The author is me, and my part is probably less than a minute long, but if that justifies a Lincoln Highway connection to mention this book, that’s OK. World War II Radio Heroes is the fascinating story of dozens of 60-year-old letters discovered by author Lisa Spahr. They were sent to her family by total strangers to inform her great-grandmother that her son had been captured and was being held as a POW. How did they know?
Short-wave radio had held all of the answers. POWs were allowed to state their names and hometowns on the radio, and sometimes relay a short message to their families. Scores of Americans, listening to the German propaganda from so far away, heard my grandfather’s information, and took it upon themselves to write to my great-grandmother. All of these dear people wanted to give my great-grandmother a measure of comfort to know her son was alive.
Lisa’s tale of trying to track down the letter writers is part of the journey, and after I began talking to her about it, she asked if I would read one of the letters for the audio version. We also thought my son Andrew would be perfect to read for Flavius Jankauskas, who is seen on the cover with his Howard 430 radio. He was 16 when he sent Lisa’s family a note and is one of those Lisa was able to locate.
A couple interesting notes: that’s Lisa’s grandparents also pictured on the cover — her grandfather did return safely. And although you might think that cell phones, e-mail, and texting would put a damper on ham radio, there are more than 600,000 operators in the U.S., up from just 51,000 at the dawn of WWII.
The audio book is professionally produced with 3 CDs and bonus tracks. The text is read by Lisa along with 30-some letter readers. The book is available on Amazon or from the author’s site for $15.95 or instantly downloadable as PDF for $19.95. The audio book in a limited run of 400 is $29.95 or can be paired with the book for $40.