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Thomas Dunne Books/
St. Martins Press, 2008
Twenty-First Century Books/
Millbrook Press, 2001
Taylor, in costume for the Radioman project: Chesapeake, Virginia--April 18, 2011
(See email from her mother among the comments below)
April 14, 2011, email from Taylor's mother, Julie--Chesapeake, Virginia . . . .
"I felt compelled to write and let you know that my daughter [see reader-submitted photo above] chose Ray Daves to be the subject of
her 6th grade biography project. She has spent the last few weeks reading Radioman and has given us daily updates. Her assignment
was to choose anyone from the World War II era. My own father spend 23 years in the United States Navy, so I was very touched . . . .
"This Monday, Taylor will be dressing up as Ray Daves and presenting the events of his life to her English class. I just want to say thank
you for writing such a great book. As a former history teacher, I am thrilled that my young daughter read a biography intended for
adults. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would pass on my gratitude and thanks to Ray Daves for all his sacrifices and dedication
to our country. I live in a military town and my daughter's school project has become a learning experience for my child, her
classmates, and our family. I extend my heartfelt thanks to both you and Mr. Daves."
May 1, 2011, email from Taylor, pictured above . . . .
"I really enjoyed doing the project! It was a lot of fun! I got a 100% on the report! The book was really great, too. It was very enjoyable and
went by faster than I thought it would."
Thank you, both of you. Taylor, I have to tell you, Ray was so pleased to receive this photo of you in the kind of uniform he wore aboard all
those warships! The dungarees were his favorite.
Although it is true that Radioman is classified as adult nonfiction, no way would he have told that story if he had not been persuaded that
Americans of all ages, especially in grades 6-12, really do want to know what happened during the war years. His memories are quite similar to
those you would hear from the majority who survived the battles of World War II. Most of them were not officers. They were "ordinary"
enlisted men, just like the Radioman, Ray Daves. ---Carol Edgemon Hipperson
Latest reader-submitted photo (above)
See how the author replied to earlier readers' photo/comments/questions here: Contact The Author 1 2 3
More readers' comments/questions/photo:
1 2 3 4
January 26, 2013, from Chuck in Lexington, Kentucky:
"I just finished reading RADIOMAN. Since retiring eight years
ago I have had plenty of time to read many books about my
favorite subject--WWII. Your book is one of the best I've
read about the war during which I was just ayoung boy. Glad
Ray Daves' story could be preserved in book form for future
generations to read. It was a story worth telling and you told
it well. Please let Ray know that his story, his life, and his
service to our country are appreciated.
Thank you, Chuck. I don't think anyone can explain the realities of
the world's first truly global war as well as an enlisted man,
especially one who saw it first hand from ground zero to the end.
But it takes someone who has read as widely in the field as you
have to recognize Radioman's uniqueness on that score. If you
know any History teachers, I hope you will recommend it to them.
---Carol Edgemon Hipperson, Spokane, WA
January 9, 2013
email to author re: Radioman
"Just read Radioman and I must congratulate
you on a well written and organized project.
My father was a radioman on the USS Wichita
CA-45 and USS Saginaw Bay CVE-82 in World
War II. He had never talked much about his
experiences, other than stating that he listened
to some of the best battles of the war. On the
Wichita it is quite possible that he had actually
contacted Ray since the ship was in the
Aleutians from January to September 1943.
The book gave me great insight as to why dad
never talked much about his experiences and
kudos to Ray Daves for opening up and sharing
--James . . . Waterford, Michigan
Author's Reply: Thank you, James.
Radioman was indeed a huge and difficult
project. It took 4 years of research to
verify and clarify the memories I was
getting from this Pearl Harbor Survivor.
Like your father and so many other men of
his generation, he was very reluctant to
talk about the war years. Okay, that's an
understatement. More than once he said
he would rather go for a root canal than
keep his appointments with me! But
whenever I forwarded to him a note like
yours, it reminded him that he had done
the right thing.
