I have written a number of self-published books both fiction and nonfiction which have found their place and an audience. The Lost Eleven, however, is my first book with a major publisher. People outside the publishing industry have no idea how difficult it is to get a "book deal" - any book deal even with the smallest publishing house. It is simply rejection letter after rejection letter and some fine writers never get a book deal during their lifetimes. That is why the whole self publishing industry has sprang up.
So I wanted to convey the significance of this to my readers and say how humbled, proud and blessed I feel about not only the fact that the book is being released but about the story itself. I have been connected to the Wereth Eleven story now for seven years. When I first learnt of it the tale touched me deeply. I felt I had a duty to tell the world about this injustice and atrocity that had been swept under the carpet of history. My visionary film producer, Joseph Small, felt the exact same way and led the charge to produce the film, The Wereth Eleven, which was nominated for an Emmy®. His sole motivation was not only to tell the world about these men who were brutally tortured and died at the hands of the Nazis but also to restore their human dignity.
The Lost Eleven, book is the culmination of Joe's vision to restore these men's very humanity and remind the world that this should never happen again. The book tells the eleven men's story but also illuminates the hardships that black soldiers endured during WWII fighting for freedom for their country while they themselves did not feel free.
I encourage you to look into this untold story of bravery, courage and sacrifice and let others know that this story and these men should never be forgotten. I am truly honored to have been a part of this effort. It has literally changed my life and how I view history and the world. And I believe once you read this story it will change your life too.
*Please check out, The Lost Eleven, which is on the shelves of every major book store as well as available on line in e-reader formats for Kindle, Nook and others.
Below is the trailer for, The Wereth Eleven, film which is also available everywhere on DVD and streaming formats.
NY Daily News Article.
Meet the Author
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
Robert Child presents The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story
6:00 p.m. Presentation | 7:00 p.m. Book Signing
During the Battle of the Bulge, Nazis massacred 11 brave African American soldiers in the village of Wereth, Belgium. Although they sacrificed their lives during a time when they weren’t treated equally because of the color of their skin—even on American soil—this heroic story was left out of history books. It took 70 years for Congress to recognize the valor and bravery of these 11 men. Coauthor Robert Child tells the individual stories of these artillerymen, the Belgian family that took them in, and the boy who couldn’t forget the courageous men who died in the field. A book signing will follow the presentation.
For more information call 504-528-1944 x 229.
I was honored several years ago when The National WWII Museum hosted the premiere of the Wereth Eleven film in February, 2011. Below is a clip from that event.
As I mentioned I was at a TV studio preparing to do The People's Court television show before all hell broke loose. In the control room we watched the mayhem unfold. In fact I vividly recall watching Channel 4 News in a live report from the World Trade Center area when during the actual live report the second plane hit the second tower. The shocked reporter just took off running and so did the cameraman.
Cell phones did not work. Neither did landlines for that matter. The only way I got word to my wife about my situation was sending an email via AOL. Does anyone have AOL anymore? I had no idea if the email would reach her.
In the studio we simply did not know if we should stay or go. What was safer choice? After the plane hit the Pentagon the director turned to me and waved goodbye adding, "Good luck, get home safe." Home for me at the time was Bucks County, PA, 90 minutes to the south via Penn Station. So I headed in that direction. The studio was at 37th Street and 5th Ave. and I could look south and see the brown smoke rising above the towers. As I walked toward Penn Station I passed by several churches with hastily posted signs on which someone scrawled with a sharpie, "Come in and Pray." At one church I saw people actually kneeling on the sidewalk praying.
As I got to Penn Station it was bedlam but I saw a line of people going down an escalator onto a train. I joined them. I didn't care where the train was going - just out of Manhattan. As I got on and actually got a seat before the aisles filled up there came an announcement, "Attention all passengers by order of the NYPD, Penn Station is now closed. All must exit to street level and exit the building."
A collective groan was heard on the train as we all made our way out. My next thought was - water. There must be a boat I could get on. So I headed up 8th Ave. then onto 10th. Coming toward me down the avenue were thousands of people headed to Penn Station. As I made my way up 10th my next thought was cash. I was going to take as much cash out of an ATM as I could before they too were shut down. I dashed in a deli and took out as much as I could and then continued north.
