Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour and Review: World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware by James Diehl

World War II

Join James Diehl, author of the historical nonfiction book, World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware (The DNB Group, November ‘09), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in November and December on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

Thank you to the author and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for my copy  of World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware for reading and review.

My Review:
Both of my Grandfathers served in WWII along with many great-uncles and others in the family.  I recently became fascinated with this period of time.  I thankfully did get to talk some with my maternal grandfather some about his service in the Pacific before his passing 3 years ago.  I never got to talk with my other grandfather as he passed long before I was born.  As the author mentions in the beginning of this book, we are reaching a time where these stories are starting to disappear and I agree that is vital that these stories are told.  This was a very important time in history and these men (and women) who sacrificed for their country are heroes, even if they don't consider themselves heroes.

James Diehl does a wonderful job telling the stories of 48 men and 2 women who served this country during WWII.  I hope there are more projects like this one in the future for other states.  It was fascinating reading - a first hand look from those that were there.  I'm not a huge history buff, but I loved this book.  My husband will be reading it next as he is a huge history buff.

Each story is just a few pages long, but give you a good look at each person.  I wanted to know more, but each story was very self-contained and interesting.  I loved reading each one and felt I got to know a little bit about each person and got their very personal insight into WWII.

It's wonderfully written for history buffs and for people just interested in the human side of the war.  I think everyone would really enjoy this book, and take something away from it.

About James Diehl

James Diehl 6
James Diehl is an award-winning journalist who has covered Sussex County, Delaware for various media outlets since 1998. Since 2007, he has owned and operated a freelance writing company based in Seaford, Delaware and is also a partner in a Lewes, Delaware-based public relations and marketing firm. He is the author of one other work of non-fiction – “Remembering Sussex County, from Zwaanendael to King Chicken,” published in 2009 by The History Press. James lives in Seaford, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters. You can visit his website at

About World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware

Heroes-Final-Cover World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware is a book unlike any other ever written. In its pages are profiles of 50 ordinary Americans who did extraordinary things during a time unlike any other in American history.
These are men and women who today call southern Delaware home. In the 1940s, these brave Americans put their lives on hold to fight for freedom and democracy against the horrific threat imposed on the world by Emperor Hirohito of Japan and German Fuhrer Adolph Hitler.
When Imperial Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, the world changed forever. These men and women were a big part of that change; they fought to protect our freedom and our way of life.
Among the amazing stories you’ll read in “World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware” are:
  • A United States Marine who was a part of the 1945 attack on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. He was one of 17 members of his company who survived, a company that numbered more than 300 at the beginning of the attack.
  • An Army soldier who was responsible for uncovering Adolph Hitler’s enormous, and illegally gained, fortune toward the end of World War II.
  • An Army navigator who led a group of 500 B-29s over Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, the day the Japanese surrendered to the United States.
  • A United States Navy machinist’s mate who narrowly survived a Japanese kamikaze attack.
  • A United States Marine who witnessed the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor from the deck of a nearby ship.
  • Men who survived German prisoner of war camps.
  • First–hand accounts from the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasion.
  • Two black soldiers who served their country with pride during World War II.
  • Men who liberated German concentration camps.
  • A woman who served her country by becoming a part of the “Rosie the Riveter” movement.
  • And much, much more.
Readers of World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware will also receive a bonus section on Fort Miles, the immense, heavily fortified military facility built to protect the mouth of the Delaware Bay and the city of Philadelphia from an attack by the German navy. Today, the fort is being renovated and will soon become one of the largest World War II museums in the country.

Read the Excerpt!

