A Journey into War is the story of a young farm boy from Minnesota, Steve Kenrude, becomes of age as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941. After completion of high school, he enlists in the Army much to the dismay of his parents and girlfriend. During basic training Steve meets another young recruit named Harry Jensen. The two men become fast friends that will benefit both of them once they arrive in Europe. Completing Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, both men join the Army Airborne, becoming members of the 101st Airborne Division. After completing training a Camp Toccoa, they are off to England on the dangerous North Atlantic, where they get their first taste of the brutalities of war during a submarine attack. Once in England, their unit prepares for the invasion of Normandy. However Steve meets a young British woman who instantly becomes attracted to Steve, as he also becomes attracted to her. Steve becomes totally confused over his feelings for the woman, as he has promised to marry his girlfriend when he returns from the war. This is a struggle Steve never thought could ever happen.
As the invasion of Normandy arrives, Steve is all business pushing his personal issues to the side. He and his men become involved in many conflicts with German forces through out the hedgerow country. Deaths of many of his men haunt him as they fight for their survival. After being wounded and sent back to England to recover, Steve once again joins his unit for the battle of Operation Market Garden and then the Battle of the Bulge.
Throughout the book, I write chapters regarding what is happening on the home front, so the reader can understand how the war effected families at home while their soldier was dealing with the rigors of combat. The stories of the people back home is equally important, as they suffered many deprivations in order to keep our forces supplied with the equipment they required.
After Steve leaves Camp Toccoa all dates, military bases and battles are historically accurate. I don't believe any historical fiction novel about World War II has ever followed this format. Although the book is graphic at times, I believe the story is something every American could relate to, and would enjoy reading about. The story is much more then just a war novel. It truly is a study of human emotion brought to the edge by a war they could not control. In preparing my manuscript I spoke with many World War II survivors and family members that awaited their return. I also parachuted from a plane, so I could experience the opening of a parachute and what is was like to drop back to earth. I also flew in a C-47 Dakota to experience what the aircraft was all about. A Journey into War is truly The Great American war novel.
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