Press Releases > Author-Alum at Franklin & Marshall College for 25th Reunion
Author-Alum at Franklin & Marshall College for 25th Reunion
Last Signing of World War II Novel
Brooklyn, New York -- May 21, 2007 --

When Franklin & Marshall College alumnus Stuart Ellison returns to campus next month, he’ll be combining business with pleasure. Mr. Ellison, who received his bachelor’s degree from F&M in 1982, will be celebrating his 25th class reunion and hosting the last signing of his novel, Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel: World War II through the Eyes of a Radio Man.

The signing and informal discussion will be held on Saturday, June 2 at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Distler House on Race Avenue in Lancaster from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. For more information, call Debra Schwanke at 717-291-4093.

This is the second signing for Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel at the campus bookstore. Mr. Ellison had a well-attended signing here during Homecoming Week in October 2005.

The product of six years of research and writing, Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel is a 90-percent-true novel based on the tragicomic experiences of Stuart’s late father and co-author, Eli Ellison, who served with the 327th Fighter Control Squadron in Western Europe from 1943 to 1945. Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel is a unique combination of actual wartime letters, a love story, and extensive historical research.

Eli Ellison died of prostate cancer on July 6, 2004 at age 81. A retired New York City teacher and Army Air Corps veteran, he continued to assist his son in revising the manuscript until a few days before his death.

Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel was first published in 2004 and is a 2005 winner of iUniverse’s Editor’s Choice Award. A revised edition was published in 2006.

Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel’s many endorsers include Franklin & Marshall Professor of Government Emeritus Dr. Stanley J. Michalak; American historian Hans L. Trefousse; and senior Israeli diplomat Rabbi Dr. Gerald M. Meister.

“It’s truly an honor to be marking my 25th class reunion with my last signing for a work that is so close to my heart,” observes Mr. Ellison, 46, who writes under the name of Mark Stuart Ellison. “Although Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel has some brutal combat scenes, it’s not about a Rambo-type hero,” notes Mr. Ellison. “It’s about an ordinary radio technician trying to deal with extraordinary situations. It’s about fear, boredom, love, privation, and the role of fate in life and death. Unlike the combat soldier, who was usually in the field, fighter control soldiers lived and worked alongside civilians in urban and semi-urban war zones. So we take you to the bunkhouses and mess halls, but we also take you to the London tube shelters, the cobblestone streets of Verviers [Belgium], and the rolling hills and white farmhouses of Stembert, a hamlet just east of Verviers.”

Fighter Control technicians served as liaisons between controllers in operations blocks on the ground and a lead, airborne pilot in a five-plane fighter squadron. Fighter Control soldiers would help guide pilots to their targets, and, if they were lost or hit, help bring them back to base.

Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel primarily takes place in Belgium and Britain in the period between the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. The main character, Don Quix, based on the real-life Eli Ellison, is a daring optimist, seemingly immune to the random tragedy around him.

When Don is caught AWOL with buddy Ken Jackson, his dreams of flying are shattered, but he still manages to become a sergeant in a fighter control squadron. Hard-luck Ken is sent to a demolition unit.

Pilots’ eyes and ears on the ground, Don is typically five to ten miles behind front lines. In the Belgian cities of Verviers and Liège, he has daily encounters with buzz bombs but suffers only minor cuts dodging shrapnel. Using forged passes to visit sweetheart Denise Vervier, he freely roams restricted areas when similarly venturesome soldiers are being court-martialed. But due to an army miscalculation, he finds himself on the front lines during the Battle of the Bulge.

Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel delicately balances agony with humor, often prurient. “It’s ninety percent factual, except for the sex scenes, which are absolutely true,” quips Mr. Ellison.

A loveable rogue, Don beds women wherever he finds them: on trains, in forests-- even in a field tent under the nose of an inspecting officer! But tragic loss eventually takes its toll. Don’s reunion with Ken in Verviers is violently cut short. Another close friend, Technical Sergeant Stanley Firestone, dies in a buzz bomb attack while pulling a shift for a newly engaged radio man.

Mark Stuart Ellison received a BA in government from Franklin & Marshall College in 1982. He obtained a JD from Pace University School of Law in 1994 and has worked as a probate attorney and reporter. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 1997, the younger Mr. Ellison’s articles have appeared in Physicians Financial News, Dutchess Magazine, and The Poughkeepsie Journal.

Eli Ellison was a radio truck operator in the 327th Fighter Control Squadron from 1943 to 1945.

Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel
World War II through the Eyes of a Radio Man
Trade Paperback ISBN: 0-595-31916-5
Trade Paperback Price: $20.95
Hardcover ISBN: 0-595-66444-X
Hardcover Price: $30.95
Original Publication Date: October 2004
Publisher: iUniverse Inc.
Available to order wherever fine books are sold.
Order from iUniverse, Inc. at www.iuniverse.com or call 1-877-823-9235.

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Media Contact: Mark Stuart Ellison
email: markstu42@yahoo.com
website: http://www.momdadandethel.com