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Keeping the Lights on for Ike: Daily Life of a Utilities Engineer at AFHQ in Europe During WWII; or, What to Say in Letters Home When You're Not Allowed to Write about the War Paperback – February 18, 2019

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Keeping the Lights on for Ike by Rebecca Daniels

"The book moves swiftly along, while at the same time capturing the frustration of their prolonged separation. The historical timeline provides just the right bit of historical context to these war years behind at the tail of the army. This is not the typical WWII combat book."- Nina Rossi, The Montague Reporter

"The lack of military detail -- the focus on everyday life and on the relationship between Alec and Mary -- ends up being one of the book's greatest assets. Many works of history detail the story of great battles. Fewer dwell on individual wartime experiences.  The book is also strengthened by the affection expressed in Alec's relatively inarticulate yet moving letters to his wife on the home front."- Tinky Weisblat, Greenfield Recorder

"This book made me feel almost like I was right there with Alec and Mary as they experienced that time of their lives. My parents, being the same age, also had a similar experience and I thought of them as I read every word. The author cleverly brought to life their story and for that, I shall be forever grateful."- Sunbury Press Reader Review

Selected 5-Star Ratings from Goodreads reviewers:
"'Keeping the Lights on for Ike' is a memoir that you won't regret picking up. Rebecca Daniels digs into the story of her parents' life together and of her father's wartime service in World War II with relish and sincerity that both touch the heart and thrill the spirit." - Bookgirl86

"A stunning memoir about love, hope, and family, 'Keeping the Lights on For Ike,' by Rebecca Daniels checks all of the boxes that a good story should. It has all of the romance and drama of a feature film, and the best part is, it's real." - Linda

"Reading their thoughts from that time in their own words, along with the beautiful black and white pictures used throughout the memoir made this book a home run for me. A timeless story about love and war, 'Keeping the Lights on for Ike' is one to be read and read again." - Teddy

"A sweeping grandiose memoir complete with intimately drawn details both in the context of war and back home thus renders Rebecca Daniels a towering authority in this genre. Truly enlightening and gratifying and highly recommendable! - Gud Reader

"This is a fine book for anyone with an interest in family history and the Second World War. It's one of the best books I've read this year." -Tom

From the Author

Excerpt from Author Interview with book blogger, Betty Bee

BB: Please tell us something about the book that is not in the summary
RD: I've often been asked what surprised me the most about the letters that made up the heart of this book, and my answer is always that the surprise (and pleasure) was just how romantic and sexual my parents' relationship was, especially in the early days of their marriage. My folks were both very private, and their children never saw much in the way of public displays of affection between them. No child really wants to know the details of his/her parents' sex life, and when that child is adopted, as I was, it's fairly easy to believe that there was no real romance between them. I never doubted their love and commitment to each other and to our family while I was growing up, but I just never equated it with sex and physical intimacy until I started reading those letters.

BB: How long did it take you to complete 'Keeping the Lights on For Ike from start to fruition?
RD: The letters and other memorabilia came into my possession in early 2005 (and I began) the work of ordering and transcribing the letters and examining the other memorabilia (that winter). ... Inventorying all the papers and other memorabilia, creating the letter transcripts and connecting them to a chronology of the war in Europe (to make sense of many of the necessarily oblique references in the letters due to censorship), and digitizing all the visual images took several years (and there were personal delays along the way). ... After my retirement in the summer of 2015, things took off because I finally had all the research and materials gathering/ordering completed (after ten years!) and a book structure in mind, so all I had to do was, finally, to write. The manuscript took about two years to complete, with each chapter being vetted once and sometimes twice by my writing group. ...(I) found a publisher willing to give me a book contract in the spring of 2018, and the rest of that year was spent in final revisions and edits to the manuscript, first on my own and then with the editorial staff at my publisher, Sunbury Press. The book came out in early 2019. So, 14 years in all, though not all of that time was spent in working on the book itself because of the various distractions along the way.

BB: Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?
RD: Because with the letters I had also inherited many photographic images taken during the war years by my parents, I knew I wanted a photo cover of some kind. Sunbury had a book cover designer for me to work with, and I sent him about a dozen of my favorite images, mostly photos but including a couple of letter scans, and I asked him to play around with them to see what he might come up with. The image he created was a combination of a photo of my parents when my dad was in basic training and an image of the last letter my mother had written to him overseas during the war. The letter had been returned to her because he was already on his way home after three years away, and she put the envelope into her scrapbook. Because the book is as much about their relationship sustained through the letters as about the war itself, I loved the designer's idea of combining the photo from basic training with that last returned envelope image.

For more Q&A and the complete interview: tootsbookreviews.blogspot.com/2020/06/spotlight-review-author-interview_... )

Product details

  • Item Weight : 14.9 ounces
  • Paperback : 284 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1620061147
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1620061145
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.71 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : Sunbury Press, Inc. (February 18, 2019)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

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