I was born in Georgia way too long ago. My parents could never decide if the first word I ever said was “airplane” or “star” which only shows I’ve been an aerospace nut from the beginning. Along the path of life I’ve acquired degrees in mathematics and law. I’ve worked as a restaurant manager, an insurance rater, a stable hand, a flight school dispatcher, a proofreader and copy editor, pizza delivery driver, a paralegal and an engineering technician. At present I live in Hickory, NC, with a wonderful woman who loves me despite my (many!) flaws. In all my spare time I volunteer at the Hickory Aviation Museum and pursue my omnivorous tastes in reading.
24 responses to “About”
Are you going to continue the No Merciful War Series. I found it an excellent read, and hope that you do. I think I recall “The New Boys” as I title I have not been able to find as of yet referenced at the end of the third book in the series.
Hi, George! I’m absolutely continuing work on the series. Looking at it last night, there are at least seven more books.
Truth is, when I issued the fourth book, Thanks for the Memories, I thought I was a lot further along with the fifth book, The New Kids (I changed the title). Then life happened, as I’m sure you’ve experienced! Health issues, semi-retirement, aging relatives, other commitments.
Anyway, The New Kids is taking shape. I’m working on the 2nd Draft now, and I’m pretty sure I can have it done before Christmas, barring accidents.
Preview of coming attractions: Some of the characters in Jimmy’s flight, as well as Jimmy himself, will return in CARTWHEEL, set against the campaign against Rabaul (a Marine probably knows about Cape Gloucester, part of Operation CARTWHEEL) and Charlie Davis will see action with the RAF Bomber Command. Haven’t finalized a title on that one yet; working title “POINTBLANK Part One.” Then Jack Davis is training a bunch of new pilots to go to Europe in Nos Credimus (brush up on your Latin!). Those are the next three books. Won’t say further, and no idea on order of appearance.
BTW, do you know a Colonel Huggins? USMC? He’s the son of a friend of mine who’s also a fan, Lawrence Huggins, BG, USAF-Ret.
Anyway, thanks so much for your inquiry and your interest! It really helps me keep going.
I greatly enjoyed the No Merciful War Series. In fact, I read all four, one after the other, and reached for the fifth and it wasn’t there! Glad to hear it should be out around Christmas; a great gift for me. Please keep writing and I promise to keep reading.
Will do, George, and thanks!!
There is a book about Senator Johnson, later to be president who was sent to Australia to find out why the bombers were having such difficulties. He rode in a bombing run and they came back shot up. There was no new parts and the bottleneck was found to be the Australian longshoremen failure to offload ships in a timely manner. No work weekends or in rain, numerous coffee breaks, etc. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the book.
Hi, Laurin! Thanks for the tip. I remember reading something about LBJ’s trip to the SW Pacific, but the only thing I remember for sure is that he went out with the 22nd Bomb Group in an airplane called “Heckling Hare.” And yeah, I think you’re right about the Aussie longshoremen. Something about union rules, maybe?
Just finished reading The New Kids and I am disappointed. Not in the books, but rather there is no book#6 out yet! You have wrecked my free time because I couldn’t put any of your books down. Superior plot and a very human way of telling the stories; the best I have read in many years, and I have probably read 35 historical fiction and non-ficton books about WWII. I am a fan! Thank you!
Thanks, Darrell! I really appreciate that. So you know, I’m work on Book 6, titled Shoestring’s End. I’m going to try hard to have it done by Christmas, but no promises. Glad you liked the books!
Good Day, Mr Burkhalter,
It has been my pleasure over the last few weeks to read your No Merciful War series. Congratulations. You have done a masterful job in creating a vivid picture of the war and conditions of war in the Southwest Pacific in the early years of the war. It is particularly touching to my sister and I, giving us a sense of that bit of World War II. Our brother, Earl Oxford Hall, was in the USAAF during the early years, from being in the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field, the long flight from Hawaii to New Caledonia, and the air war in the Solomons until he was lost in February 1943 off Choiseul Island.
In 2001, I was finally able to track down what happened on that final mission, with the help of the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB. Until then, all the family had was second-hand, and incorrect, information. Our search was limited by the fact that his personnel records were among those burned in the 1970s.
In the course of my research, I read many first-hand documents on the South Pacific war, many unit histories, and a number of other USAAF documents and histories. I developed a good appreciation of what that theater of battle was like.
As I read through your books, I was deeply impressed by your ability to evoke the conditions and to create the “look and feel” of those jungle airstrips, and the sheer horror of the air battles. Like Charlie, my brother Earl was a B-17 pilot, and no doubt experienced many of the tales you tell in the books. For my sister and me, reading about Charlie gave us a clear picture of the life Earl lived in the Solomons.
One of the by-products of my research was to contact and meet some of the families of the ten crew members on Earl’s B-17. Those connections have been good for all of us, and led some of us to write biographies of our lost family members. There are four biographies now, preserving their stories for the future. Those biographies are in the archive link below, along with the history documents.
Another by-product was to digitize and archive many historical documents of the 42nd Bombardment Squadron. If you care to look at what is there, the web address is: http://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/91130 under the general title: 42nd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) 11th Bombardment Group, 7th Air Force, 1941-1946
We are looking forward to additional books as you complete them.
Hal W. Hall
I have read and re-read the first six books of the No Merciful War series. Your characters come alive on the page! I look forward to reading more of the series and more of your books. I’m greedy and want more! Thanks for doing a great job!