-----Carol Edgemon Hipperson
July 16, 2013 . . . from Don in Vinita, Oklahoma:
I just finished reading Radioman. What a delightful book. I have read dozens of World War II books and many about Pearl Harbor
and Midway. Radioman was by far the most readable and interesting. It is one of the few books I’ve seen about a naval enlisted
man. How did you find Mr. Ray Daves? I am glad you included his information about the CCC camp. I haven’t read much about
I like the way you treated your footnotes. Putting all of the basic and more detailed information at the back of the book made the
book flow better and read easier. For someone like me, most of that was general knowledge. But I am glad it was there. For a
young person reading the book that didn’t know a thing about the war or the navy, all of this information filled in the gaps, answered
questions and put things into context. It is a very thorough book, well researched and well written.
My dad was on a destroyer during WWII. He was in the big battles of Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. But his ship also spent a year in the
Aleutians. I enjoyed Mr. Daves account of the Aleutians. Dad often told stories about growing up on a farm during the Depression
and life aboard ship during WWII. This is what sparked my interest in history. Dad said that when he went to boot camp it was like
being on vacation. He got to sleep in until 6AM, they had running water, electricity, toilet paper and it was the first time he went to
the dentist. I am looking forward to reading The Belly Gunner.
Thank you, Don. Radioman's uniqueness does indeed come from the fact that it is the first complete history of WWII according to
the memories of a typical American enlisted man. How did I find the right one to tell that story? I started by networking among the
veterans of that generation. Anyone with combat experience in the Pacific was a potential subject, in theory. But I was looking for
one who could give a complete eyewitness account, from ground zero to VJ Day. For that, I had to have a Pearl Harbor Survivor.
Problem was, even in 1941, there were only about 80,000 of them. By 2002, there were probably less than half that many alive.
Which is why--like most Americans—I had never talked to one, didn't know anyone who had, and the odds of finding one were
So that's when I started praying. I asked the Lord to lead me to a Pearl Harbor Survivor. It took a few weeks, but I knew my prayer
was answered when I got a phone call from a retired Navy officer. He referred me to a Pearl Harbor Survivor who referred me to the
Radioman, Ray Daves. I was warned that he would probably decline. Of the dozen or so Survivors in my region at that time, Ray was
the one with the reputation for being the least likely to talk about the war years . . . to anybody, including his own family and closest
friends. I didn't know it was his 82nd birthday when I called him. I don't think that was a coincidence either. On his birthday, he was
probably more reflective, more willing to break a lifetime of silence. And once he opened the floodgates, there was no stopping the
memories that came out. So there's your answer, Don. I didn't find Ray Daves. God did. I was just along for the ride.
October 8, 2014: email from Jim--Nitro, West Virginia . . .
I picked up a copy of "Radioman" at our library. My Dad was in the Navy, an Aviation Mechanic (and gunner) on a
PBY, served in the South Pacific. I was quite interested in this book since my Dad never really talked much about his
time in the service. We never really asked and as I recall Mom said he did not talk much about it. Only thing I
remember is he said the tail gunner got soaked on take off!! I feel this book brought me a little closer to knowing
what my Dad may have experienced during that time. Thanks, Jim
Author's Reply, 10-10-14 . . .
The tail gunner on any plane in aerial combat was often the first to "eat lead" from an enemy fighter plane. Your
father was a very brave man. In general, I find those who survived the worst are usually the least likely to talk about
it. Most of them never told their families what they saw and did. Neither did the Radioman. He was 82 when he
finally broke down and consented to remember what happened during the war years. Although no two individual
experiences are ever identical, all WWII combat veterans who have read and commented on Radioman to date have
been surprised at how similar his memories are to their own. Your final comment is exactly the argument that
persuaded him to start talking while there was still time. Many thanks for reminding me why I wrote it. If you know any
teachers, from about grade 6 through university, please recommend it to them. The grand- and great-grandchildren of
the WWII generation need to know what happened too. -----carol
Reader Comments, Questions . . .