Thank you to Mike Stevens and his cameraman Paul for visiting me to learn more about my grandfather and his story. And my story as well. Writing this book was no small feat and it’s very humbling that WNEP 16 found the book interesting enough to share with others.
It took a almost a decade for me complete the book between the research, writing, editing, and designing. The book is based off handwritten and typed notes my grandfather, Donald, wrote with the goal of someday putting together for others to read. I know that because of the way he wrote the book which starts with an introduction telling how he’ll do his best to describe people and places he encountered for readers, but there was too much to include in retrospect.
Luckily, he left something behind, but I wonder what pieces of information I never found. There was a flood in my hometown of Wilkes-Barre, PA, that may have washed away papers, letters, and photographs. A year later, there was a fire at the National Archives in St. Louis that destroyed thousands of veterans’ files. Every request I made to the National Archives stated the likelihood that my grandfather’s records fell victim to the inferno.
A family friend, who met my grandfather while he traveled home on a train from out West to Philadelphia, returned letters he had written to her family. Those letters plaid a crucial part in showing his personal side and filling in spaces of empty time he didn’t mention in his journal.
In 2000, my mother handed off his journal to me and for years I studied it, researched it, hand drew maps to outline his movement through North Africa and Italy as part of the 337th Infantry Regiment.
After several years, I finally sent the book to print, but only had 40 printed since my initial intent was just to share his story with my family and friends. It wasn’t until I learned of amazon’s print-on-demand capabilities that I took the leap and made his words, his story available for the world to read.
Now you can read his story, feel his emotions, and see the war through his eyes. My American Odyssey is available in paperback on amazon and for download through kindle.
To buy a copy, click the Amazon or Kindle logo below:
My American Odyssey – $12.50 USD
Written by Donald Byers, edited by James Byers
Byers Publishing, 2017.
Paperback, 128 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
My American Odyssey – $8.00 USD