Tuesday, 5 December 2017

THE #KICKER TOP 3

 Author R. Grey Hoover's book, Kicker, is re-released just in time for Pearl Harbor Day this Thursday and for the Holidays! 
Speaking of which, here is the Author's Top 3 things to do during the holidays...



KICKER (The Forgotten Front}: A World War 2 thriller based on actual experiences and official military aviation history in the China, Burma and India theater





BLURB:

Based on actual experiences and official records from World War II, Kicker is a thrilling war novel of a man’s journey into hell. From the pleasant hills of Pennsylvania to the torrid jungles of Burma, Sam endures relentless enemy attacks against his unarmed aircraft while his family struggles with shortages and rationing at home. This is the tale of "the forgotten front", the bloody, grueling campaign to push the Japanese out of Burma.


Although Kicker is an epic work of historical fiction, this World War 2 thriller is based on official military aviation history records and the real experiences of United States veterans who fought in the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) "the forgotten front". Through unforgettable scenes in Burmese skies filled with monsoon storms and enemy fighter planes, Kicker tells the story of the brave Army Air Corps soldiers who risked their lives in unarmed aircraft to drop supplies to Merrill's Marauders and over 750,000 allied soldiers fighting in the perilous jungles of Burma.
In effort to keep Japanese forces occupied in China, the Allies flew unarmed supply missions over the treacherous Himalayan Mountains between India and China. Their route, known as The Hump, saw the loss of over 1500 airmen and 2000 planes due to endless attacks by Japanese Zeros and some of the world's worst flying conditions. The Hump became known as "the skyway to hell" and "the aluminum trail" from the large amount of aircraft wreckage strewn across the Himalayan slopes.
Allied soldiers in the jungles of Burma fought everyday just to survive. They faced elite, fearless Japanese soldiers and man-eating beasts. The Allies were surrounded by poisonous snakes, insects, and plants. These brave men suffered through monsoon seasons, so wet and humid, their uniforms rotted off their bodies as they fought fanatical Kamikaze armies through jungle and swamplands.

From the Forgotten Front to the Homefront, Kicker brings you the story of America's Greatest Generation through the eyes of the men and women who would be forever haunted by their experiences.





How can you not love a book like this? There are so many books and movies about WWII, but hardly any like this. This is a refreshing take on the war from the perspective of those who dropped supplies down to the forces, and those on the ground who needed it most. 


I'm such a huge fan of the Author now that I've read this book. You can feel every emotion and hardship the characters endured. It is clear that the Author drew great knowledge from his extensive research, from not only his own father but other veterans too. Even though the book is set in a time and place not many of us are familiar with, everyone can relate to the fundamental basics of love, loss, fear and joy that this story evokes. This is more than historical fact/ fiction. There is action, comedy, drama, suspense and some heartfelt moments that will bring tears to your eyes. I would give this book more stars if I could, but alas, the limit is 5. 



WHAT KICKER FANS HAD TO SAY:
Elray -"I could not put this book down, as the story of Sam, the young volunteer and aspiring pilot, unfolds. The author delivers his story telling with a rich back drop of historical details reflecting a thoroughly researched knowledge of the subject matter."
W.M. Driscoll-"Would recommend this not only to history buffs and WWII aficionados (like myself) but to any reader interested in being transported to another time and place, one that shaped all of our lives and fortunes today, worldwide." 
Jacquie Rhoades- "What an interesting story! I learned so much about heroes not mentioned in history books." 
Linda S. Browning-"History made real through the telling of one soldier's story. This book made me miss my father and all of the stories he never told me." 
Candi Silk- "Hoover leaves nothing out. He shows the sacrifices made on the battle front, as well as sacrifices made on the home front." 

Kathleen Rowland- "Author R. Grey Hoover’s authentic story centers on a kicker. During WW II the CBI Theater was a huge expanse of land from Manchuria to India with extreme weather conditions. This nickname was given to aircrew members who literally laid on their backs and kicked supplies off an aircraft carrier to soldiers on front lines. Kickers also picked up supplies. As the hero lets the reader in on the dangerous experience, we learn and gain appreciation."

