Twenty-First Century Books/
Millbrook Press, 2001
Thomas Dunne Books/
St. Martin's Press, 2008
Carol Edgemon Hipperson welcomes feedback from readers.
For a personal reply to your question or comment, email the author at this address:
Below is a selection of the author's replies to readers' questions and comments, April-June 2009.
"My mom finished your book yesterday, and I thought I'd pass on a couple of her
thoughts, just for fun, as she says she loved your book! She says it gave her a
better/fuller picture of the war in the Pacific than she ever had before. She said
that living it, limited her perspective, as the news media limited so much of the
information available to the public on what was going on. I think her comments
about the Radioman talking about his experiences on being on leave in Seattle
were great, but it was the one about his choice in who to have dinner with that was
the best. He chose dinner and a concert, and ended up going to a Yehudi
Menuhin concert! (I probably didn't spell his name right.) Yehudi was one of
Mom's favorites in those days.
She really appreciated that the story was in the first person, as it gave her more of
a feeling of being right there with him throughout. She felt his pain in some of the
Pacific scenes you outlined.
Thanks from my Mom."
4/29/09 email reply to Pat in Seattle from Carol Edgemon Hipperson
"You can't imagine how much it pleases me to hear that your mother found
Radioman interesting and enjoyable to read. Because she is herself a member of
the World War II generation and an eyewitness to the war years in America, I
consider her favorable opinion among the highest of compliments. Please tell her I
said, 'Thank you!'"
4/30/09 email from Eric--Valdosta, Georgia . . .
"Hi, I recently read your book as part of a history course I am taking at Valdosta State University. I found the
book to be very interesting. I suppose that reading a firsthand account of the events in history is better than
reading a textbook. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Thanks."
5/1/09 email reply to Eric from Carol Edgemon Hipperson . . .
"Thanks for writing, Eric. I am happy to know that Radioman has been accepted as part of the curriculum at
Valdosta State University. I know what you mean about history textbooks. I find them useful for distilling the
cause and effect of any historical event, including the world’s first truly global war, but the majority of Americans
are not professional historians. For most people, textbooks are dry, and History is just a list of dates and
events. They’re not very meaningful or exciting until they come in the context of a story from an eyewitness.
Only a Pearl Harbor Survivor can tell America’s story of World War II at first hand from ground zero. Radioman
is one of those. I’m glad you enjoyed the experience of getting that part of your country’s History straight from
the horse’s mouth."
from Matt--Spokane, Washington . . .
RE: Radioman and The Belly Gunner
"Radioman was a happy read for me. I enjoyed Ray. He was the everyman, the
guy caught up in History. As I started reading, the war became secondary to this
man’s journey into the unknown. Fate pulled him, fate controlled him, fate saved
him. I heard his voice as I read. It brought home the stories that my father never
told me, answered the questions I never asked. So in some ways it provided me a
keyhole into my own history.
Being a child of post-World War II, I engulfed every book on the war I could read
and lived the battles and the machines. But your latest book, as did The Belly
Gunner, let me look into the lives of the brave men and women who were snatched
up by History, those who fought and died and those who lived and never related
their tale. Radioman opened the door and let a story of an ordinary man come out
into the generations that followed because of men and women like Ray. Thanks.
P.S. I bought my 87-year old mother a copy also. She loved The Belly Gunner and
will relish Radioman."
5/2/09 emailed reply from Carol Edgemon Hipperson . . .
"Thank you for your insightful comments, Matt. I think you are in the majority. I
doubt if there are very many children of the World War II generation in any country
who have ever heard their fathers’ memories of the war years. In some families, the
children were told not to ask those kinds of questions. In others, it was simply
understood that 'Daddy doesn’t like to talk about it.'
I have never met a combat veteran of any war who was eager to discuss what he
saw and did and thought—before, during, or after the battles. For both Radioman
and The Belly Gunner, I had to drag it out of them, one question at a time. The
only reason either of those men consented to it was their acceptance of my basic
premise: that the real story of what happens when America goes to war will never
be found in the memoirs of the politicians or the officers who planned and
organized the battles. It’s in the memories—and the nightmares—of the young men
and women who fought them."
5/3/09 email from Bob--Holmdel, New Jersey . . .
interesting read. Please forward my thanks to Ray Daves for his sacrifice and contribution
in WW II. Adding to the enjoyment of reading the book were the Time Line and Historical
Notes for each chapter. I read them as I finished each chapter and found that it added to
my understanding. I could have saved a lot of page flipping if they had been incorporated
within the text between each chapter so they would be a more integral part of the book.
I'm now inspired to go out and get The Belly Gunner. It will be a tough act to follow!"
5/4/09 emailed reply to Bob from Carol Edgemon Hipperson
"Thanks, Bob. I have forwarded your note to Ray Daves. Like most combat veterans, he
has never been comfortable with being called a ‘hero,’ but he always appreciates it when
anyone tells him ‘thank you for your service.’
As for the editorial team’s decision to place Radioman’s historical notes and time lines for
each chapter at the end of the book, I think your point is well taken. Anyone who wants to
see the facts that verify and clarify this eyewitness account of the war years has to flip to the
Appendix as you did. However, had all those facts and dates appeared as footnotes or
sidebars to each chapter, it might have reduced the book’s attractiveness to many readers.
Perhaps they would have thought Radioman was designed as a college textbook, rather
than the fast-paced story of love and war that it really is.
The Belly Gunner was my first book in military history, the history of the war in Europe from
the point of view of a typical American enlisted man. It was also based on a long series of
interviews, and it is also annotated with historical facts and dates. It just doesn’t have quite
as many of them."
5-4-09 email from Bill--Jonesboro, Arkansas . . .
