Sunday, August 19, 2007

And There Shall Be Wars

At age 79 my father-in-law Bud Wagner called me on the phone and said, "I'd like you to help me buy a computer." That night we went out and did just that. He taught himself how to use it and proceeded to finish a project that he'd carried in his heart for most of a lifetime.

At age 80, Wagner completed his first book, based on his diaries from World War Two. Wagner was the second Minnesotan drafted into the war. Cook, machine gunner and company agent, Wagner had the privilege of being on the first convoy to make its way across the Atlantic for the European theater. And the good fortune of having survived the duration of the war without becoming a casualty in North Africa and Italy, which included beachheads at Anzio and Salerno.

The book, And There Shall Be Wars, is a truly powerful account of this man's experience and worthy of being included in the annals of military history.

Wagner had several motivations for writing the book. "I wanted to put my diary in a concise journal form for the family," Wagner said. "I've kept a diary out of habit since I was a young kid. During the war nobody else did it and I wanted to have it as part of my life experience." Diary writing was rare not only because few soldiers did it, but also because the army had rules against it. When citing the value of diaries Wagner fondly quotes the Chinese proverb, "The faintest ink is stronger than the strongest memory."

A primary theme for this blog is journal writing. That is, I have been sifting thought my personal journals and bringing to light excerpts that might lead to some thought provoking discussion, or insights of value. Bud Wagner's book is similar in design. He kept a journal during the war, but his book is more. Having spent decades researching that siginifcant period of history, his journal notes include commentary amplifying the entries, with additional historical facts collated to make this book especially valuable.

For more information on this book, and to see what others are saying, visit

To purchase And There Shall Be Wars, visit:

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