I am passionate about storytelling and reviving stories that have been lost to time. My books are accessible, engaging, and packed with colorful characters and episodes that will keep the pages turning.
When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks in every theater of war.
Comprising 1,200 different titles of every imaginable type, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They wrote to the authors, many of whom responded to every letter. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity. They made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.
At a time when civilian periodicals faced strict censorship, US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall won the support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to create an expansive troop-newspaper program. Both Marshall and FDR recognized that there was a second struggle taking place outside the battlefields of World War II—the war of words. While Hitler inundated the globe with propaganda, morale across the US Army dwindled. As the Axis blurred the lines between truth and fiction, the best defense was for American troops to bring the truth into focus by writing it down and disseminating it themselves.
By war’s end, over 4,600 unique GI publications had been printed around the world. In newsprint, troops made sense of their hardships, losses, and reasons for fighting. These newspapers—by and for the troops—became the heart and soul of a unit.
From Normandy to the shores of Japan, American soldiers exercised a level of free speech the military had never known nor would again. It was an extraordinary chapter in American democracy and military history. In the war for “four freedoms,” it was remarkably fitting that troops fought not only with guns but with their pens.
The Myth of Ephraim Tutt explores the true and previously untold story behind one of the most elaborate literary hoaxes in American history.
Arthur Train was a best-selling author of legal fiction in the early twentieth century. His greatest literary creation was the character Ephraim Tutt, a public-spirited attorney who was guided by compassion and a strong moral compass. Over twenty years, Ephraim Tutt attracted a loyal following among general readers and lawyers alike—in fact, Tutt’s fictitious cases were so well-known that attorneys, judges, and law faculty cited them in courtrooms and legal texts.
But in 1943 a most unusual event occurred: Ephraim Tutt published his own autobiography. The possibility of Tutt’s existence as an actual human being became a source of confusion, spurring heated debates. One outraged reader sued for fraud, and the legendary lawyer John W. Davis rallied to Train’s defense. Thousands of letters were written to Tutt, begging him to confirm that he was real. Tutt was a fixture in many people's lives as they weathered the Great Depression and World War II; he renewed their faith in humanity and justice. Although Tutt’s autobiography was a hoax, the great majority of readers were glad to have a record of the “life” story of this cherished character.