Bio: Personal experience inspired David Westheimer (b. 1917) in the writing of Von Ryan's Express. The Houston-born writer had served with distinction in World War II as a B-24 navigator (Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal) and had been a prisoner of war both in Italy and in Germany. His recreation of the tension, the fear and the absurdities of the situation bring suspense and sharp humor to this amazing story of unlikely heroism.
Westheimer is the author of some 12 novels, the first of which--Summer on the Water--was published in 1948. A graduate of Rice University, he worked for the Houston Post before turning his attention to writing fulltime. His novels include Watching Out for Dulie, The Magic Fallacy and, in 1970, a sequel to Von Ryan's Express called Von Ryan's Return. Westheimer's 1965 novel My Sweet Charlie became a play and, in 1968, an acclaimed television film. The author continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve--holding the rank of lieutenant colonel when Von Ryan's Express was published--and returned to the Houston Post briefly to write a column (1984-88).
The intriguing title Von Ryan's Express hints at the fascinating situation that unfolds within its pages. Set in an Italian POW camp at the height of World War II, it has a hero who acts like a villain for much of the story, an arrogant, by-theBook American colonel who manages to save the men in his charge after very nearly assuring their doom. David Westheimer's novel captures the gritty oblivion of POW life, while the suspense builds as the prisoners plot their way to freedom. Shot down over I... more info>>