I’ve mentioned a particular book several times before. It changed the way I look at death and life—Gaze into Heaven by Marlene Sullivan. I still think about the messages from that book . . .
I just finished another book that drastically changed my viewpoint, my viewpoint of war, especially WWII. You see my father was a pilot in that war. It was only about 15 years ago that my father even started talking about his traumatic experiences. As I read Carolyn Twede Frank’s The Hitler Dilemma, I thought about my father being on the other side of the war described in that excellently written book. And I realized, in a big way, people got hurt on both sides of the “fence.”
At one point in the book the main character, Max Adam, is forced to man the cannons (aimed at American/Allies aircraft) to protect oil fields in Germany. I went to my father’s aviation mission log to determine whether he might have been flying one of those planes. Dad flew 50 missions in WWII. Many miracles brought him home. As it turns out, his missions did not take him to the same location where Max served. Here is one entry from my father’s log.
10 Aug 1944
Mission 37. O/R Ploesti [Ploiesti], Roumania [Romania] 23000’ 10-500 lb Bombs. 8:15 hrs.
Target area hit. No enemy fighters. Flak was intense and accurate. Our ship was badly damaged. No 4 engine had a hole all the way through one cylinder and many cooling fins shot off of two others. Also two leads on the ignition harness were completely severed. Shell fragment pierced No 3 oil tank. No 2 supercharger was shot out. One hole in No 1 engine. Part of the right rudder was blown off. There were several holes elsewhere in the ship. We stayed in formation and got home OK.
My father, Miles Alldredge
In that war, Max Adam was as innocent as my father. Reading about Max’s experiences caused me to have compassion for all those forced to fight in that ugly war, no matter which side they were on. No, I still cannot wrap my brain (nor do I want to) around the perspective of those who supported Hitler and his goals, those who willingly did his bidding.
Max Adam, the main character in The Hitler Dilemma
The Hitler Dilemma is expertly written. I highly recommend it. The imagery is brilliant. Perhaps it is no accident this book was released around Armed Forces Day and the blog tour is around Memorial Day week.
Carolyn Twede Frank, author of The Hitler Dilemma
I asked Carolyn how she came up with the idea for this book. She said:
While I was working on an earlier historical novel, based on the life of my husband’s grandmother who grew up playing among the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon before it became a national park, I shared my writing research with my employees. One particular employee, Connie Adam expressed her fascination with my grandmother-in-law’s story and then said, “You should hear the story of my father-in-law.” She proceeded to give me a glimpse of some of Max Adam’s amazing experiences. I knew immediately that was a story I wanted to bring to life in the form of a novel.
Do you have a personal association with Max Adam?
Only because I’ve met him in interviewing and creating this book.
After getting the idea, what made you pursue this as a writing project?
I’ve always enjoyed history, and this story fascinated me. Plus, there was something deep inside me that wouldn’t let me let go of the idea until I completed it and saw it in print.
Tell us a little about your sewing business and your decision to move into a writing career.
I started making puppets while serving a mission in Canada for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). We used them to teach the children on the Indian reservations about the dangers of smoking and drinking. When I returned from my mission, I continued making puppets, selling them at festivals, constantly improving on my designs. Eventually, I moved my business out of my basement into a warehouse. As my little company, Puppet Partners, Inc., grew into an international business, I was forced to have the majority of my puppets manufactured overseas to meet the demand. Meanwhile, I was solicited by the LDS Church to manufacture a set of puppets for their missionaries in various third-world countries to use to teach children about health concerns, such as the dangers of smoking and drinking, washing food before consumption, and eating nutritional foods—my puppet endeavors had come full circle, back to their roots.
I am not a business person. I avoided that sector of campus like the plague while at college. Yet I was forced to learn some degree of business acumen to keep Puppet Partners going. But I never liked operations. If given a choice, I’d rather sit in the corner and create a new puppet or educational curriculum to go along with them. During the last few years of running Puppet Partners Inc., I had discovered a buried passion for writing. Creating puppet scripts wasn’t fulfilling that need, so I wrote a novel. And then another. I’d found a new avenue to channel my creativity. So when the timing felt right, and a buyer was found, I was thrilled to pass the manufacturing baton onto someone else.
Just like with puppets, money is not my motivating factor. There was something inside me that drove me to create puppets and scripts. That has simply changed venues. Now I am driven to write books that will uplift, enlighten, and entertain.
Here is the backmatter from The Hitler Dilemma:
“We’re Nazis, Max. Everybody in Germany is Nazi—if they want to be safe.” Papa pulled up a chair and sat down, crumpling the newspaper in his hand. “We don’t have to think like them, son, but we’ve got to act like them—at least on the outside. Try to remember that. Okay?” Saarbrücken, Germany—1938 Change is in the air in Max Adams’s small village: The censorship of classic literature, the elimination of math and science courses, the addition of extra physical education classes. Along with thousands of other young men, he is forced into the Hitler Youth and is being groomed to become the next generation of Nazi soldiers. But as a faithful Latter-day Saint, how can Max serve the villain who destroyed his younger brother in his effort to create a Master Race—a man who is bent on tearing apart not only a single nation, but also the entire world? From the horrors of battle and the sorrow of separation from family to the privations of a prisoner of war, Carolyn Twede Frank’s groundbreaking novel The Hitler Dilemma is a poignant chronicle of one remarkable young man’s struggle to reconcile his sense of duty with his staunch opposition to the evil tyrant destroying the country he loves.