Monday, January 18, 2016

We Bought a WWII Bomber: A Review and A Giveaway

Congratulations to Dorothy Price who won an autographed copy of Kiss of Broken Glass.

Here are three observations about WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER by North Carolina author, Sandra Warren:

1. Sandra did a great deal of research. The amount of details in this book for adults and teens is reflected in the extensive bibliography. 

2. Today's teenagers are different than the patriotic, self-sacrificing teenagers who lived seventy years ago. Those students learned how to live with shortages of food, how to collect materials that could be re-purposed for the war effort, and willingly participated in scrap metal drives and rationing. Would we see that type of commitment and patriotism today?

3. I knew that Kate and Lillie, the protagonists in my book, Half-Truths, would have been in elementary school during World War II. Reading this book made the time period come alive for me and helped me think more deeply about how those shortages affected them.

WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER is the story of a dedicated group of junior and senior high students who raised more than $375,000 by selling War Bonds and War Stamps to purchase a B-17 bomber. The story begun in 1942 by a quiet student, Arthur Blackport, when he suggested that his fellow students at South High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan work together to purchase a Flying Fortress. 
Arthur Blackport
Not only did the students raise enough money to purchase the bomber, 
Queen La Vonne Kronberg, Col. A.C. Faulk
Mr. Henry Mulder, Mr. Harry Brown

but they also successfully raised money to buy an advanced trainer plane,
Queen LaVonne Kronberg, Jean Endless, Velma Kling, Lucille Hice
Barbara Northway, Margaret McCarthy AT-6A Advanced Trainer

as well as two disaster vehicles (which were a combination canteen, ambulance, and hospital car), and sixty-three fully equipped landing barges. 
U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph
Gift in Memory of Maurice T. White
Collection of the National WWII Museum
After the bomber was officially christened and flown off, the students wondered what happened to it. "How many battles had it won? How many German or Japanese planes had it destroyed?" (p. 49)

For seventy years no one knew what happened to the plane. The students heard rumors, but no facts. But in 2012, at her Class of 1962 fiftieth South High reunion, a remark which Sandra Warren made about "Searching for the Spirit" prompted a fellow classmate, Joe Rogers, to start digging for the truth. 

Joe uncovered the fate of "The Spirit of South High" which enabled Sandra to write this story. 
WWII USAAF aviation plug socket FOUND by
John Reynolds, May 3, 2015 at the crash site,
Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Click here for a FOX news interview with Sandra Warren about the book. 

Sandra's attention to detail made this period come alive for me and I hope the book will inspire you. I am happy to give away my autographed copy of WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER. Please leave me a comment by 6 PM on Thursday, January 21 and your email address if you are new to this blog. PLUS--if you are in or near Central Florida, Sandra is speaking at the World War II study club on January 29 at the Colony Recreation Center in The Villages from 1-3 PM. Come on by and meet the author!


Linda Phillips said...

This is such a great story and I'm so glad you featured it, Carol. Sandra, you've done an outstanding job and I'm sure it is going to touch many hearts along the way.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda. Your name starts the list!!

Linda A. said...

I enjoyed this review in photos.

I purchased a copy of Sandra's book. I haven't managed to read it yet; however, my mom enjoyed it very much. I'm next. No need to be included in the drawing since I have a copy of my own.

Carol, I love that you read this book to enrich the characters in your book in progress. Great idea!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Thus history lover would love to read Sandra's story. Thanks Carol for spotlighting it and for giving away your copy.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for leaving comments Connie and LInda. You're in Connie!

Sandra Warren said...

Thank you Carol for the wonderful blog about the bomber story. I love that it inspired you to rethink how the characters in your WIP react or act as they live through WWII. That's one reaction to the book I could never have predicted.

Thank you also to the two Linda's and Connie for your comments. I hope it opens unexpected avenues of discussion with elderly family members and friends who lived through that great war.

This is one story that practically wrote itself. I wish for every writer a story that grabs their heart and won't let go until the last "T" is crossed and "I," dotted.


