Featured: The Things Our Fathers Saw by Matthew A. Rozell

Featured: The Things Our Fathers Saw by Matthew A. Rozell Purchase:

    This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption.

    The telephone rings on the hospital floor, and they tell you it is your mother, the phone call you have been dreading. You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away.

    ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn’t talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran

     ‘Rage is instantaneous. He’s looking at me from a crawling position. I didn’t shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal

    ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, ‘I think we’re getting hit with a banzai. We’re going to have to pull back. ‘Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan

    At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracked down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay.

    These are the stories that the magazine could not tell the American public.

    By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask.

    This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed.

    As we forge ahead as a nation, we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for.

    From Matthew A. Rozell:

    I don’t know how to explain the feeling of sitting down and going back to re-listen to and edit these conversations, which in many cases took place years ago. As the writer/historian you spend days if not weeks with each individual, researching their stories, getting under their skin.

    You really have the feeling that you are doing a kind of cosmic CPR, taking their original words and breathing new life in a readable format that places readers at the kitchen table with that person who had something important to say.

    The reader shares the intimate moments with them as he/she gets absorbed in a real story being told. As an interviewer, it happened many times to me directly with our World War II veterans, in living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms all over ‘Hometown USA’, in the classroom, and at reunion’hospitality rooms’ and hotel breakfast tables across America.

    But memories are shortA World War II memoirist once wrote, ‘Ignorance and apathy are the greatest dangers to freedom.’ I agree, but as a lifelong history teacher, I contend that it begins with people simply not being exposed to the history to begin with.

    For how could one not be drawn into these stories, the human drama, the interaction and the emotion that goes into putting an ideal first? After sitting at their table, how could you not give weight to what they have seen, and where they think we are going, as a people, as a nation?

    I saw this spark kindled time and again in my classroom when we got to hear from real people who had a front row seat, who acted in the greatest drama in the history of the world.

    Perhaps now I ramble. Now it is better to have them tell you themselves, about the world they grew up in, the challenges and obstacles placed on life’s course, and how a generation of Americans not only rose to the challenge but built the country and the freedoms that we enjoy today. They truly saved the world. Be inspired. Share their stories; give them voice.

    Lest we forget.

    Review by Raymond H. Mullen:

    Sometimes I wish books could be rated higher than the 5 Star limit. This is one of these times. The one on one interviews along with the personal information of those involved add such character, beauty, and credibility to this most important work of WWII.

    This is a ‘must read’ for any and all persons interested in the most costly and brutal war in our history. You will meet members of our ‘Greatest Generation’ and they will share formerly unheard horrors of WWII.

    This is a book that should be read by all High School students before they graduate into the real world. Never should we forget the price paid for the freedoms we enjoy today. The heroes portrayed in this book will stick with you for some time, as they well should.

    Matthew Rozell is a hero in his own right by giving life to these stories.