Introducing Donald Cifarelli, author of The Reluctant Warrior

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Donald Cifarelli currently lives in Carlsbad, CA, where he teaches Italian conversation gratis to seniors at the Encinitas Senior Center. He is a member of the YMCA and meets regularly with a group of seniors for coffee, conversation, and workouts. His interests include writing, playing the guitar and ukulele, cooking, and reading an average of a book a week.

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Book description…

Life, Love, War, and the American Dream. Donald Cifarelli was born to be a soldier: he came into the world on March 4th, 1924-and in one way or another, marching forth is what he’s always done. At the age of four, he arrived at Ellis Island, and a year later, watched the American Dream tatter and fade with the onset of The Great Depression. But “The Reluctant Warrior” is the memoir of a man who saw what he wanted in the great United States and embraced life in America with a full and open heart. This is the story of his journey from a colorful childhood as an immigrant in Brooklyn to assimilation into American culture, and the fateful day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when he heard President Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech and knew that he would fight to preserve the freedom that was America’s promise. Along with the horrors of war in North Africa and in Italy during the final campaign that ended WWII, Donald unexpectedly found love, which had to survive long months of separation and uncertainty. After being reunited at the end of the war, the Cifarellis faced the task of rejoining everyday society, and struggling to find work and realize their dream of a home and family. Candid, detailed, deeply personal yet broadly relatable, “The Reluctant Warrior” is a vivid picture of the historical arc of the 20th century in America.

Introducing Ronald J. Wichers, author of Collected Stories

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Ronald J. Wichers was born in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, until drafted into the United States Army in 1970. He was assigned to a rifle company with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and, after sustaining the loss of a limb, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, the Bronze Star Medal. He later studied theology, at the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley California.

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Book description…

“My God. I honestly don’t know how that kind of stuff could happen. I come from a really good family.” Among the other items collected here, the nine Myrmidon stories are of men drafted into military Service and assigned to an infantry company, in a combat zone, and once there to fight to the death if need be. These are glimpses of little people trapped into a wide and sweeping conflagration; moreover, they are descriptions of the kinds of things that can and do go wrong in war, any war but especially one in which the troops are given no clear reason as to why they are to kill or be killed. While there were many stories of true heroism that came out of the war in Vietnam, those examples of self-sacrifice are, in a way, clouded, by an overall sense that none of it should ever have been allowed to happen. If there was any “Glory” to be had there it was on the side of the Vietnamese people in defense of their homeland. Myrmidons was written not because I’m a glass-half-empty type but, rather, as a kind of prayer, a cry, a hope that this kind of thing – our nation’s propensity for wildly and recklessly careening around the world, guns blazing – may never happen again. They are intended as a warning to anyone entering military service to be made aware that, when it comes to war, there is no such thing as a neat “surgical strike” or a “cake walk.” It’s a ragged, messy, bloody affair in which, even with the best of intentions, everyone suffers, especially the “little people.”