Carol Baldwin said...

That's what we all need-- stories that won't let go of us, Sandra! Thanks for sharing this important piece of history with the world.

sheri levy said...

Wow! Great trailer. I must read this book and share with my grand boys.
Thanks for sharing, Carol. And Sandra, thanks for writing such a fascinating story!
Sheri Levy

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sheri. You're in!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Thank you for sharing about Sandra Warren and her book, "We Bought a WWII Bomber!" My husband, Carl and I love her book and the heartwarming dedication and compassion the students had in striving to help the war effort. Don't add my name. Stories that tell the facts and include the strong emotions help us understand the people of certain periods of time. I believe Sandra's book and your Half-Truths book show that both of you know how to involve and pull in the readers.

Good luck to both of you with your writing and your books!

Never Give Up

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Joan. You are such an encouraging person!!

Unknown said...

Very admirable; patriotism at is most basic level: young people with homegrown values and a strong sense of love for their country.

The WWII museum in New Orleans, LA exhibits planes and other vehicles form WWII in addition to great exhibits with wings dedicated to the European theater and the South Pacific.

What makes it so unique are the WWII veterans who give their time to sit at certain exhibits and relate stories from the war. Many of those veterans have photo albums to share, too.

Rosi said...

Wow. This sounds like an amazing story. Not only would I like to read it, but my husband would surely love it and then there are my history-loving daughters, grandson, and sisters. I think this book would be well-read in my family. Thanks for telling me about it and for a chance to win.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
You're very welcome. You're an encouraging person, too!

Do something fun today just because you want to do it.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Rosi and Dan. That museum, Dan, sounds like one that Rosi's family would really enjoy. DOn't forget to leave me your contact information, Dan, in case you win!

Gretchen Griffith said...

Great post, Carol, and great book trailer, Sandra. I've read the book also, so put my name on the already has a copy list so someone else can win. It's a book full of history and surprising discoveries. I highly recommend it!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Gretchen. Appreciate the comment and I know Sandra has appreciated your support!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

What an inspiring story that touches the heart! Thanks so much for sharing Sandra's book with your readers. I'll be sure to check it out. Congratulations to Sandra!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Clara. You're in!

Anonymous said...

Interesting story, Sandra. Thanks for sharing it with us, Carol. I remember collecting rubber and metal with my mother who was a "Rosie the Riveter" at Lockheed in L.A. Mother wasn't actually a riveter, she was Lockheed's first female tool and dye designer. But I remember having War Bonds. I also remember Mother being extremely angry with neighbors who took my sister with them when they went to the black market. I also remember Mother christening a ship with a bottle a champagne. She had to smash it against the bow 3 or 4 times before the bottle shattered. Sandra, I'm glad you told the story so kids today can learn something more about that era. I don't think children today are any less altruistic, they just haven't been involved in what's happening in the world as much as we were. Sarah, author of "Terror's Identity."

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sarah, for your memories and perspective. I think kids today have so many more "things" that the idea of sacrifice is often lost to them. Hard times can develop character!

Sandra Warren said...

Sarah, Thank you for you comment and sharing the story of your mother's job as the first female tool and die maker at Lockheed during the war. I do hope you've recorded her story on a digital recorder and perhaps have it in your mind to write her story someday, if not for the world, at least for your family. What an amazing historically relevant story she has to tell.

Are you aware of the Veteran's History Project through the Library of Congress? They're recording or trying to record and file the stories of ALL VETERANS from all wars, especially WWII. Google "Veterans History Project Brochure" and you'll find a link to download the brochure that explains how and what to submit. Basically, a veteran digitally records and/or video tapes showing photographs themselves telling their story. It's a wonderful thing. Please consider having your mother do it. That way her generations down the road can access her story. It's a WONDERFUL program that I discovered while researching my book.

Thank you for sharing this marvelous memory.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sandra, for sharing that information about the Veterans History Project. It would be cool if Sarah follows through with this.

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