Press Releases > Author-Alum At Franklin & Marshall
Author-Alum At Franklin & Marshall
World War II Novel Echoes War On Terror
Brooklyn, New York -- Aug 22, 2005 --

Last summer, Franklin & Marshall College alumnus Mark Stuart Ellison promised his dying father, Eli Ellison, that his story would live on. Several months later that promise was kept with the publication of Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel: World War II through the Eyes of a Radio Man (iUniverse, Oct. 2004).

On Saturday, October 1, 2005, Mark Stuart Ellison returns to Franklin & Marshall for a book talk and signing at the bookstore in Distler House on Race Avenue in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. For more information, call Debra Schwanke at 717-291-4093.

The product of six years of research and writing, Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel is a novel based on Eli Ellison’s tragicomic experiences as a radio truck operator in Western Europe from 1943 to 1945. It also has striking relevance to today’s war on terrorism.

Eli Ellison, who co-authored Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel, 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 is about fate and faith in wartime,” notes co-author Mark Stuart Ellison, 44. “By 1944 Adolf Hitler had become a terrorist. His buzz bombs and V-2 rockets were specifically designed to break the will of civilian populations. Their inaccuracy added to the sense of insecurity. People never knew when or where they’d hit. Like today’s terrorist bombings in Baghdad and London, V-weapons were a Damocles Sword over the heads of both soldiers and civilians.

“The Battle of the Bulge was a terrible time for the Belgian people. Imagine being liberated from a brutal tyrant who occupied your country for years, only to be threatened with his return a few months later. Verviers (Belgium) was a focal point in the battle. Food and fuel were scarce, and there were prolonged power outages because saboteurs were cutting electrical lines. Sound familiar?”

A unique blend of familial letters, romance, and history, 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 hero, Don Quix, 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, except during the Battle of the Bulge, when he’s right on the front lines. In Verviers and Liège (Belgium), 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.

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 the younger 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 V-1 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 a reporter. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 1997, the younger Mr. Ellison’s articles have appeared in Dutchess Magazine, Physicians Financial News, 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
Publication Date: Oct. 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