Sunday, February 3, 2019
Book Review: 'Finding St. Lo: A Memoir of War and Family' by Ted Neill, Gordon Cross, and Robert Fowler
‘The 35th Infantry Division stopped Hitler’s best troops’
Author Ted Neill is the founder and executive editor of Tenebray Press and in addition to his own twelve published books that explore issues related to science, religion, class, and social justice, he actively supports new authors and travels the globe as an educator, health professional, and journalist. He also has worked at an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS in Africa. His humanistic approach to life serves as the nidus for the plots of his novels.
2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D Day and it is most appropriate that Ted Neill presents us with an unforgettable history of that momentous battle of WW II, not as an author, but rather as an editor of the writings of Gordon Cross and Robert Fowler, a medic and a sergeant, both of whom were present and captured the horrors and the historical significance of that event in memoir format.
Ted opens the book explaining his relationship to the two authors (relatives), sensitively describing the personalities of the authors in a manner that allows the reader to better appreciate the words that fill the rest of the book. The ‘after the war’ personality changes of these Grampas reflects so much of what war does to the men and women who have fought and survived that Ted’s author/editor role brings a strong impact not only on the memoirs that follow but also on the insanity of the concept of war – then, throughout history, and now.
The book is rich is color photographs, and black and white photographs of the authors and their fellow soldiers in Europe during the war, and field maps, all of which add to the excitement of reading this important book. The actual words in writing of Cross and Fowler are poignant and visual and there likely has never been such a successful combination of words and images and impact in the accessible format of a book as this.
As a brief outline of the content, a publicist as written, ‘Finding St. Lo provides a raw look at the devastation of war from those who were there. The memoir includes firsthand accounts of two men from the 134th Infantry Army Regiment: front line medic Gordon Edward Cross and Sergeant Robert Lewis Fowler. Both men landed on Omaha Beach in the summer of 1944 and participated in the Normandy invasion. Also included are essays by Fowler’s grandson, Ted Neill, filling out the rest of his grandfather’s story and revealing the impact of the war on three generations of family. With the 75 year anniversary of D-Day taking place this year, Finding St. Lo is particularly timely, as it provides a raw look at WWII from those who were there, and Gordon Cross' never-before-seen photography taken during his deployment in Europe.’
FINDING ST. LO is successful on many levels and should be required reading for veterans, families of veterans, and anyone who has been touched by the shock of war. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, February 19
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.