Richard C. Kirkland, Decorated World War II, Korea Veteran, Shares Experience in WIDE PLACE IN THE ROAD
A story of love, patriotism, sacrifice and heartbreak, author Richard Kirkland shares new American historical fiction.
Depression era Boy Scout Jessie Rascoe's young love for mountain girl Maria Hunter is challenged by beautiful Hallie Lamont, the rancher's daughter. When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything in their community and country, Jessie becomes an Army fighter pilot in the Pacific, excelling in aerial combat. Home on leave he rediscovers his love for Maria. When he returns to combat, he is shot down and captured by New Guinea natives. After months of captivity he escapes and hides at an isolated jungle mission under Japanese surveillance. A young missionary, Stephanie, falls in love with Jessie but she is taken prisoner by a Japanese officer who has fallen in love with her. The war is over before Jessie finally escapes and returns home.
Drawing inspiration from his own life story as well as that of his peers, Kirkland weaves a tale that is equal parts thrilling and romantic.
"While the narrative is fiction, I draw heavily from my own experience and that of my friends," says Kirkland. "The book is a very accurate depiction of what life was like during that time."
According to Kirkland, the book offers a fascinating visit to the youth of what many call the Greatest Generation. Following Jessie through the Great Depression and World War II, the story is supplemented by true historical events that lend historical education as well as entertainment.
"Having lived and experienced much of this story, it was fascinating to write," says Kirkland. "This was a monumental time for American and world history."
Through the book, Kirkland urges us to remember the struggles of previous generations and gives us hope for our future.
"Wide Place in the Road"
By Richard Kirkland
Available at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.
About the Author
Richard C. Kirkland was studying art before WWII, so when he was sent to the Pacific as a fighter pilot, he sketched and painted his surroundings, capturing history as it occurred while flying 103 combat missions. Richard is probably the only fighter pilot in WWII to sketch a combat scene while flying it, then writing the story. In the Korean War he was the only WWII fighter pilot to switch to helicopters and fly 69 missions rescuing downed jet pilots from the Yellow Sea and wounded soldiers from the battlefield to "Hawkeye" at the 8055 MASH. He is also probably the only helicopter pilot to document his experiences with sketches, paintings and subsequent magazine articles and five books. At age 90 Richard is very active, speaks often and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. His gallery contains his paintings, sketches and memorabilia, and can be seen at richardckirkland.com Richard and his wife Maria live in Vienna Virginia and have 9 children and 17 grandchildren.