1943: 18-year old Arnold Kessel and the 5th Division/81st Tank Battalion hit the beach at Normandy with General’s Patton & Hodges. In two days, he is baptized by fire as Patton/Hodges race through France to trap 100,000 Germans in the Falaise Gap. Tank Commander Kessel scrapped his way through the Hurtgen Forest & Battle of the Bulge and across Germany to the banks of the Elbe River, 50 miles from Berlin. Liberating Mittlebau-Dora Concentration Camp haunted the soldier until the day he died. With four Bronze Stars, Commander Kessel made it back home. “Just get on with your life, forget the war” — he tried. Then there was Korea and two more Bronze Stars. After serving in Korea, Kessel puts the six Bronze Stars in a box and forgets them, but he can’t forget what he saw and did. Harshly haunted by war, he struggled to live life as his wife and family battled to understand him and the haunting memories. Karen Schutte artfully pulls her readers into the harrowing depths and struggles of a WWII Sherman Tank Commander, the freezing struggle against the North Koreans and Chinese, and the haunting memories of endless battles that shadow Kessel’s life. After reading Tank Commander, Terrill Korell, son of the Tank Commander, wrote, “My father and I always struggled to be close. I thought it was my fault and wondered what I did wrong. Schutte’s graphic book walked me through the daily horrors my father and millions of others suffered in the war. I now realize that my father was a Hero!”
Finalist, in top 3 nationally for Cover & top 6 for Historical Fiction – Best Book Awards – 2016.