Rick Atkinson Plans to Refight the Revolutionary War

Rick Atkinson’s Guns at Last Light has topped bestseller lists since May. It was the third volume in the “Liberation Trilogy,” his epic history of World War II, and now the two-time Pulitzer winner has reupped for another conflict: the Revolutionary War. Atkinson, 60 (left), spent a grueling 15 years researching and writing the three WWII books (which now have a combined 900,000 copies in print). But “the American Revolution has always had a grip on my imagination,” he says. …

Bob Fletcher: An Unsung Hero During World War II

Robert Emmett “Bob” Fletcher, who died on May 23 at age 101 in the Sacramento area, fought heroically to defend his fellow Americans during World War II, though he never put on a uniform or fired a shot. His struggle, though, was not against the Axis powers. Rather, it was  against an injustice perpetrated by the U.S. government itself: the 1942 forced relocation of 122,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them citizens, to internment camps, where they were held without charges out …

Does Your Mayor Have More ‘Seniority’ Than Richard Wills?

Meet the “un-politician.” When we telephoned Richard Wills, the 93-year-old mayor of Negaunee, Mich., he wasn’t all that sure that he even wanted to talk about himself. And he was especially reticent to talk about his service in World War II, where he fought in five battles, including the landing on Omaha Beach, on “D-Day Plus Two.” It was a friend’s idea, not his, to reach out around the country to find out if Wills is America’s oldest mayor. (Seemed …

A Time to Remember

I had not seen Rose Toren for almost 15 years, until last weekend, when I decided that if anyone deserved tribute on this special holiday of memory and celebration, it was she. Memorials apply to many sorrows. She had just reached the age of 90 and, beset by failing health, seemed frail and detached, paying the price of time and grief in a prevailing mood of sadness that had deepened over the years. But, despite that, one could also clearly …

Walter Cronkite’s WWII Letters Home in New Book

Before he was the voice of his generation and “the most trusted man in America,” Walter Cronkite was a 20-something war correspondent writing letters home to his new wife. Now his namesake and grandson, Walter Cronkite IV, has complied the letters in a book, Cronkite’s War: His World War II Letters Home. The grandson, a recent college graduate, is working in Washington these days at, of course, CBS News. That’s where Cronkite, who died in 2009, anchored the evening news after …

George Smith: A Native American Who Helped Win WWII

George Smith and his fellow Navajo code talkers played an important but long under-appreciated role in defeating the Japanese in the bloody, hard-fought Pacific islands campaign during World War II. Smith, who died on Oct. 30 at age 90 in Window Rock, Ariz., was part of a group of about 400 Native Americans who transmitted battlefield communications in a fashion that baffled Japanese code-breakers – by talking on the radio in their own indigenous languages. That tactic was so effective, in fact, that the …