Ed Roberts will never forget the day American tanks rolled into Moosburg, Germany – more specifically into “the hole” the Germans called Stalag 7-A, a prisoner of war camp where the Pennsylvania native spent nine months as a guest of the German government during World War II. It was, as a fellow prisoner later penned in his memoirs, a day when he saw 10,000 men cry. “You just can’t imagine the joy we felt after almost a year of making do under all kinds of situations,” Roberts says.
When American tanks rolled into the compound and started distributing K-rations, Roberts – who at the time was down to a mere 135 pounds – and his fellow prisoners started gobbling them down like they were candy.
“But after all that time, nothing tasted good,” he remembers.
As a prisoner of war in Germany, Roberts and his fellow captives called themselves kriegies – short for the German word kriegsgefangenan, which appropriately translates to “prisoner of war.”
As a kriegie, Roberts essentially had no rights. But when the American flag was raised over Moosburg in April, 1945, he realized his time in “German hell” was over.
Decades ago, former kriegies started the “Kriegie Klarion,” a monthly newsletter for those who suffered in German prisoner of war camps during World War II. Vernon L. Burda, who was in Stalag 7-A with Roberts, penned the following passage after the camp was liberated by American soldiers on April 29, 1945.
It still rings true to Roberts today.
“…for no apparent reason, a hush fell over the compound and all eyes turned toward the town in which stood two high church steeples. [More than] 20,000 eyes saw machine gun bullets splatter against the steeples – a period of quiet – and then it occurred. [It was] a scene, the happening of which brought tears streaming down the face of every single American prisoner of war there, and a sob from every throat.”
The passage continues: “We saw the greatest sight – the most emotional minute that we would probably ever witness. Raised before our eyes and flying defiantly above one of the church steeples was the symbol of our beloved land. The American flag!”
It was an emotional end to a fantastic journey that saw Roberts leave Pennsylvania State University and transverse the American landscape while training to become a fighter pilot. Joining the U.S. Army Air Corps on Nov. 11, 1942, all he ever wanted to do was fly.
“That was always my interest,” he says simply. “I took all kinds of physical and mental tests and, after that period, people in charge would say if you should be a pilot or a bombardier, or whatever. My classification was a fighter pilot.”
Roberts spent time training across the South, including stops at military facilities in Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Florida. He even spent about a month flying P-47 Thunderbolts at Dover Army Airfield, now Dover Air Force Base. Finally, in the summer of 1944, he was sent to England and assigned to the 412th Squadron of the 373rd Fighter Group.
His unit was based on the beaches of Normandy following the D-Day invasion – Roberts says he’ll never forget the first time he flew over the famed beachhead.
“After the invasion, the Americans stayed in one place and they brought in all kinds of supplies,” says Roberts, who missed participating in the D-Day invasion by just two weeks. “Every free space on that beach was loaded down with supplies. It’s hard for people to understand the enormity of the whole thing. All we could see when flying over was hundreds of ships in the water and lots of supplies on the beaches.”
Taking off from Normandy to the south, Roberts says he would only be in the air for 400 to 500 yards before he was over enemy lines and, thus, taking enemy fire. He flew four missions before being shot down and taken prisoner – he still remembers it as if it was yesterday.

World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware Tour Schedule

Monday, Nov. 2
Interviewed at Talking Virtual Book Tours
Tuesday, Nov. 3
Book Spotlight at Examiner
Wednesday, Nov. 4
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Thursday, Nov. 5
Interviewed at American Chronicle
Friday, Nov. 6
Interviewed on Kim Smith’s Introducing Writers Radio Show (8:30 eastern; adjust to your time zone)
Monday, Nov. 9
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book!
Tuesday, Nov. 10
Guest Blogging at Beth’s Book Review Blog
Wednesday, Nov. 11
Guest Blogging at Market My Novel
Thursday, Nov. 12
Book Spotlight at The Writer’s Life
Friday, Nov. 13
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Monday, Nov. 16
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Interviewed at Broowaha
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Interviewed at In My Youth
Thursday, Nov. 19
Book Spotlight at As the Pages Turn
Friday, Nov. 20
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Monday, Nov. 23
Interviewed at Divine Caroline
Tuesday, Nov. 24
Book Review at Reading to Know
Wednesday, Nov. 25
Interviewed at Review From Here
Friday, Nov. 27
Guest Blogging at Blogging Authors
Tuesday, Dec. 1
Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books
Book spotlighted at Between the Covers

James Diehl’s WORLD WAR II HEROES OF SOUTHERN DELAWARE VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘09 will officially begin on Nov. 2 and end on Dec. 16. You can visit James’ blog stops at during the month of November and December to find out more about this great book and its talented author. If you would like to host James’, contact Dorothy Thompson at before Oct. 31. Thank you!



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