THE PRAIRIE BOYS AT WAR SERIES
Prairie Boys at War: Korea is a unique riveting fast-paced account of men from the northern prairies who received the Medal of Honor Distinguished Service Cross and/or Navy Cross for heroism in the Korean War. Through their experiences as well as those of other combat veterans the history of the war is told in graphic detail.
These were depression-era farm boys miners sharpshooters paperboys and athletes. Two were young physicians who thought they were spending a pleasant 90-day rotation in Japan before landing on the front lines of Korea instead. There's no other book like it.
Volume 1: June-October 1950 covers the deadly delaying actions of the war's first four months. Future volumes will cover the terrible winter and spring of 1950-51 during which hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers abruptly came to the aid of North Korea. The final volume of the series will cover the vicious but little known "outpost wars" of 1952-53.
Merry Helm is an award-winning writer and documentary film-maker with extensive background in creating history-based radio stories for Prairie Public Radio and also worked as a screenwriter in the movie industry from 1994 to 2008. She serves as the historian for the 24th Infantry Division Association which bestowed on her an honorary lifetime membership in 2009. She lives with her husband Roger Gress in Fargo North Dakota.
She continues to work on the Prairie Boy Books with the next volumes covering the Chinese intervention the Chinese Spring Offensives of 1951 the Allied offensives in the fall of 1951 and the emergence of jet warfare over MiG Alley. She will also cover the deadly outpost/trench wars of 1952-1953 which have never before been fully presented.
"Profound stories and a real eye-opener. Lots of heroism grit and ingenuity demonstrated by the prairie boys."-Major General (Ret) Michael J. Haugen former Adjutant General of North Dakota
"Count me in as one who will buy the Prairie Boy books. Helm is doing the work of angels to capture this history and it is a great tribute to the legacy of each man and generations of their descendants. It is important work to document the history of America's heroes and Helm tells these powerful stories with compelling insight. Each profile seems to expose the endurance and bravery forged on the plains. The soul of the prairie is indeed in the spirit of the men who fought to defend their love of their homeland."-Lt. Col. (Ret) Shirley J. Olgeirson
"Prairie Boys at War kept bringing a lump to my throat. The U.S. had only a few military 'advisors' in Korea when the North invaded the South in June 1950 and the U.S. rushed ill-trained and ill-equipped American units from Japan to help the South keep a toehold on the peninsula. In this riveting narrative Merry Helm sought out the fast-disappearing Midwest veterans of those frenetic days to record their words to reconstruct their countless acts of sacrifice and heroism their almost unbelievable suffering and the horror of captivity experienced by many. Her vivid narrative of the first four months of America's "Forgotten War " supported by official citations contemporary reporting maps photos correspondence and unit reports is a remarkable achievement. Prairie Boys at War is both sad and uplifting and I am reminded of Winston Churchill's tribute to the Royal Air Force during the darkest days of World War II: 'Never have so many owed so much to so few.' Thanks to Helm we can say the same about her prairie boys." -John Durand author of The Boys: The 1st North Dakota Volunteers in the Philippines
"I very much enjoyed this book. It was an excellent recap of the first four months of the Korean War and I especially enjoyed reading the different perspectives our Midwestern soldiers and airman had on this war. Very entertaining and enlightening."-Maj. Gen. (Ret) Steve Doohen former Adjutant General of South Dakota
"From Bunker Hill to Baghdad the valor of America's fighting forces has often been shrouded by the prolific prose of hyperbolic historians. In Prairie Boys at War however author Merry Helm takes the compelling tack of subtly mitigating the treatment of the tactical in favor of underscoring the humanity and selflessness of young Midwesterners called to duty to often do the unthinkable and in the process reminds readers-lest they should ever forget-that every battle helmet represents a beating heart."-Steve Stepanek PhD Georgia Southern University
"In a time when all most people know of Korea comes from "MASH" reruns and when we pay lip service to honoring our soldiers Merry Helm has done them the highest honor -- she gives them a chance to tell their stories. And they are fascinating stories told in vivid propulsive prose that hooked me from the first page. Very well done. I'm green with envy."-Tom Pantera Northwestern Oklahoma State University