Book Title: The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army
Author: Glen Craney
Publication Date: January, 2014
Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press
Page Length: 561
Two armies. One flag. No honor.
The most shocking day in American history.
Former political journalist Glen Craney brings to life the little-known story of the Bonus March of 1932, which culminates in a bloody clash between homeless World War I veterans and U.S. Army regulars on the streets of Washington, D.C.
Mired in the Great Depression and on the brink of revolution, the nation holds its collective breath as a rail-riding hobo named Walter Waters leads 40,000 destitute men and their families to the steps of the U.S. Capitol on a desperate quest for economic justice.
This timely epic evokes the historical novels of Jeff Sharra as it sweeps across three decades following eight Americans who survive the fighting in France and come together fourteen years later to determine the fate of a country threatened by communism and fascism.
From the Boxer Rebellion in China to the Plain of West Point, from the persecution of conscientious objectors to the horrors of the Marne, from the Hoovervilles of the heartland to the pitiful Anacostia encampment, here is an unforgettable portrayal of the political intrigue and government betrayal that ignited the only violent conflict between two American armies.
Clad in his crisp new Khaki Shirts uniform and black riding boots, Waters hurried up the interior staircase of the State, War and Navy Building. Accompanying him were two BEF staff men and Herbert Ward, a local attorney who had donated his time to help find housing for the veterans. Waters could almost taste the rarefied air of power here. For all of these many months, the president had adamantly refused to meet with him, not wishing to be photographed with the lowly of this world. Now, reaching the top floor, he realized that this was as close as he had ever gotten to that Quaker recluse. He paused at a window and searched the White House grounds across the way, hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous medicine ball. But all he saw were lines of armed Secret Service agents stationed around the perimeter fence to fend off the feared Communist attacks.
Never mind old Herbert. The man wasn’t long for the Oval Office anyway, not with Roosevelt promising relief to the common folk. Today he would be negotiating with the real powerbrokers in the government. At long last, he was about to fulfill his dream of meeting his hero. That morning, General MacArthur’s courier had personally delivered the invitation to Anacostia. He still couldn’t quite believe that the Beau Brummel of the Marne was requesting a meeting with him. Generals ordered enlisted men to their headquarters, but they requested meetings with fellow commanders.
Mac must have finally discovered that another military man of consequence now resided in the city. Probably dawned on him last night, after that loudmouth Royal Robertson conceded defeat and took off for California in his traveling gallows getup. Mac had taken long enough to come to his senses, that was for damn sure. Heck, the general had never even once come down to the camp to speak to the men.
But all was forgiven now. With Mac championing their cause, it wouldn’t be long before they’d find a home, maybe even get their Bonus. He just wished Alford were with him to savor the triumph. But his trusted advisor had gone off again without leaving word of his whereabouts. Knowing Georgie, he was probably in Virginia or Maryland somewhere trying to forage spoiling hamburger for the boys.
He walked down the long hall and came to a set of mahogany doors that held a metal nameplate: Office of the Chief of Staff. Before knocking, he whispered the drill that he had practiced as a boy to smooth out his words. “Just my daggum luck.… Just my daggum luck.… Just my daggum luck.”
“Walter, are you okay?” asked Ward.
Waters nodded, holding his right hand to stifle its shaking.
Just then, Major Eisenhower, MacArthur’s adjutant, turned the corner. “Gentlemen, General MacArthur and the Secretary are waiting. Follow me.”
Eisenhower maintained a stony expression. “The meeting will be in Secretary Hurley’s office.”
Waters grinned as he and his BEF men were led to an office several doors down the hall. Hurley was Hoover’s main mouthpiece, so that meant Hoover himself would be as good as in the room. Eisenhower escorted them into the Secretary of War’s massive office and closed the door behind them. Across the room, Patrick Hurley sat behind a desk festooned with Indian arrowheads, stone tomahawks, and other New Mexico artifacts. The War Department chief took a pained look at his guests and set his jaw in disdain. With a snap of his wrist, he silently motioned them toward a row of chairs that had been set up in front of him as if ready for a seated firing squad.
Behind Hurley, a tall, erect man paced back and forth with his hands clasped behind his back. Several seconds passed before Waters realized that the meditating walker was General MacArthur in civilian clothing. Waters bounded up from his chair to offer his hand to his hero. “General, by God you gave ’em hell in the Argonne. You and I were in the same sector, from what I’ve been told.”
MacArthur kept his arms behind his back, and continued pacing.
Waters figured the general didn’t realize who he was, so he introduced himself. “I’m Commander Waters.”
Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Finalist Chaucer Award Book-of-the-Year Finalist indieBRAG Medallion Honoree
Praise for The Yanks are Starving:
"[A] wonderful source of historical fact wrapped in a compelling novel." -- Historical Novel Society Reviews
"[A] vivid picture of not only men being deprived of their veterans' rights, but of their human rights as well.…Craney performs a valuable service by chronicling it in this admirable book." — Military Writers Society of America
Glen Craney is an author, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. A graduate of Indiana University Law School and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he is the recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship Prize from the Academy of Motion Pictures and the Chaucer and Laramie First-Place Awards for historical fiction. He is also a four-time indieBRAG Medallion winner, a Military Writers Society of America Gold Medalist, a four-time Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist, and an Historical Novel Society Reviews Editor's Choice honoree. He lives in Malibu and has served as the president of the Southern California Chapter of the HNS.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Glen-Craney/e/B002C1VQZ8