Once I got to 12th Ave. I saw a line of about 500 people waiting to get on a Circle Line boat. I jumped right in behind them. We all boarded. The stuffed to the gills ship slowly pulled away from the dock. At that moment there was almost an audible sigh of relief. The boat was headed over to Weehawken, NJ and you could turn and look across the Hudson and see the Towers engulfed in brown smoke. You could also smell it. It smelled like an electrical fire. People on the boat were actually joking around trying to mask their fears. No one knew what the hell was going to happen next but at least we were off Manhattan.
When we docked at Weehawken I ran to a payphone to see if it had a dial tone. It did. I dialed my voicemail and heard a message from my now ex-wife that I will never forget. I will not detail it just to say it was filled with tears. I was able to call her back and told her I would try to grab a train from Hoboken.
I headed down there with thousands of others and the trains were going nowhere. At the station they had set up hundreds of gurneys with IV poles awaiting trains from the Trade Center. Trains that would never come. It was an image I'll never forget. But that was not the final enduring image I would remember from that day....the one that still gives me chills and I will never forget.
After leaving the train station I headed up to a Cuban bar / restaurant. I thought a beer was just what I needed at that point. There were actually only a few people in the place and at the bar. After a few moments a near hysterical woman who had to be 8 months pregnant ran in with someone who had to be her mother. Through her tears I overheard her say to her mother, "his last words were he'd meet us here." I turned to the bartender and he looked back at me, we were both speechless. The pregnant woman then headed into the Ladies room as the Mom stood by the bar.
As I turned to continue watching Peter Jennings anchor the coverage on the TV behind the bar a man bolted in who was covered with the dust. It was the same dust which had covered people who were seen on TV running from the towers. As the man came in the Mom started crying and they embraced. The bar fell silent. Then the pregnant woman emerged from the bathroom, saw her husband and ran towards him crying, overjoyed. No one in the place moved and many including myself teared up. It was scene I will remember till I die.
Several hours later the trains began to run and I was able to get one to Montclair where my wife met me. I don't remember what we said to each other we just held each other tight for a long moment before heading back to Pennsylvania.
Did the world change that day? Without a doubt. Did it change for the better? For a short while it did in the aftermath. We were united as one people and a nation that was wounded and hurting. Can we look back from today and say that we have grown or are safer as a nation? I am not certain we can. In many ways the world is much less certain and certainly much less innocent than before 9/11/2001.
But it remains up to us to make it the world in which we all want to live. And by live I mean live in peace. I am a spiritual person and I believe that the dark forces in this world have increased the level of terror and violence that they spread because they know their days are numbered.
More and more common everyday people especially those in the Middle East simply want to live their lives and raise their families in peace. The time is coming soon when killing in the name of God or Allah will not be tolerated, promoted or accepted by people of any faith on the planet. When that day comes...and I truly believe I will see it in my lifetime then finally there will be lasting peace on earth.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Allied, stars Brad Pitt who is returning to WWII once again after the success of David Ayer’s, Fury. He stars as Max Vatan, a British intelligence officer who encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard) during a mission in Casablanca that forces them into a pretend marriage so their cover isn’t blown. The pair is reunited later in London and fall in love, though the horrors of war threaten to destroy their relationship.
Christopher Nolan will direct WWII film Dunkirk, based on his own original screenplay. The action adventure film, set during the legendary 1940 evacuation in France. The large scale film will be shot on a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film photography, and shooting began in May. The British director will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner and wife Emma Thomas. (From the Hollywood Reporter)
USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE
Academy Award Winner Nicolas Cage stars as Captain McVay, the captain of the doomed WWII heavy cruiser, the USS Indianapolis. After completing its top secret mission to drop off components of the atomic bomb, the USS Indianapolis crossed the Philippine Sea without an escort. The I-58, a Japanese submarined helmed by Commander Hashimoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy, spotted them and fired six torpedoes into the ship. The USS Indianapolis sank in a matter of minutes, leaving survivors in the water for days on end, awaiting rescue.