Welcome to My Author Page
This page is a synopsis of my writing career. It is a small glimpse of the numberous volumes of writings over the course of my life.
Beryl, A Soldier’s Story
Phoenix, Arizona….11/06/2010……..The Arizona Author’s Association Awards Banquet was held on November 6, 2010 and I won third place in the Unpublished Novel category for ‘Beryl, A Soldier’s Story’.
Beryl, A Soldier’s Story is a yet-to-be-published historical novel set in WWII and is based on a few short years in the life of Kenneth Beryl Edgell, the late Uncle of the author.
The story is set in Goodland, Kansas, England and Normandy, France. Beryl Edgell was an officer in the 175 Regiment and commanded a platoon of riflemen. Beryl is a study in human nature as young recruits from across America mature to fighting soldiers in Normandy, France. Based on soldier’s stories and battle reports, the historical context of the story preserves the movements of the 175th Regiment, ‘Dandy Fifth’ during their training in England, the landing on the Normandy beach and the drive south to battle the German army in the bocage as they fight their way to St. Lo. Day by day, hour by hour, the movements of Beryl’s platoon include the battles, missions and patrols as they encounter a well concealed German army and the snipers that are left behind to slow the advancing Allied army.
Beryl is a young Lieutenant from Goodland, Kansas and his only experience with leadership was in High School when he led his Tennis and Football teams to victory. He soon finds military life presenting him with new challenges as an officer and doubts begin to erode his boyhood confidence. Now he has a platoon of 36 men and he must mold the green recruits into a fighting unit. He is joined in this task by his Staff Sergeant, Frank Deitz, who left the Catholic Seminary at the moment of his final vows to participate in the military campaign against Hitler’s army. Sergeant Deitz is educated in dealing with people and their problems and through a combination of psychology and his experiences in the seminary; he is able to counsel the men of the Platoon as they struggle with personal issues and military relationships. Sergeant Deitz has his own vulnerabilities as he meets a young British girl and falls in love. It is his first girlfriend and even though mature for his age, he is a neophyte in matters of love and romance. He had never kissed a girl romantically, let alone make love to one. Deitz, the virile head of the platoon matches wits with Angela as she lures him to her heart.
- Angela, the British girl who seduces Deitz and educates him on the horrors of the German bombing of London.
- Kate, the beautiful neighbor of Beryl’s village host who is engaged to Sonny, a British soldier fighting in North Africa. Kate shares her loneliness with Beryl at the Tedworth mansion.
- Esther Copeland, the girl from Kansas who becomes Beryl’s wife and soul mate.
- Sergeant Anderson, an angry young man that must work through his anger to become a squad leader concerned with the men in his unit.
- Private Torkeldson (Tork), the farm kid from Iowa who must learn to fight and think for himself.
- Sergeant Gault, a son of a General Motors VP who contributes a unique prospective to the military and war.
- Private Davison, the bastard son of a laundry worker whose Deism and pedantry both intrigue and amuse his fellow soldiers.
- Private Love, the Georgia boy who attracts the ladies and entertains with his music and charm.
- Private Kuzinski (Ski), the Platoon clown who adds humor to the hazards of training and diffuses conflict with his comedy.
Several literary cameos are presented in the context of the story:
- Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt Junior, the mistress of Tedworth mansion and hostess for parties benefiting the soldiers.
- Lady Nancy Astor, who visits Tedworth to boost the moral of the soldiers training in England.
- General Gerhardt, Commander of the 29th Division, who inspired and cajoled his men to advance to St. Lo.
- General Cote, Assistant Commander of the 29th who stayed in the battlefield and coordinated Battalion movements.
- Colonel Goode, Commander of the 175th Infantry Regiment (Dandy Fifth) who led his men on critical missions.
Beryl combines romance, religion, intrigue, cultural clashes and the adventure of hedgerow battles with the German army in this historical tale of a platoon of men who have trained for over a year in England and must engage with the well-trained German army in the bocage of Normandy, France. The personalities of the men are exhibited by their behavior in battles as they protect their fellow squad members during the harrowing experience of war. The reader will feel the intensity of each patrol and battle as the 29th Division moves south from the beaches of Normandy to drive the German army from France.
Pagenkopf, The Royal Connection.
Phoenix, Arizona….11/05/2011……..The Arizona Author’s Association Awards Banquet was held on November 5, 2011 and I won second place in the Unpublished Novel category for ‘Pagenkopf; The Royal Connection.’
This full length historical novel is centered on two themes: my family history (Edgell – Deves – Pagenkopf) that dates back to Pomerania, Prussia and the second theme of the Hohenzollern monarch family who ruled the Kingdom of Prussia in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
The story begins at the Versailles Palace outside of Paris and the European leaders are assembled for a ceremony. Inside the palace apartment of the French monarchy is an old King, his two sons and his trusted advisor: the year is 1871. The King is not the French King. The King is Wilhelm I, King of Prussia. King Wilhelm is reminiscing on the many times he has had to travel to Paris to finish a war started by the French. The story then takes the reader back in time to 1815 and the fields of Belgium. Wilhelm is an 18 year old cavalry captain under the command of Field Marshall Blucher, the appointed leader of the Prussian army.
We are then introduced to Peter Pagenkopf and his son Martin. Peter is in the Pomeranian cavalry unit and Martin is the vassal to Prince Wilhelm. The story develops through the battles in Belgium against Napoleon Bonaparte and we learn more and more about the personalities and characters of Wilhelm, Peter and Martin. After the war, we follow Wilhelm and the history of the Hohenzollern monarchy and parallel it with the Pagenkopf family as they build their farm estate and become more involved in the intrigues of Prussian diplomacy and politics. There is a hint of romance in the story, revealing a special connection between the Hohenzollern and Pagenkopf families.
