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A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham Paperback – May 26, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Before reading this book, I only knew about Major General Howard L. Peckham in passing. I am, however, happy and even feel honoured that I read this book. . . .The reader is given what I feel is an intimate look into the life of a man who gave his entire life to serving his country. . . .The book is written well with a good eye to detail and flow. It is also edited well, making it an enjoyable read. I would recommend any military or patriotic historian give this one a try."--5 STARS! Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett of Readers' Favorite


"A very informative book. Her father's work in Paris reminded me of a marker I once saw in a Kansas cemetery--'He left his home in perfect health, he looked so young and brave. We little thought how soon he'd be laid in a soldier's grave.' He might have been one of the boys Jean's dad sent back." -- Forrest E. Funk, World War II Veteran

"A Salute to Patriotism is the story of Major General Howard L. Peckham. What makes the book special is that it is penned by his daughter, who showcases the legacy of her father and captures the love he had for his country. She is articulate when it comes to sharing her father's life with readers and gives insight into people who lived during and after WWII. She also discusses her father's personal life in this well-written biography, showing readers that, apart form being an amazing man, he was also a good husband and father."--Mamta Madhavan, Book Reviewer 

"The book is well thought-out and well researched.  .  . a well-documented war story that needed to be told. . . .The writing is straightforward, accessible, and especially charming as the author brings in her own stories, her own point of view." --- Commentary from Writer's Digest

"Major General Howard Peckham definitely led an interesting life, as depicted throughout this book. But this isn't just a book of the professional work. . . . It's also about his personal life. . . . I found it very interesting learning about history in this way. . . .There is also plenty of information from the author's point of view to go along with what is being said. . . . excellently written and also very descriptive. I was intrigued by everything I read and would definitely do better with history if it was all written this way." 5 STARS! Reviewed by Samantha Rivera of Readers' Favorite

From the Author

One thing that inspired me to write this book, among others, was the movie Saving Private Ryan. I first saw it several years ago. When the opening scenes appeared  of the American military cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, I was reminded of my father's work as head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC). He held that position in Europe during the critical period 1947-1950. I felt then, and still do, that people should know the history behind that resting place and about the diligent work performed by U.S. Army graves registration personnel in caring for the more than 150,000 deceased heroes of the European Theater. I did considerable research before writing the chapters in my book that pertain to the work.  Historian Stephen E. Ambrose, author of Band of Brothers and other best-selling books, wrote me these words in a letter dated July 9, 1999: "I have visited nearly all the cemeteries in Europe. . . .and I thank God for the American Battle Monuments Commission and the American Graves Registration Command."

My father's major World War II story, for which he received a DSM medal, included searching for oil and procuring it, procuring gasoline, and then allocating these products to American troops worldwide.  It also also gave me the inspiration to write this book. He was a brigadier general then (promoted to major general in 1952). Here are excerpts from two of the several publications that mention his work as director of fuels and lubricants: 

United States Oil Policy Since World War 1, by Stephen J. Randall: 
"Brigadier General H.L. Peckham, for example, director of the fuels and lubricants division of the Quartermaster Corps, commented to the secretary of war that the department's view had supported a 'frank discussion' on areas of potential . . ."
Aramco, the United States, and Saudi Arabia: A Study of the Dynamics of Foreign Oil Policy, 1933-1950, by Irvine H. Anderson, Jr: 
"The rest of the American delegation included Brigadier General H. L. Peckham of the War Department, Leroy D. Stinebower of the Office of Economic Affairs and James C. Sappington and John A. Loftus of the Office of the Petroleum Advisor in . . ."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Cypress Publishing (May 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966585550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966585551
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,542,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a veteran, I am always fascinated by the stories of older generations who similarly served, and yet this may be one of the most strikingly unique stories that I've ever read. World War II resulted in more death and destruction than most people in today's world can even comprehend. We look at death counts of entire wars that are lower than a single beachhead on D-Day, and while that doesn't diminish the sacrifice of soldiers today in any way, it can often make us forget what incomprehensible violence our world bore witness to 70 years ago. Howard Peckham is a hero in a rare and unfortunately forgotten way; he dedicated his life to providing peace to families and serving his country by giving dignity back to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

I was particularly inspired by the humility that he showed, as well as by the author's bold and almost impartial method of writing - despite the connection between the subject and writer. His actions speak for themselves, and I would challenge anyone not to read the story of this tremendous life and not be stunned by the honor and fortitude of this American hero. Major-General Howard Peckham will probably not make it into the history books, just as so many unsung heroes are forgotten in the pages of time, but he certainly deserves his place. Hopefully, this book will stand as a testament to the man and the selfless devotion to his country and the men he once called brothers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've never been much into biographies, but World War II continues to fascinate me for many reasons, perhaps mostly because I recently lost my grandfather, who was a World War II veteran from the European theater. After a lifetime of hearing his stories and recently editing his autobiography, I have become more and more fascinated by the multitude of heroes that war forged, in whatever capacity and service they may have provided. Howard Peckham is a rare and wonderful figure, and his service cannot be measured by medals or anecdotal tales of heroism. He dedicated his life to delivering peace and comfort to families of veterans, tens of thousands of whom gave their lives to protect our freedoms. I found myself lost in this complex and underappreciated aspect of military service that is so vital to closure, familial comfort, and international peace.

I think the author took an honest and inspiring approach to the story, not overflowing with embellishment or praise, simply telling the story of a truly remarkable and dedicated hero that should never be forgotten. I felt as though I were reading the story of one of my grandfather's friends; some of the locations and critical events of history rang out in this book and I found myself more invested and engaged with such a crucial point in our nation's history - and even beyond it as the story reached the later decades of Peckham's marvelous life.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of General Howard L. Beckham is a told through the voice of Peckham’s daughter, Jean Beckham Cavale. Beckham’s long and productive military career is chronicled in the biography. The story follows the general’s life, beginning with his stint in the Quartermaster General’s office all the way through his service to Western European diplomats after his retiring in 1956.

I am a huge history buff, and although I wasn’t aware of General Beckham before reading this biography, I developed a general admiration for his work and dedication to the United States. It’s an excellent read that is well written and researched. I am happy to recommend it to anyone interested in the unsung heroes of our country. 5 stars!
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Format: Paperback
With all respect to World War II Major General Howard L. Peckham, this somewhat biography written by his daughter, Jean Peckham Kavale, was kind of a yawner. Not for nothing, the story of the Director of the Fuels and Lubricants Division (of the Quartermaster Corps) and later Commander of the American Graves Registration in Paris, France didn’t ‘rock my boat.’ I say somewhat biography because the book is really about the general’s travels with his wife, daughter (Jean) and his son, Howie...mainly in the USA. This is probably because the book was written by the general’s daughter, who had to include their family life in the text versus a pure biography. The book had some edit problems coupled with blurry photos throughout the book. I understand that the general’s jobs were important during the war, but it had to be hard to extol his career without any actual combat situations. Don’t get me wrong...the general deserves all the respect due him. It just doesn’t make for exciting reading. It was with heavy eye-lids that I read this book. Okay, enough. What about the general’s career?

We learn that the general’s father was a farmer, who had four greenhouses. Howard worked for his father trucking veggies to locale markets in Connecticut. “After graduating from Norwich Free Academy, a school with high scholastic standards, he received an appointment to West Point. His boyhood daydream about having a career in the U.S. Army was about to become a reality.” As World War I ended, “Howard Peckham was one of those newly commissioned second lieutenants who graduated in November 1918.” Howard later went on to graduated from the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers. Howard meets Marion Shaw (his future wife) at Fort Hayes. He marries Marion... as Hitler rises to power in Germany.
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