An American God

Every fifteen February we come down to Tanna for John Frum’s Day. Chief Isaac, he give us the GIs we all wear, each one with a flag. My woman Wanda at the time, she embroider the flags on here, as you see. These rifle we make ourself from the bamboo, except for Chief Isaac. Chief […]

B-17 Research

In the extensive rewrite of The Ruining Heaven I am taking the opportunity to catch all variety of technical errors that riddled my first few drafts. As often as possible, I rely on research materials such as direct interviews with veterans (now almost impossible, because the the novel is seventy-five years ago) or interviews. Best of […]

Writing About the Good War

World War Two is making a comeback. Look at the movies. Unbroken, The Imitation Game and Fury, all within this last year. Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, The Pacific, not to mention the upcoming Mighty Eighth. Books, too. The Book Thief, Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, In Harm’s Way. World War Two has long been considered a good war, a just war. Evil was […]

Two Raids, Same Outcome

Hawser‘s combat scenes were pretty grueling to write, especially two of them. The 351st Bomb Group, operating out of Polebrook Air Station in the Midlands, started in earnest during the spring of 1943. My August, they were in high gear. All four squadrons flew at least one big mission a week and often more. Many […]

The Mighty Eighth

I am really excited that the team who brought us The Pacific and Band of Brothers is making another epic. This time they are telling the story of the harrowing bombing campaign against Germany with a focus on the awful early period when 60% casualty rates were the norm. Sound familiar? The project, from Playtone Productions, was […]

Devil in the details

I have always been a stickler for period accuracy. I almost dismissed The Godfather  because there was somebody wearing 1970s glasses  in the party scene. It gets ridiculous. When Roger Sterling did his blackface song and dance on Mad Men, I was furious that they showed the drummer playing an 80s K Zildjian cymbal (though in later […]

POW camps were nothing to laugh at.

  Like many other young American kids, I grew up watching Hogan’s Heroes. It was about WWII, featured a charismatic protagonist in a great costume (Hogan made the A-4 jacket cool long before Indiana Jones made his debut) and was pretty funny. We used to play POW when I was a kid. The game mostly consisted of […]

Revision almost complete

Any owner of an old car will tell you that if you change one part of it, you may be upsetting the balance. My old BMW convertible recently had an A/C  recharge, and the hoses blew as a result. If you own an old house, the same is true but even more so– pry up […]

Researching WWII

Ken Burns famously remarked that his principal motivation for making The War was reading somewhere that a thousand veterans of WWII a day were dying. I believe this was around 2001 or so–the rate has fallen off sharply because there just aren’t that many of them left. If you were 18 on June 6th, 1944, that […]