B.R. Snow-  "R. Grey Hoover's, Kicker, is a terrific read and testament to the efforts of members of the Greatest Generation during WW II. Kicker, a term used to describe aircraft members who literally would lie on their backs and kick supplies to soldiers on front lines is a strong work of historical fiction. It’s authentic and paints a great picture of what life was like during those difficult years."
Frank Kusy-  "I came to this book was some expectation - my own Polish father served with the British army in Burma though I never knew where because he died young and told my mother virtually nothing - and was not disappointed. This is the gritty, sometimes harrowing, story of Sam Huber, based in no small part on the author's father, who joins the army at a young age and soon finds himself in the dangerous but critical position of flying in supplies to some of the 700,000 Allied troops fighting the Japanese."

Rebecca-  "I love this type of read! Great author and great person."

Christoph Fischer-  "Kicker" by R. Grey Hoover is an extraordinary read about air force life in Burma during WWII. It focuses on Sam Huber (and his wife Eleanor home in Pennsylvania) from his first days of training through his various stops on the way to armed conflict in Burma. Sam and his friends illustrate the regular soldier's life, not just the super heroes as featured in Hollywood films about the time. They have embarrassing moments during the physical exams, they run out of petrol and have a huge variety of close calls and successes, too. It made them much more realistic and likeable. The story is not just limited to Burma; Sam stops in Africa and India on the way and with him we also get to know a lot about the situation for soldiers in these areas. With much research and an amazing amount of factual knowledge about flying, aircraft technology and weather conditions as perceived by air force personnel this book is packed with amazing information and moving insight and worth reading for many reasons."



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


R. Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran who was born and raised in the wooded hills of Pennsylvania where this historical novel begins and ends. The novel is based on the actual experiences of his father and other veterans in the CBI theater of World War II.




 Follow the Author: 








EXCERPT 1

When the C54 landed at Dum Dum airport near Calcutta, Sam gathered his things and met Dan on the tarmac.
  “Well, it looks like this is farewell for now, Sam. Your flight to Dinjan doesn’t leave for another hour, and as soon as we refuel and load our British passengers, I’ll be headed for New Delhi,” Dan said sadly. 
  “I don’t have any brothers or sisters, Sam, and I feel like you are a brother to me. I know you are headed into combat, and I want you to take care of yourself, and I definitely want to know how you’re doing.”
  “You’re like a big brother to me too, Dan, and I promise to stay in touch. After this war is over, I would like our families to be very close.”
They shook hands, hugged warmly, and exchanged pieces of paper containing their home addresses. No further words were needed between them. Dan went back to his pre-flight duties, and Sam picked up his gear and walked to the terminal building. From the doorway of the terminal, he watched his friend perform the pre-flight procedures that Sam had come to know so well. As he watched, he felt a true closeness toward his friend. In the short time they had known each other, he had learned a lot from Dan and was grateful his friend had helped him through the frightening flight experiences they encountered crossing the Atlantic. Because of Dan, he was prepared to meet the challenges ahead.
Sam continued to observe as the British officers Dan had mentioned climbed aboard the plane. He imagined they were on their way to New Delhi on official business or on leave. Dan followed close behind and turned as he entered the aircraft and waved. Sam returned the wave and watched as the aircraft door was closed and the engines were started one by one. Soon the C54 taxied off and stopped short of the active runway. Sam heard the engines as the pilots increased power to each one as part of the takeoff checklist, and he remembered the sound and vibration that procedure caused inside the passenger cabin. He imagined he would be experiencing those sights and sounds quite often in the coming days and reached into his pocket and retrieved the paper that contained Dan’s address. He looked at the address and was comforted knowing he had a way to keep in touch with his friend. A jeep pulled up and stopped in front of him.
  “Are you Private Huber?” the driver asked.
  “Yes,” Sam responded.
   “I’m here to take you to your next flight,” said the driver.
Sam tossed his gear into the back of the jeep and stopped to watch Dan’s plane as it accelerated down the runway, and he remembered the feelings of acceleration and lightness associated with takeoff. He observed the C54 speed down the runway and watched the nosewheel rise in anticipation of lift off, but instead of rising gracefully into the air, the plane seemed to struggle to leave the ground. It rose momentarily and then settled back down onto the runway. Once again, the speeding aircraft attempted unsuccessfully to lift off, and then Sam saw smoke begin to billow from the wheels as the pilots applied the brakes to abort the takeoff. He watched in horror as the C54 ran off the end of the runway, the nosewheel collapsed and the right wing dug into the ground, spinning the aircraft violently around. Suddenly, a great ball of fire erupted, and the airplane began to burn before Sam’s eyes. Without realizing what he was doing, he began to run toward the developing inferno. He ran, oblivious to everything around him, until the heat from the burning wreckage prevented him from getting any closer. 