"I read the Radioman with great interest and admiration, for you see Ray
Daves is my first cousin. His mother and my father were brother and
sister. My brother and I served in the South Pacific in World War II. We
have had many reunions since the War, but we never spoke of our
experiences. We were so grateful to have come back victorious and in 1
piece. Ray's account of his experiences were so heart warming. Knowing
him would only reflect true feelings. My brother served in the Infantry and I
in the U.S. Air Corps. I am going out and find the Belly Gunner and read
it. You and Ray did a wonderful piece. Bill Brown, age 82, WWII Veteran"
5/4/09 email reply to Bill from Carol Edgemon Hipperson . . .
"Dear Bill: I am delighted (and relieved) to know that you approve of the
biography of the war years that resulted from your cousin’s long series of
conversations with me. As anyone who has read the first chapter of
Radioman would know, Ray Daves was born and raised in Arkansas. It is
only natural that he would have a few close relatives in that part of the
country today. You just happen to be the first to tell me so!
Because you are an Army Air Corps veteran, it is possible that you will
find The Belly Gunner’s memories even closer to yours than Radioman’s.
In any case, I hope you are beginning to share your own individual
variation of the story with the children and grandchildren of your own
immediate or extended family. I'm sure they have always admired and
respected you for your service. But they still need to know the realities of
war. No one is better qualified to explain it to them than the men and
women of your generation."
5/12/09 email from Rod--Port Ludlow, Washington . . .
RE: The Belly Gunner
"Carol, As a Vietnam era veteran (with an electrical engineering/communications
background) I was involved with carrier-based aviation and airborne electronic
warfare, I have been interested in the WWII aviation genre and also some of the
related technology: electronic warfare, radar, communications, cryptography,
etc. I have now finished reading The Belly Gunner and was impressed with
your capture and fine telling of this story. I appreciated that you included
historical perspectives and the best diagram of a B-17 I've seen in my reading of
B-17 related stories. These efforts will help preserve the story for future
generations who would otherwise have no idea of the context, nomenclatures or
5/16/09 emailed reply to Rod from Carol Edgemon Hipperson . . .
"I have never seen anything like that diagram of the B-17 'Flying Fortress'
either. I wish I could take more credit for that unique feature, but it was the
editorial team at Millbrook Press who chose the artist. I furnished the specs and
the memories of a man who had spent most of his life trying to forget what it was
like to be inside the ball turret of a heavy bomber in combat with the Luftwaffe.
Without fighter escort! As far as he was concerned, he was just doing his job,
the same as 16 million other Americans who were drafted or volunteered for
service in the military during World War II. It’s like that among the veterans of
the wars in Korea and Vietnam, too, I think. Thank you for your service."
5-21-09 email from Cynthia--Hot Springs Village, Arkansas . . .
" . . . As a history major, I have always had a love of anything historical although my interests have leaned towards the
social implications of history. It was wonderful to read an account that accurately showed an individual's experience in
WWII; how a small town Arkansas man gets swept up into world events.
My husband is a Vietnam veteran and currently serves as the Commander of our community Military Order of the
Purple Heart. He is very involved with WWII veterans and we both feel very strongly that it is critical to have their
incredible stories documented. He comes home from every meeting stating time and again how humbled he is from
their experiences. (And this from a three time Purple Heart recipient!)
As you are well aware, we are losing staggering numbers of these patriots and so many of them never discussed their
experiences, let alone have them so well researched and documented. My husband is an avid reader of books on
military conflict and was very impressed with the authenticity of how you portrayed Ray Daves.
Our neighbor is a veteran of WWII, having served in India, and my husband often goes over to read to him or loan him
history books. I think "Radioman" will be the next one to share.
I want to personally thank you for all your hard work in documenting this fascinating story. Thank you again and
congratulations on your wonderful publication. We would love to see you come to Arkansas for a reading!"
5/21/09 email reply to Cynthia and Tom from Carol Edgemon Hipperson . . .
"Because you have an academic background in History, it won’t surprise you to know that I spent more time checking
the Radioman’s memories against the historical record than I did writing them. And, because your husband is a
Vietnam veteran, he most likely learned a long time ago what has taken me nearly a decade to understand: Those
who saw the most action tend to talk about it the least. But I have never met a combat veteran of any war who has
refused to answer a direct question. (The challenge is to ask the right questions, in the right order.)
If you know of any civic, military, or educational organizations in Arkansas that would like to schedule me for a
Radioman reading at any time close to Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Day, or any other special event this fall, please tell
them to contact me directly. I would love to visit Arkansas!
Thank you so much for your letter. And thank you to your husband for his service and his sacrifice, both in Vietnam
6-25-09 email from Ken--city unknown . . .
"I just finished reading the Radioman. It sure was a great book. Thank you
for telling Ray Daves story. I spent four years in the navy in peace time
aboard a heavy cruiser.The reading of this book brought back a lot of
memories. Good luck and I can't wait to read your next book." Ken
6/26/09: author's reply to Ken . . . "Thank you for your service. I hope
most of the Radioman’s memories that you found similar to yours are good
ones. It probably takes another Navy veteran like yourself to fully
understand how he felt about the cruiser and all the other warships he
served on during the war years. He really loved those ships, the friends
he made, and the Navy in general. The only part he hated was the war.
If I write another book from a typical American enlisted man’s point of view,
it will come from the memories of a combat veteran of the war in Korea. I
think the children and grandchildren of that generation of American GIs
would like to know the real story of what happened when America went to
war again in 1950."
Best wishes, Carol Edgemon Hipperson
More reader comments/questions/photo and author's replies: 1 2 3 4
More reader comments/questions/photo and author's
replies: 1 2 3 4