Autumn 1943

by James L. Clark

Three-fourths of the 16,000,000 brave warriors of World War II died, ironically before the time the WWII Memorial was dedicated in 2004 in the nation’s capitol. Some have called them a part of the “greatest generation.” Certainly, just as the Civil War was the watershed event of the nation’s first full century, WWII assumed that designation in its second, as well as defining the nation itself to be a bastion of freedom preserved by blood sacrifice. This novel is a simple but gripping story of the people, places, and things concerning that circumstance in one small corner of the nation, one of a particular uniqueness owing to its threefold connection militarily with the preparation for and the results of that conflict. In the book, the lives of people from varying walks of life and locations around the world converge in an unlikely setting in which they face personal questions within the context of both the material and the spiritual.

By September 1943 in the small town of Danton, Kentucky, the government had converted the college into an Army Air Corps pre-preflight facility, the nearby state mental-hospital into a treatment center for GIs suffering battle-fatigue, and installed a satellite POW camp in the south-end of town. Major Sam Ross, a fighter pilot shot down and badly wounded in Tunisia, reluctantly arrives to take command of the Air Corps facility. Once a roaring-twenties, then depression-era saloon piano-player, he forges a bond with the commanding officers of the hospital and POW camp, and forms a small band to both entertain all the troops and, hopefully, provide therapy. Falling in love with a witty, attractive widow still embittered by the loss of her husband, he tries to overcome the obstacles impacting their relationship. Concomitant with or bearing upon his responsibilities, decisions, and actions are those of an itinerant evangelist gassed in WWI and his musically gifted wife; an anti-Nazi German POW; efforts to heal mentally scarred veterans; a wise, one-legged, railroad-crossing watchman and veteran of the Spanish-American War; a ministerial student searching for meaning to it all, and a beautiful, night-club songstress. In the process, Ross and the widow begin spiritual pilgrimages, finding some answers to hard questions. The precise time-frame – Autumn 1943.

Autumn 1943

ISBN: 9780595258901 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780595654093 (cloth)

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