A.R. man had moved to where he could fire his Browning from the opening across the entire field. Three of my riflemen were there alongside him. The opening was only about twenty feet from the corner of the hedgerow.
I figured the Germans had only recently moved to their current position. They were probably called back from defense of the bridges and were therefore not well dug in at all. This might work to our advantage, I thought. Plus, the absence of mortar fire indicated they were likely a rifle company not a full infantry company. That meant they were armed with lots of machine guns and Schmeisser MP 40 automatic guns but no cannons. I had seen at least four machine guns so far. A typical German infantry squad had at most two.
But then the situation changed drastically. We were suddenly under sustained fire from heavy cannon, my worst fear.
Based on what I could see through the bushes, the Jerrys had moved in two 88’s, probably self-propelled. The big guns were positioned just behind the hedgerow. The 88 mm gun was a German anti-aircraft gun. It was used widely throughout the war and could be found on just about every battlefield, where it was often used as an anti-tank weapon. This particular pair of guns was about two hundred yards away and firing instantaneous detonator shells, very bad stuff.
With this new weapon now in place, a murderous barrage began to descend upon us. It ran the length of the hedgerow as their fire systematically traversed it from one end to the other. The results were devastating.
With nearly every explosion, now, my men were getting hit. One of my two men who were fluent in French went down with a big hole in his leg. I went over, cut open his pants, tore open a packet of sulfa powder and sprinkled it over the man’s wound. I bandaged him best I could, shot him full with morphine using the syrette in his bandage pack. Then I laid him back against the hedgerow.
I moved to the right and found my B.A.R. man dead. His assistant now manned his gun. Everyone else was hunkered down. One of my Sergeants was dead. Another had half his right arm gone, plus a big, gaping wound in his abdomen. He, too, was dead.
There was a brief pause in the cannon fire. I glanced along the hedgerow counting heads. Some of the wounded were moaning in pain.
It looked as though I still had ten, perhaps as many as twelve men in position and still firing spasmodically.
But the firing was sporadic and accomplished little. The men fired only at what they could see, which wasn’t much. Ammunition was low. So low, we were almost out of it. Whenever a man went down, we would take his ammunition, refill the B.A.R. magazines and distribute the rest. We had already fought for hours, stretching out what little remained.
From where I was, near the center of our position, I started left to check on my men on that side. I was in a crouch, running. After about two steps, there was an explosion on top of the hedgerow beside me. Something that felt like a rod of hot steel rammed into my left leg just above my knee. I knew I had been hit. But the sensation was short-lived. Within moments I passed out as I was lifted violently into the air.
I don’t know how much time passed before I came to, perhaps minutes, maybe only seconds. But through a fog, I heard one of my men yell, “The Lieutenant’s dead!”
Me, I was dazed, not dead. I raised myself half-up on my arms and answered his frenzied call.
“In a pig’s fuckin’ whistle, he is!”
But my bravado didn’t match my condition. I was splayed out on the ground about ten or twelve feet from the base of the hedgerow, lying in a pool of blood — my own. The explosion must have flipped me through the air.
Rolling, now, onto my side, I pulled myself back in the direction of the hedgerow using my arms and hands. I cut open my pants leg where it hurt, and sprinkled the last of my sulfa powder into the wound. It cooled the fire of pain down a bit. But the damn thing still hurt like hell.
I had no bandages left, nor any morphine. I had used the last of it minutes ago on another man. I thought to call our aid man for help. But from where I lay, I could see that he too was dead. There would be no relief for my pain, nor any bandage for my wound.
My B.A.R. man was dead. He had been in the center of our line near where I lay. So I rolled over, picked up his piece and propped myself against the hedgerow. I was hurting badly. But I wasn’t defeated. I selected a few targets, managed to squeeze off a couple bursts. Our fire had dwindled to almost nothing. We were badly beaten down. It was over.
At about this moment, thirty or more Germans came pouring through the opening in the hedgerow to my right.
I yelled, “Cease fire!” to my men and threw down the Browning in defeat. I raised my hands best I could and said, “Kamerad!” I was surrendering my command, what little was left of it.
The German closest to me looked as mean as I looked scared. He raised his gun, pointed it at my head.
I judged my alternatives. Only two things could happen to me in the seconds ahead:
Either I was about to be shot dead or I was about to become a prisoner of war to the Third Reich.
At that moment in time, I wasn’t sure which fate was worse.
Steven Burgauer, Biography
Avid hiker, Eagle Scout, and founder of a mutual fund, Steven Burgauer resides in Florida. A graduate of Illinois State University and the New York Institute of Finance, Steve writes science fiction and historic fiction.
Burgauer’s The Road to War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture is based on the journals of an American WWII infantryman who landed at Normandy, was wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis.
A member of the Society of Midland Authors, Steven is included in The Dictionary of Midwestern Literature, Volume 2: Dimensions of the Midwestern Literary Imagination.
Some of his SF titles include The Grandfather Paradox, The Railguns of Luna, The Fornax Drive, and SKULLCAP. Other books of his include The Night of the Eleventh Sun, a Neanderthal’s first encounter with man, and The Wealth Builder’s Guide: An Investment Primer. Steven contributed to the zany, serial mystery, Naked Came the Farmer, headlined by Philip Jose Farmer.
His work has been reviewed in many places, including LOCUS, SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE, the PEORIA JOURNAL STAR, the EUREKA LITERARY MAGAZINE, and PROMETHEUS, the journal of the Libertarian Futurist Society.
A review of The Railguns of Luna from the prestigious SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE (June 2001):
Steven Burgauer writes old style science fiction in which heroes and villains are easily identified, the action is fast and furious, and the plot twists and turns uncontrollably. His newest is the story of a crack team of military specialists who discover that the brilliant but warped Cassandra Mubarak is planning to use advanced scientific devices to seize control of the world. To stop her, they must infiltrate her heavily guarded headquarters and rescue the fair maiden in distress. This is action adventure written straightforwardly and not meant to be heavily literary or provide pithy commentary on the state of humanity.
When Steven lived in Illinois, the State of Illinois Library included him in a select group of authors invited to the state’s Authors’ Day. He has often been a speaker and panel member at public library events and science-fiction conventions all across the country.
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