There are many key historical European figures
in the novel: Hapsburg family, Prince Metternich, Alexander and
Nicholas Romanov, King Ludwig of Bavaria, Napoleon I, II and III,
General Ney and General Vandamme, King Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia,
Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Wilhelm, Charlotte Hohenzollern
(married to Nicholas Romanov), Princess Victoria (daughter of Queen
Victoria and wife of Crown Prince Frederick), King Louis XVIII,
Prince of Orange and many more. The reader will be entertained and
enjoy the rich history of this period in European life: a period of
political intrigue, wars, changing borders and of course, the
industrial revolution. There are similarities between the strife in
America between the North and South and the struggles in the German
states between the machinery manufacturing regions and the agrarian
movements in Europe. Finally, the reader will see the American civil
war from a European perspective and gain new insight into the
character of the Prussian and German people and leaders.
This is a third historical novel I would like to write.
The period is the early 20th century and we see the great powers of the world competing on a global scale for natural resources and control of the resource rich backward countries. England and France were the leaders in colonization of third world countries and led in the control of foreign governments. America had little interest in colonies since she was rich in natural resources and didn’t require colonies in distant lands. The biggest threat to England and France for the world’s resources was Germany, whose industrial and financial might overshadowed her historical rivals. The material details the economic competition between these three great European powers and the cloak room schemes that led to World War I.........a war that should never have happened except for the greed of England and France and their desire to crush their main competitor and control the resources of the middle and Far East. World War 1 began as a regional dispute between Germany and Austria on one side and Russia and Serbia on the other side. Russia had a loose treaty with France and invited France into the war. France readily agreed, still smarting over the loss of the Franco-Prussian war and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Prussia. The British were anxious to be part of the Russian/France alliance because of her fear of the naval might of Germany and possible loss of colonies and influence on the middle east governments. An additional conspiracy was the maneuvering by England and France and their clever manipulation of American politics and industrial leaders that led to the American involvement in the war. The American people rallied around a shallow war cry of “the war to end all wars.” With no other reason than war profiteering at home, America became involved and the result of her support was the crushing defeat of Germany. Unlike former European wars where the victor demanded payment for the war costs, the French and British were determined to impose penalties and reparations on Germany that would ruin its economy for over a decade......the time needed for France and Britain to consolidate and entrench themselves in their colonial territories. Of the 440 articles of the WWI Versailles Peace Treaty, 417 were intended to punish Germany and destroy her economy. History has shown the outcome of these punitive measures was the willingness of a desperate German population to support Adolph Hitler in his promises to bring back prosperity, put food on the German tables and restore the German pride.
Chronicles of the Edgell Family
Adult members of the Edgell family wrote their life stories and contributed their special photographs for this project.
The project not only provided the Edgells a way to preserve their
own personal history, it also became an assembly of the numerous
photographs held by all the members. The result was a leather bound book of the Edgell family chronicles.
Chronicles of Fernand Graser
I first met Fernand (Fred) Graser at the Phoenix Tennis Center in 2010. We were participating in a casual ‘drop in’ round robin match with other ‘drop in’ members. Fred was 81 years old in 2010 and still plays a good game of tennis. A player that lives near Fred mentioned to me that Fred spoke English, French and German and had the distinction of being in the German army during WWII and later he was in the French army. My second language is German and Fred’s story piqued my curiosity. We started to talk and several months later I finished his chronicles: 162 pages and most of Fred’s prize photographs.
Table Soccer Rules and Strategy
My first published work was a book titled 'Table Soccer Rules and Strategy'. In 1974 a faddish game began to emerge called Fussball. Even though the game has been around since World War One, its popularity didn’t emerge until the 1970s. At the height of its popularity, Fussball was a national pastime among the young and 1/2 million dollar tournaments were held in the United States. My brother Steve and I got 'hooked' on the game during college in 1971 and 1972 and began writing the book. Steve was finishing his dissertation for his PhD and I was taking post graduate courses at the University of Minnesota. In our spare time we either played Fussball at the 'Big Ten Bar' on campus, or we were writing the book. After college, we both moved to Phoenix, Arizona and found a local publisher. The book was published in 1974 by O'Sullivan Woodside and Company and sold over 20,000 copies. There are many references to the book on the World Wide Web and it is commonly referred to as an 'obscure little book'. One would expect such a label after 32 years and the book out of print for 20 years. Still, it was the first book to address the rules and the first book to teach novice players about the strategy and psychology of the play. And, yes, that is me on the cover eons ago.
Marshall High School Memory Book
In the summer of 2011 I had the pleasure of compiling and editing the Memory Book for my 50th high school reunion. The reunion committee had sent out letters and invitations to all the classmates asking them to send in their current ‘bio’ and photos to be included in the book. The compiling of the material involved scanning many of the pages of our yearbook from 1961 and putting the material in the manuscript. Each student photo from the yearbook had to be cropped from the page so it could be in the heading of each classmate’s individual ‘bio’ page. Also, photos from events and sports were assembled into a collage. There was a page devoted to those who served in the military and pages devoted to the known deceased, to the classmates we couldn’t locate and the classmates we located but didn’t respond. The memory book was finally put to print before the class reunion: 101 pages and a real pleasure to perform the task. The complete memory book and additions since the reunion can be found on this web page: http://bedgell.com/memory/index.html