Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Another Great Book to Recommend

When I Return in Spring: A Promise Kept
Delbert Lambson is a former ball turret gunner and Prisoner of War who wrote his memoirs some years ago. It's a small world. Delbert flew on the same plane as another subject of my book, Gus Mencow. After the Geary Crew, on which Mencow flew, completed its tour, a fresh crew inherited Betty Boop/The Pistol Packin' Mama. One of the young men on the new crew was a Mormon country boy from New Mexico named Delbert Lambson. This crew was shot down on a mission, and Delbert ended up in a German Stalag. He was on a forced march in the winter/spring of 1945.

What I like about Delbert's book is his attempt to tell his story without the use of excessive violence or harsh language, in respect for his Latter-day Saint faith and the sensibilities of his readers. Delbert also stayed strong to his faith throughout his ordeal, remaining true to the love of his life, his new wife, to whom he is still married over 65 years later.
I wrote this review of Delbert's book several years ago.

"As an aviation writer, I have read many memoirs of the men of the Army Air Corps. This one is special, in several ways. First of all, Mr. Lambson has set out to write a book that, while it pulls no punches about the horrors of war, is completely devoid of excessive violence or bad language, making it suitable for all ages. Second, instead of recounting his war as a mission-by-mission journal telling how many hours and minutes each flight was, etc, which has been done a hundred times, sometimes more effectivly than others, Lambson tells us the story of a young Mormon boy from New Mexico whose biggest wish is to get home to his young wife and son and walk the mountains he loves. There is no joy in this war for Lambson. He thinks of the friends who go down each mission, he agonizes about the German civilians under his bombs, and his naturally shy and spiritual nature isolate him from most of his fellow airmen. Near the end of Lambson's tour of duty, flying as the ball turret gunner on the famous Betty Boop/Pistol Packin' Mama, Lambson is shot down and becomes a Prisoner of War. Near death, he is nursed back to life by a nurse working in an enemy hospital, ends up at a Stalag, and then must make an incredible forced march journey with his fellow POWs as their German captors try to stay ahead of the advancing Russian Army. Lambson is not afraid to tell of the time he spends on his knees in prayer, of his refusal to compromise his religious beliefs a time of war, or of his great love and devotion to his wife and son. The reader will find him/herself drawn into the story and experiencing the joys, terrors, and faith of this young man as he struggles to survive. If you enjoy reading about the Mighty Eighth and the men of the Greatest Generation who fought and died for it, then this is a book you will not want to pass up. I recommend it highly."

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