From Soldier to Storyteller

Essays on World War Veterans Who Became Famous Children’s Authors

Not Yet Published


New 2024 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

About the Book

Many of the best-known and most popular stories that children grew up with in the 20th century and into the 21st were written by veterans of World War I and World War II. These include works by such writers as A. A. Milne, C. S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, and Ian Fleming, among others. Although they had experienced war, most of the veterans did not overtly write about it. The seeming paradox of warriors who went through searing combat and then wrote books for children has not been addressed collectively before now.
This book explores what motivated these veterans to write for children, what they wrote, and how their writing was influenced by the wars they lived through. It examines how their combat experience can be traced in their writing, however subtly, whether it was stories about a bear and his piglet companion, a World War I flying ace, or a flying car. Their reactions to war, as reflected in their writing, yield important lessons about the complicated legacy of the 20th century’s two great conflicts and their long-lasting impact—through children—on society at large.

About the Author(s)

Kathleen Broome Williams is the recipient of the 2021 Commodore Dudley W. Knox medal for Lifetime Achievement in Naval History. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Journal of Military History, the U.S. Naval Institute’s Naval History Advisory Board, and Marine Corps History Magazine’s Editorial Review Board and is the author of numerous articles and books on naval history. She lives in Oakland, California.

Hal M. Friedman is the Chair of History and Professor of Modern History at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan, and both the Recording Secretary and the Midwest Regional Coordinator for the Society for Military History. He has published a trilogy on U.S. national security policy in the immediate postwar Pacific and another trilogy on the transition of the U.S. Naval War College from the Pacific War to the Cold War in the Pacific in the same time period.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kathleen Broome Williams and Hal M. Friedman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9470-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5207-8
Imprint: McFarland