He stood in stunned disbelief and watched as a great column of black smoke rose high into the air, and the terrible flames consumed the plane and his friend. He wept uncontrollably, not knowing how long he stood there numb with despair and grief. Finally, realizing his hands were tightly clenched into fists, he slowly opened them and saw the paper containing Dan’s address. Sam folded the paper neatly and placed it in his wallet and made himself a promise that he would contact Dan’s parents and fiancĂ©e to let them know how important their son had become to him and to tell them of his last moments.

EXCERPT 2 
Bill looked up and saw a Japanese soldier walking toward their foxhole. The soldier seemed dazed and was mumbling to himself, apparently totally unaware of where he was. The soldier approached and was about to step into their foxhole when Roy raised his rifle and shot him.
  “Do you think he was coming for morning coffee?” Bill asked in disbelief.
  “I don’t know,” answered Roy, “but I wasn’t going to wait around to find out.”
Their attention was drawn away from the dead soldier by the sound of an approaching aircraft.
  “Hey, looks like the flyboys are bringing us some more supplies,” Bill observed.
  “Yeah, it’s always nice to get fresh supplies even if it is only K- and C-rations,” Roy responded.
The two men observed the C47 approaching and noted the usual gunfire directed at the plane by the enemy. As the aircraft zoomed overhead, they watched as three bundles were ejected from the plane. They saw the parachutes open and waited expectantly as the bundles floated down toward them. Two of the bundles landed safely in the interior of their perimeter just a few feet from their foxhole, but the third came down in the area occupied by the Japanese.
  “It looks like we’re in luck today, Roy. We get first pick from these canisters,” Bill exclaimed as he crawled quickly toward the nearest canister. He tore into the bundle with his combat knife and began unloading the ever present packages of K- and C-rations. Finally, with a whoop of joy, he held a package up in the air and yelled, “Looks like they sent us some reading material.” And he tossed the package to his friend.
Roy ripped into the package eager to see what reading materials had been delivered. By the time Bill returned to the foxhole, he found Roy sitting there with a look of total disbelief on his face.
  “What’s up? Is something wrong with the reading material?” Bill inquired.
  “Wrong isn’t the word for it,” Roy answered as he held up three novels written in French and an English language manual titled Symposium on Gynecology.
After a brief moment of silence, Bill exclaimed, “This is great, they sent us a secret weapon.”
  “What the hell are you talking about?” Roy lamented. 
  “Well, we’ll just show the Japs what the army sends us to read, and they’ll laugh themselves to death. The war will be over in no time,” Bill explained with a straight face.





MOVIE CAST

So who would portray the book's main characters in the movie? 


Matt Damon and Tom Hanks! 



MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
This ultra epic theme songs is the perfect music to listen to whilst reading
 - The theme from Victory at Sea










The Author's Top 3 favorite things about the holidays are:


  • Spending time with family. 
  • Relaxing. 
  • Sometimes traveling.

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