Thursday, December 17, 2015

"cornhuskers go to war" by tom kruger with jeff hower

In early March, I got an interesting phone call. Jeff Hower, one of the authors of Cornhuskers Go To War, wanted to know if I'd be interested in proofreading the book and giving my thoughts. I agreed, though with a bit of trepidation. You see, I had no doubt that I could proofread well/offer editorial comments. That's kind of my thing. But I wasn't sure if I'd like the book, and what would I tell Jeff if I hated it?

Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about!

On January 1, 1941, Nebraska football coach Biff Jones led his Cornhuskers-with names like Harry Hippity Hopp from Hastings, G.I.'s King Kong Royal Kahler, the Star City's Own Eddie Schwartzkopf, Hermie the German Rohrig, and Forrest Behm, Al Zikmund from Ord, Walter "the Butcher" Luther of Cambridge, and Cowboy Roy Petsch of Scottsbluff -out to Pasadena to play the biggest game of their lives: the 1941 Rose Bowl. Before the end of World War II , nearly all of these Nebraskans were proudly wearing the uniform of their country. This is the bigger-than-life story of how they lived and how they died . . . Celebrate and remember with us the 75th anniversary of that first Nebraska bowl game and of the entry of our nation into the Second World War. 

When I began reading Cornhuskers Go To War, I was simply doing my job. As I continued reading, though, I found myself drawn into the stories—stories about Butch Luther (and his fascinating sister Marylou), Al Zikmund, and other Huskers. And then there are the name drops—famous people who just happened to figure into these Nebraska boys' stories. People like Senator Bob Dole and football player/broadcaster Tom Harmon (father to NCIS star Mark Harmon). Kruger and Hower have written this book in such a way that you feel like you're sitting in a room with them, listening as they recount the stories they've gathered.

Whether you're a history buff, a Husker football fan, or just someone who enjoys reading a good story, you'll love Cornhuskers Go To War. It would also make a great Christmas gift! You can get your copy through the website, on Amazon, or at Hy-Vee and Bossleman Travel Center in Nebraska. 4-1/2 stars.

Note: So I just have to share this—I'm pretty sure this is the first time I ever saw my name in a book! (And if you know Jeff, you'll recognize that the last sentence sounds exactly like something he'd say!)

Tom P. Kruger graduated in 1974 from Shelton High School, located in a small farming community along the Platte River in central Nebraska. He went on to college at Kearney State and holds an undergraduate degree in history and social sciences as well as a graduate degree in high school administration. He taught and coached in St. Paul, NE, and Lexington, NE. He was a principal at Lexington High School and assistant principal at Grand Island Senior High School. He retired after thirty years as an educator. Tom also had a second career in the military. After graduating from college and completing four years of Army ROTC, Tom was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the armor branch of the Army. He is a graduate of Armor Officer Basic Course as well as Advanced Armor Office Course for Armor Captains. He spent his last fourteen years in the Army National Guard and retired as a Major and operations officer for the 195 Armor Battalion. 

Tom lives in Grand Island, where he and wife Ronda raised their three sons--Heath, Cole, and Tad. He is currently researching and interviewing more veterans to complete Cornhuskers Go To War: The European Theater and Cornhuskers Go To War: Meet Me in Manila. Over the years, Tom has conducted over a hundred interviews with war veterans from WWI to Desert Storm to present day. Most of these interviews were conducted with WWII warriors. His experiences and military education and a life-time as a military historian made the writing of Cornhuskers Go To War a labor of love and a tribute that honors all who have worn the uniform honorably, and especially the WWII veterans. “When we honor one we honor all.”

Jeff Hower makes his living by helping Nebraska farmers make theirs: he works in the pivot and irrigation supply business.  Oh—and he was once upon a time a high school English teacher and school administrator with the Grand Island Public Schools.

Jeff also writes the news and a weekly column for the Central City (Nebraska) Republican-Nonpareil, and has filed numerous interviews with veterans and their family members in the attempt to document the memories and legacies of American heroes.   Cornhuskers Go To War is an extension of his interest in the men and women who built—and are building—the story of this great nation.

Jeff and his wife Daurice live in Grand Island, where they are raising their two children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I read an early copy of this book and was not asked to review it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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