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Patrick's Friday Night Review with Dr Sandra O Connell

  • Broadcast in Books
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8:30 PM Eastern Time Zone Patrick's Friday y Night Review with Dr. Sandra O' Connell

Sandra O’Connell (Mrs. Ralph L. Minker) is the author of An American Family in World War II, (Minker, O’Connell, and Butowsky). The book is based on the unique collection of 800 letters that the five members of the Minker family exchanged during World War II when Ralph Lee Minker left for pilot training in early 1943. The letters continued as he flew 37 combat missions over Germany as one of the youngest command pilots of a B-17 for the Eighth Air Force.

This correspondence between a soldier and his entire family is the only known collection of its kind to survive the war. From basic training Minker asked his mother to save his letters "as they are taking the place of a diary." In an unusual move he shipped all of the family letters back home as he left each base, even from combat in England.

Their correspondence creates a complete conversation of life in America and England; Ralph, his two teenage sisters and mother and dad write in detail about those perilous times. He returned home in September, 1945; a veteran of two tours of duty and a captain wearing the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters -- barely 21 years old. The box of letters along with a scrapbook of photos was discovered by Minker in the early 1990's.

An American Family in World War II won the silver medal for biography from the Military Writers Society of America in 2010.