Jeff Shaara reads from his most recent work, “The Rising Tide”

From Wednesday’s Times Union:
GUILDERLAND – More than 325 people – including a number of World War II veterans – packed the main reading room of the Guilderland Public Library last Friday to hear bestselling author Jeff Shaara read from his latest work, “The Rising Tide.” Shaara is most famous for historical novels set in the Civil War. But in “The Rising Tide,” he applies his storyteller’s skill to those who fought in the Second World War.Almost a dozen veterans of World War II attended the event and posed for a group photograph with Shaara. One vet said, “It’s good he’s telling our story.”

Shaara’s appearance at the library was part of the library’s Carol J. Hamblin Notable Author Speaker Series. He is the sixth author invited to speak. Previous speakers include Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Grondahl, Joseph E. Persico, Gregory Maguire and Tim Green. The series is named after the former director of the Guilderland Public Library who dedicated 24 years of service to the Library. Early in his presentation, he pre-empted a question he says he gets all the time: “Where do I draw the line between history and fiction? “Well, first of all, the history’s absolutely accurate. I am painstaking about `don’t mess around with history.’ I never put two characters together who never met, nor do I create a conversation that could not have hap pened. That being said, it has to be a good story, or it just becomes a history lesson.” Shaara said he reads as many as 60 books to research and write one of his works. He reads diaries, source documents, whatever period material he can get his hands on. He said “the fun” in writing comes in when he discovers the untold stories. “Today, many people remember Eisenhower as president of the good-old-days Fifties; they think of him as a general who was more of a politician. Not so. He won the Second World War. He held that alliance together and was the chief architect of victory in the European theater,” Shaara said. During his speech, Shaara took the audience behind the scenes with his stories of the war and its strategies. When asked why the Allies first attacked the Germans in North Africa, he replied “Oil. The Germans needed that oil, and the Allies needed to make sure they didn’t get it. … Also, North Africa is America’s first direct involvement in the war against the Germans. …,” he said. “What happens in North Africa paves the way for everything that follows in Europe. And it’s a story most of us simply don’t know.” The decision to include this discussion grew out of last year’s series where forums on World War I led to requests to also include writings about World War II, library officials said. Barbara Nichols Randall, the library’s director, said the library is next planning to host Lucy Ann Hurston, niece of the Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston. Look for more information in the spring. The Carol J. Hamblin Notable Author Speakers Series is underwritten by the Guilderland Library Foundation, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization that raises funds to expand and enhance programs and services provided by the library. Underwriters of Shaara’s appearance include the Burns Management, the Capital District Civil War Round Table, Friends of the Guilderland Public Library, Bruce Sherwin, Hannaford Supermarkets and the Ganz Wolkenbreit & Friedman LLP law firm.


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