Jerome Preisler's reputation precedes him. The 30 books under his belt include several NY Times Best Sellers. He has put his pen to work on the Tom Clancy Power Plays and CSI series. He’s even been a Yankees analyst on the YES network. We’re fortunate to have such an accomplished author on our show.
We are really excited about Jerome's most recent book, First to Jump. It tells the story of the Pathfinders from the 101st. They were the first soldiers to land in Fortress Europe. They jumped in before (BEFORE!) the first wave of paratroopers dropped into combat. These guys went on missions with expected casualty rates of 80 to 90%. One stick (a group of paratroopers) had their plane shot down with them still in it. Some still managed to get out, and they never lost sight of their mission.
The men of the Pathfinders faced so many incredible variables. At the heights they were jumping, there was no room for error. They jumped from abnormally dangerous heights into the most hostile territory, often with little intelligence, and into terrain riddled with dangerous obstacles. It was an accomplishment to survive the jump, and when they did, they were usually battered and facing an alerted enemy with superior numbers and firepower. That’s what it meant to be a Pathfinder.
The unit was full of misfits. Their leader was a troublemaker named Jake McNiece. His exploits, and the way he led his men, are worth celebrating.
These warriors are of a different ilk. They volunteered, not to protect themselves, but to stand by and protect their brothers. You can’t save your neck in situations like this. You put your faith in those around you, you fight as hard as you can, not to ensure that you get home okay, but to ensure that the mission gets done so that those who come next will have a chance to do their job. That’s what the Pathfinders did in World War II.
If you want to understand what they did, read the book. Read about D-Day and know that the Pathfinders jumped in first. Then read about the liberation of the Netherlands and, again, the Pathfinders jumped in first. Operation Market Garden, once again, saw the pathfinders paying high costs to pull off the impossible.
Finally, at the Battle of the Bulge, McNasty and his boys led the crucial supply planes in to save the 101st from annihilation. The Germans had already sent their envoy to accept terms of surrender from the Americans, and the Pathfinders jump in to save this unit from certain death. Incredibly, Pathfinders, the 101st, and Patton’s tanks found a way to win that battle, and ultimately the war, in Europe.
We love that Jerome has chosen to tell this story. Go listen to the show, and click on the link to buy this magnificent book. You’ll get a heroic tale told beautifully, and you'll support an important author and a great dude.
I am, yet again, and almost constantly, amazed at what this show has allowed us to do. This week, while experiencing what I can only imagine is the most spectacularly reaffirming period in his professional life, Scott McEwen chose to spend time talking with us. It was his idea to capture and cultivate the story that became American Sniper, and now that story rules the literary world (it's #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list) and the world of cinema (it is currently enjoying its 6th week at #1 at the box office, is the biggest January movie of all time, and is nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture). And at the apex of attention that comes with captivating the world with a tale, we got to sit down and ask him about dragging a 1400-pound moose out of frozen, slushy, Alaskan mud. That's good fun.
It was an honor and a tremendous pleasure to talk with Scott, and he was even more engaging and inspiring than we imagined. He's an adventurer, a patriot, and a renaissance man, and I hope his success continues to mirror his generosity with fans like us.
This week we published a show about Dr. Robert Greenberg. Dr. Greenberg is gifted. He is a talented musician writing an impressive body of work as a literate musical composer. Also, Dr. Bob is also a wonderful entertainer with the spoken word. On the surface, these are the reasons why he makes a great guest for our show. However, the reality is much deeper.
Pete found Dr. Greenberg while listening to “The Great Courses” while deployed. Pete often talks about his time in war zones and the things he’s seen and done. With Dr. Greenberg it’s different; he provided Pete with an escape. Pete shares below how Dr. Greenberg helped him cope with combat.
“I’d come back from a patrol, you know, you’re hot and tired, probably need to drink at least a liter of water and get a bite. You never know when you’ll have to head back out, so you take care of your body first. If possible, I’d lay down and take a nap. These naps were part of my recovery. Though I fall asleep easily turning off your brain is another story. Much of what I’d hear during my “combat interviews” was created a mental and emotional strain.
I found that I needed something to allow me to escape Iraq for a few minutes. That escape was often lectures by either Dr. Rufus Fears or Dr. Robert Greenberg. Dr. Fears was a passionate lecturer who dealt with history. Dr. Greenberg focused on music, particularly “classical” music. Anyhow, either lecturer provided me with a totally new and interesting topic.
I’d play a lecture on my laptop while I did something else mindless…maybe play solitaire, or doodle; really anything that would drown out my brains need to solve the problems I was facing on a day to day basis. This overloading with Dr. Bob and Dr. Rufus worked fabulously. They have both taught me a lot about life and about their particular field of study; while giving me the mental break I needed.
Dr. Bob has inspired me to attend and grow passionate about orchestral music and particularly opera. He’s given me reason to read books or learn about people who were never available to me before. In short, Dr. Bob made my time in Iraq, my time away from my family, more bearable and survivable. I mean survivable in the heaviest of ways.
His gift to me is immeasurable. I love that I’ve had the opportunity to tell him face to face what he’s done for me. I wish I had the chance to do that with Dr. Fears; sadly he passed before I ever got to thank him.
Dr. Bob means the world to me. I am deeply thankful for Dr. Bob, he’s made my life sweeter, my passion deeper and my world more open to music.”
If you haven’t had the chance to listen to our episode featuring Dr. Bob, don’t hesitate. Go right now and click on his episode. Dr. Bob is brilliant and we love him.