Thank you, Joy, for the great post about Adirondack Bear Tales and a few “interesting” facts about me. Your friendship and support means a great deal. And yes, more memoirs are coming …
Did you know Darren Gilbert played guitar in a rock band while in high school?
Here is a short excerpt from her post:
This guitar-playing, ballroom-dance-winning hitchhiker was born in Ilion, NY, but grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts, nestled in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains. An avid reader, Darren Gilbert particularly enjoys military history, epic sagas, spy novels, and historical fiction.
Joy Neal Kidney
Please click here to read the rest of Joy’s great post!
Joy Neal Kidney is a fellow blogger and author. Her two works, Leora’s Letters and Leora’s Dexter Stories are great reads for anyone interested in American history and the sacrifices earlier generations made so we could have the country most of us are so proud of today.
Please visit Joy Neal Kidney’s Amazon Author Page. And if you haven’t read Adirondack Bear Tales, check it out here!
The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.
In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.
My Thoughts …
Author Joy Neal Kidney has done it again.
After enjoying her first book, Leora’s Letters, I ordered a signed copy from the author when Leora’s Dexter Stories was released. I was not disappointed.
In this amazing second book, Author Joy Neal Kidney shares the struggles, trials, and heartbreaks her family experienced during the Great Depression while living in rural small-town Iowa. Leora’s Dexter Stories is a touching and enlightening story of family, struggle, pain, perseverance, and success.
Joy is the oldest granddaughter of Leora Wilson, who in this true story, faces the daily challenges of keeping a roof over her family’s head, putting food on the table, dealing with tragic losses, and ensuring her seven children’s dreams of success remain in focus. Along with her husband, Clabe, Leora Wilson exemplify what so many American families endured during this difficult period in American history.
However, it was not all gloom and despair. There were also times of fellowship, caring friends and family; and yes, moments of joy. Family trips to the fair, children’s school sports activities and other accomplishments are recounted, as well as moments of humor and laughter (I loved Rusty the Squirrel). Leora’s Dexter Stories is a book that will touch your heart.
While not a collection of short stories, each chapter is short enough and so well crafted, the reader can easily read a them one at a time, and return later to continue with no trouble picking up where they left off. Because of vacation and a crisis at work, this is exactly how I read this book. However, at the same time, it is a book you will not want to put down.
I highly recommend this wonderful book. It is my opinion that this book should be required reading in America’s school systems. I can’t help but think that learning and remembering a bit of what the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of this current generation endured and sacrificed to provide them with the freedoms they take for granted, and a country they often misunderstand, would be a good thing.
About the Author
Joy Neal Kidney, is the oldest granddaughter of the book’s heroine, and is the author of Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss For an Iowa Family During World War II. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and married to a Vietnam War Air Force veteran. Joy lives in central Iowa and is a regular storyteller for “Our American Stories.”
It might be fun to learn a little WWII history while staying at home and helping control the spread if Covid-19! John Purvis provides some great links to documentaries on the subject that are free to view.
I saw a tweet from @WWIIFoundation a short time ago that I thought was worth sharing. It said:
If you or your students, kids, adults are looking for things to do to stay occupied, please know ALL our World War II films are available to watch for free on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
If you visit their website (https://wwiifoundation.org/) you will find nearly 30 documentary videos covering WWII. This website offers something to fill some of the time while we are confined at home and to learn more about WWII.
If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest.
The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 360 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
A Collection of True-Life Stories That Will Change Your life
Thank God I Failed by Des is a moving, often poignant collection of stories about actual events in her life; events that many of us would not have the courage to share.
From the sometimes painful memories of early childhood through bad relationships, depression, and addiction to forgiveness, acceptance, and peace, this is a story of real Faith. The kind of Faith that can move mountains or simply change one life for the better.
This author courageously shares with her readers her stories of pain, depression, drugs, alcohol, and toxic relationships. She also shares stories about mental illness and even attempted suicide. Her story is one of sinking to the bottom and then, somehow finding the strength to climb up out of the abyss.
Today, Des lives as a happier, healthier, fulfilled woman, living a life about which she previously could only dream. While life may never be perfect, she now lives a life that is truly at peace with who she is and her place in this world.
It was her constantly growing Faith that gave Des the strength to change the course of her life. That same belief provides her with the courage to share her story with her readers in the hope that they too, can transform their lives. The stories contained in this book will touch readers, heart and soul, and they are a real example of the wondrous change true Faith can achieve.
When I read this author’s compelling book, I was struck by the brutal honesty and sincere feelings of pain, despair, hope and compassion in her stories … as well as the valuable life-lessons to be found within them. Des’ story is an amazing tale of redemption, forgiveness, and change driven by a deep belief in a loving God.
I believe this is this author’s first book and therefore it may not be as polished or smooth as something written by a more experienced or professional author. But it is that fact, that allows the author’s honesty and courage to shine through. Her voice has not been edited out of the narrative and because of that, this is not just another dry self-help book. This is her story as told by her. It is that raw, unfiltered honesty that makes this book unique and special, and therefore, very powerful.
Yes! Faith can indeed move mountains. And therefore, it can also transform a life for the better.
Walk a mile or so in Des’ shoes. Take a look into her life and perhaps you will find the hope within yours. You can check out Des’ moving and inspirational story on Amazon!
ON THE BATTLEFIELD: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier
On the Battlefield: A Memoir of an Ethiopian Airborne Soldier tells the incredible story of one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated combat generals.
Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam is one of Ethiopia’s greatest military leaders. General Habtemariam’s career spanned three decades and survived three different Ethiopian governments. From 1964 to 1991, he commanded troops on the battlefield in nearly every engagement in which the Ethiopian military saw action.
Drawing on his wartime journals, notes, letters and memories, Habtemariam discusses his childhood and military career. From working with Israeli commandos to form a new “Special Forces” unit to establishing the Anti-hijacking Office. From training several Ethiopian Airborne Battalions to commanding several large units, Habtemariam served his country as only a true patriot would.
This fascinating memoir details military actions on the battlefield as well as covert operations behind enemy lines and includes detailed diagrams, battle plans, and photographs. General Habtemariam shares details of the heroic escape in which he and his few remaining men, half-starved and out of ammunition, prepared to fight to the death. Charging the enemy position with fixed bayonets, they discover it suddenly abandoned. The enemy just pulled out! Now, instead of dying in battle, they find themselves struggling to cross a dangerous desert wasteland to rejoin their forces … hopefully living to fight another day.
Tesfaye Habtemariam took part in eight major battles. He later commanded a battalion in the Special Forces, the 18th Mountaineer Division, and the Airborne Training School. Finally, he became the Army Commander of the Tewodros Force. Brigadier General Tesfaye Habtemariam received the “Hero of Ethiopia” medal from a grateful nation after thirty years of selfless sacrifice and service to his country.
If you enjoy military history, this is one book you will definitely want in your collection.
A fascinating read!
I received an advance release copy of this book and found it to be a fascinating read. It provided a window into a military history I previously knew so little about. This book is not just the memoir of an Ethiopian military general and hero. It is also the story of Ethiopia’s attempts to rebuild itself. Ethiopia struggled to reshape and regain its independence from European administration after the Italian invasion and occupation during World War II.
In addition it is also a story about sacrifice, honor, victory and yes, even defeat. It is about bureaucratic incompetence, individual heroics, and a people willing to die to defend their brothers-in-arms and their country.
There is an interesting flair to the narrative. This makes it a different yet enjoyable read. Originally written by Tesfaye Habtemariam in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, it was later translated into English. Therefore, the prose has a unique character, but is very clear and easy to read. I give this book 5 Stars and recommend it to anyone interested in military history.
Voices from the past … from World War III … telling tales for today’s children.
It looks like John Purvis over at John’s Notes came up with another little gem on his blog! I certainly would have enjoyed something like this when I was in school. I like the fact that this work of non-fiction shares stories from soldiers and civilians from both sides … Allies and Axis.
John gave it a 3.8 out of 5! I think this was mostly because, according to his review, some of the stories began to get repetitive toward the end. I bet a great many of the stories are very moving. The cover is vintage WWII recruitment poster-type artwork. I have a feeling I will be checking this book out … maybe on Audible.
John’s review of this book intrigued me, so I went to Amazon.com and took a look, and read some additional reader reviews. It has a great overall rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars after a total of 17 Customer Reviews, with 59% being 5 Stars and an additional 18% being 4 Stars. Definitely, a strong showing since its publication date of February 22, 2018.
I do love reading WWII history. My other big favorite is Vietnam War history. This is probably fairly apparent if you read my novel, Serpents Underfoot. Anyway, I guess I will be adding Morning Star, Midnight Sun to my Audible collection. Military history, in general, has always been fascinating to me. As a youngster, I received many books on military history as Christmas gifts. Now I am even experimenting with military flash fiction! Who would have thought of such a thing!
If you like WWII history, you should check this book out. You might also want to check out some of the other reviews on John’s Notes; especially if you are a Mac user!
And, if you like exciting military fiction with a touch of romance, political intrigue, and family values … check out my book, Serpents Underfoot, on Amazon.com!
And, Kindle readers … don’t forget the giveaway memorial Day Weekend!
No Gray Areas … The Autobiography of Stuart Hopkins
Stuart Hopkins is truly a real-life ‘Piano Man.” In his autobiography, No Gray Areas, Hopkins writes of his life experiences as an international hotel pianist. It is indeed quite a story, and one that will tug at your heartstrings.
From his early childhood years living with a distant, abusive father and his alcoholic mother to working as a pianist in some of the finest hotels in Southeast Asia, Stuart Hopkin’s life story runs the complete gamut from wondrous and magnificent experiences to seeing first hand some of the worst tragedy, heartbreak, and sadness life can send our way. Beginning with his first paid gig at age fifteen at the Broom Grange Hotel near his home to gigs on ships and international hotels, and through several near brushes with death, No Gray Areas, tells the fascinating tales of human interaction, some hilarious and some tragic.
Thailand Tsunami of 2004
In his autobiography, Hopkins tells the tale of working at a hotel in Phuket, Thailand during the Tsunami of 2004. He writes about families comforting each other in the hotel lobby bar,. These people are just happy to still be together after such a disaster. Guests were comforting complete strangers. Members of the hotel staff were hugging and crying with guests. The author writes, “The most heartbreaking thing I saw were those guests who’d come to Thailand with their loved ones. Many who would be traveling home next to an empty seat.”
Hopkins survived the tragic Tsunami in Thailand as well as three months spent in a brutal Thai prison on false charges of fraud. He writes of having a beer in a ship’s bar with the ghost of his long dead brother. In addition, he tells of breaking a long-standing 30-year soloing record at Norwich Flying School. These are just a few of the stories readers of this compelling autobiography will enjoy.