Thursday, January 3, 2013

New and Improved: "Tales of Love, Food, Booze..."

Question: What's new and improved beside Palmolive dishwashing liquid, Dove bath bars, Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream and Chock Full o'Nuts coffee?
Answer: The new and improved, expanded audio edition of "Tales of Love, Food, Booze, Jumping Out of Airplanes, Meeting General Patton and Winning World War II."

"Tales of Love, Food, Booze ..." was conceived in 2008, when Bear Stearns went under and the financial markets collapsed. Then-President George W. Bush issued the first $600 billion bailout of the financial industry. At the time, I was in the early stages of two years and five months of unemployment and figured I could use a bit of a bailout myself. Then it occurred to me that over the years I had interviewed numerous ex-prisoners of war, B-17 and B-24 crew members whose bombers were shot down over Germany; and paratroopers who were captured in combat. All of these men had, in effect, bailed out of airplanes. And so I decided to create my own bailout package.

That was in September of 2008. A few months later, I was digitizing my interview with Charles Feiler, who had been a dentist in the 101st Airborne Division. "Doc" Feiler, who served as a medic during the siege of Bastogne, had recently returned from the hospital and was medicated, which put him in a very good mood. His wife, Lillian, sat in on the interview, as did my neighbor Maurice Tydor, a 101st Airborne veteran who introduced me to the Feilers. Lillian Feiler was British, and had met her "Yank" in London between D-Day and Operation Market Garden. As I was listening to the story of how they met -- she described herself as a "kissless bride" because a day after they were married, Doc Feiler was restricted to base and then sent to Holland during Operation Market Garden, and Lillian didn't hear from her new husband for almost two weeks -- I realized it was Valentine's Day, and I thought I might make a themed audio CD with similar stories. Thus was born the CD "Tales of Love and War."

Next I thought of all the colorful dining and drinking stories I'd recorded over the years. Before you know it I had a CD for each, although the drinking CD has been expanded to two CDs, both of them 100 proof.

All that remained was a collection of stories about General Patton. Some of the veterans were yelled by Patton or witnessed someone else being chewed out by him. Others heard him give a speech or a pep talk and quoted it word for word nearly fifty years later.

And there you have it: Tales of Love, Food, Booze, Jumping Out of Airplanes, Meeting General Patton and winning World War II, eight hours on eight themed CDs excerpted from my hundreds of hours of interviews with people of the World War II era.

Here are some audio excerpts, in mp3 form:

From "Love and War," Art and Ella Hary. Art was a veteran of the 712th Tank Battalion. He and his wife grew up in Hartford, Conn.

From "Food and War," Bob Hamant. Bob was a Marine on the island of Tinian. His interview is included in "Four Marines."
From "Booze and War," Joe Fetsch. Joe was a gasoline truck driver in Service Company of the 712th Tank Battalion. This story was recorded in the Hospitality Suite at a reunion of the battalion.

From "Jumping Out of Airplanes," Hal Mapes. Hal was a waist gunner on a B-17 that was involved in a midair collision near Chartres, France. He was one of only two survivors of the crash.

From "Encounters With General Patton," Russell Loop. Loop was a gunner in the 712th Tank Battalion.
Thanks for listening! The new and expanded "Tales of Love, Food, Booze, Jumping Out of Airplanes, Meeting General Patton and Winning World War II" is available in my eBay store.

Coming soon: "Stories of the unusual and bizarre, faith in a foxhole, and humor in uniform"

And be sure to watch for the April release of my new book "The Armoured Fist," published by the new and exciting British imprint Fonthill Media. Email me at if you'd like information about ordering advance copies. Thanks, Aaron Elson.

P.S.: Here are some more clips from "Food and War."

Here are some clips from the audio CD "Food and War," which is included in the audiobook "Tales of Love, Food, Booze, Jumping Out of Airplanes, Meeting General Patton and Winning World War II."

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