Hi, Robert, many thinks for those kind words and for reading! I’m working on the seventh book now, and hope to have it out before the end of the year, if not sooner. FYI, there should be another six books in the series, including the one I’m working on now. Thanks again!
I have thoroughly enjoyed the No Merciful War Series 1-7 which I will probably start re-reading until 8, 9, and 10 come out. As a theater educator, I love the good story lines and well developed characters that seem to grow through their experiences. Please keep this series going, they are, as some of my students used to say, “a really good read”.
Hi, Andrew, many thanks for your kind email! FYI, I’m working on Book 8 now. Working title Endurance: a Novel of the SW Pacific Air War April-May 1943.
Now please satisfy my curiosity: what exactly does a “theater educator” do?
Anyway, best regards and thanks again!
I taught college level theatrical scenic and lighting design, technical theater and introduction to theater classes for 19 years. It involved a lot of reading in history, cultural anthropology, basic engineering and art. I can happily say I never “worked” a day because the job was so interesting and actually fun. I am retired now and enjoy reading, genealogy, and “working’ in my woodshop.
Thanks for elucidating! I thought it must be something like that, but it’s always better to ask a pro. Sounds like you have to do a lot of the same things I do when I’m researching a book.
And yeah, when you’re involved in interesting and creative problem solving, it’s hard to call it work! Of course the paycheck is a real bonus.
Did you ever use those lines from the Chorus at the beginning of Shakespeare’s Henry V as an example of the types of issues a set designer might face? That is: “But pardon, and gentles all, The flat unraised spirits that have dared / On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth / So great an object: can this cockpit hold / The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram / Within this wooden O the very casques / That did affright the air at Agincourt?”
Just curious! Have a great day!
Creating an environment for the play to live in does require a great deal of research and is stimulating and rewarding. I got to “travel” the world from ancient Greece to our current world through researching places that I could not actually visit.
I have read Henry V and seen it but have never had the opportunity to design and tech it. In the lines quoted Shakespeare is creating a mental setting in the minds of the audience, asking them to push their “I believe button”. The “Wooden O” is referring to the Globe Theater, Not large enough to permit much scenery.
Always curious! You have a great day as well.
Love your books. Am waiting for book 8. Anyway to be notified when it is released?
Many thanks for your kind words!
I don’t have a release date for Book 8 yet. The working title is Endurance: a Novel of the SW Pacific Air War April-May 1943.
You’re actually the first person to ask for notification of release. I guess I need to start an email list and release periodic updates. So if it’s OK with you, I’ll start that list and you’ll be the first person on it.
A little sneak preview: as the subtitle shows, we’re back with the 5th AF in New Guinea. We’ll see what happens to Jimmy Ardana and Danny Evans, along with some new and returning minor characters that will appear in future books.
Future books, you ask? Of course! My plan is for at least five more volumes after Endurance. The working titles for the next three are
The Final Hours
All of these take place in Europe with the 8th AF, probably covering the period between August 1943 and April 1944.
The last two books will be back in the Pacific, mostly on a little island called Tinian.
Anyway, got to get back to work! Again, I really appreciate your letter. Write anytime.
Please put me on your “notify” list, too. I put a plug for your books on the 11th Bombardment Group Facebook page, trying to get the word out.
Hi, Hal, by complete coincidence I’m reading Cox’s Morning Star, Midnight Sun, which mentioned the 11th BG when it first arrived in Espiritu Santo. Talk about making war at the end of a shoestring! Anyway, thanks so much for the plug, that’s always appreciated. As soon as I get the mailing list set up, your name goes on it! Thanks again! — Tom Burkhalter
Under the Southern Cross. *The South Pacific Air Campaign Against Rabaul. By *Thomas McKelvey Cleaver https://ospreypublishing.com/uk/author/thomas-mckelvey-cleaver/. Osprey Publishing co.
From August 7, 1942 until February 24, 1944, the US Navy fought the most difficult campaign in its history. Between the landing of the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal and the final withdrawal of the Imperial Japanese Navy from its main South Pacific base at Rabaul, the US Navy suffered such high personnel losses that for years it refused to publicly release total casualty figures.
The Solomons campaign saw the US Navy at its lowest point, forced to make use of those ships that had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other units of the pre-war navy that had been hastily transferred to the Pacific. 140 days after the American victory at Midway, USS Enterprise was the only pre-war carrier left in the South Pacific and the US Navy would have been overwhelmed in the face of Japanese naval power had there been a third major fleet action. At the same time, another under-resourced campaign had broken out on the island of New Guinea. The Japanese attempt to reinforce their position there had led to the Battle of the Coral Sea in May and through to the end of the year, American and Australian armed forces were only just able to prevent a Japanese conquest of New Guinea.
The end of 1942 saw the Japanese stopped in both the Solomons and New Guinea, but it would take another 18 hard-fought months before Japan was forced to retreat from the South Pacific. Under the Southern Cross draws on extensive first-hand accounts and new analysis to examine the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns which laid the groundwork for Allied victory in the Pacific War.
Hi, Hal, if you’ll go to http://www.thomasburkhalter.com, I’ve added an email signup sheet. Please let me know if it works! Thanks!!
Hi, Jay, I’ve added an email signup sheet on my website, http://www.thomasburkhalter.com. Please go sign up, and let me know if it works! This is a new thing for me. Thanks!
Hi, Jay, after much prevarication I’ve got my email list up and running! If you want to sign up, either email me your details (email address and name is enough) and I’ll do it myself, or go to http://www.thomasburkhalter.com and there’s a signup sheet at the bottom of the first page.