The Korean War is often forgotten in the overlay of conflict in the twentieth century. "Public Information" is a novel from Rolf Margenau writing of Wylie Cypher, a man whose entry into the military in 1952 finds him ending up in the Korean conflict. As he travels the region, he learns much about the world, the army's brotherhood, and life. "Public Information" is a fine read well worth considering for historical fiction collections.
Reviewer - Midwest Book Review
About the Author
He first published short stories as an English Major from Yale. As Garrison Keillor has noted, it is very difficult to stop being an English Major. So, when the author discovered that his wife kept all the 300 plus letters he wrote her from Korea, he decided to use that material as the basis for a novel about the Korean War. It was a story he had wanted to tell for many years. He felt he was now experienced enough to tell it well.
Public Information is based on his experiences as NCO in charge of a combat Infantry Division Public Information (hence the title) Office in Korea. It tells the story of Wylie Cypher, a hapless young soldier who arrives in Korea in the midst of bloody combat. Wylie manages to survive his sixteen-month tour of duty as Margenau recounts in gory, ribald, poignant and accurate detail. His adventures are recounted in military jargon and his sometimes abrasive involvement with the "Army way" describes the good, bad and incredible of life in the military. Along the way, Wylie manages to find and lose love.
Pistils and Poetry is the author's second book. It is a compilation of Margenau's favorite Elizabethan poems (Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, and numerous others) juxtaposed with the author's photographs of flowers. It is a rich and engaging poetry book, enhanced and complimented by luscious photos of flowers. The book is considered as an elegant way to tease reluctant poetry readers into an appreciation of the beautiful sentiments and language of long ago masters of the English language.