Julie Anne Chitwood
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The lovely lady in the top picture is my wife, Julie Anne, still smiling and bubbly after all the years with me…the only real difference is her hair: it once was deep brown and reached well below her shoulders.
It occurred to me that my blog posts are so much about me and my books, some flash fiction here and there, and some ‘stir the pot’ commentary, and I have never told anyone about this wonderful woman that has endured me all the years… But, to the point…
Julie was bequeathed ‘a ton’ of historical letters written by her two great aunts, Celeste O’Donnell, Rosalie (Roe) O’Donnell, and her grandmother Anna Mae (O’Donnell) Malin. It was my pleasure to read these magnificent letters and it struck me that these epistles had historical value, the writing itself superb but the topics of which they write deal with the major issues of that era. It took some doing but I finally convinced Julie to do a compilation and the result is, The World After WW1. The compilation became a tome – some 713 pages plus an index. For history lovers, that period (September, 1918 through December, 1921) is covered thoroughly by the three sisters…the Irish question, the League of Nations, American troop return, the Black Sox Scandal, Spanish Influenza, Economic conditions, strikes, riots, release of POWs, the Red Cross, and so much more. There is even a ten-page letter from James Thurber written to ‘Roe’ (Rosalie) and two other co-workers in 1919…the three ladies had been with Thurber at the same Pensione in Paris (a small hotel/boarding house). Ohio State University now has that letter in their ‘James Thurber Museum’.
‘Roe’ is in the Red Cross overseas covering some dangerous areas, meeting some interesting and intriguing people. She is writing to her sisters, Celeste, in St. Louis, Missouri and to Anna Mae in Chicago, reporting on the sights, sounds, events as she travels the different cities of the war-torn world. Celeste and Anna Mae are responding with their news and events happening in the United States.
For anyone interested in history and particularly this time period, these inspired and intelligent letters will more than satisfy. Without any historical revisions, one will read from primary sources exactly what is happening at that time.
The jammed-packed book is available both in paperback and Kindle editions. Here is the ‘Forward’ to The World After WW1 I was privileged to write:
Generally, when people write about any era in history there is always a possible inclination toward revision, toward subjective observation as opposed to objective observation, toward embellishment of facts and events. It is perhaps a natural act by any writer to make his/her version of an historical period read as dramatically, as poignantly as possible. Essentially, the historical data has some commitment to accuracy, surely. In our political climate today there is so much speculation and doubt as to the accuracy of a writer’s sources relative to a particular time in history, apropos to personal and political bias. That aspect of historical writing will always be with us.
What is so refreshing to this reader is the publication of THE WORLD AFTER WWI. The author of this historical work has relied solely on one source, the primary source. THE WORLD AFTER WWI is a remarkable collection of letters by three sisters. One sister is in the Red Cross at the conclusion of World War I, stationed in remote corners of the world, writing to a sister in St. Louis, Missouri and a sister in Chicago, Illinois. The three sisters communicate with each other with minimal mundanity. Rather, they write about the events occurring at the time, like, ‘The Irish Question,’ the League of Nations, American troop returns, the ‘Black Sox’ scandal, silent picture shows, opera, Spanish Influenza, economic conditions, births, deaths, and, of course, personal issues they were facing at the time.
These charming and intelligent letters will give the reader perhaps a better glimpse of an era so unique and transforming than any ‘date/fact’ based tome. There is no disrespect intended for our major historical books. They are needed to tediously chronicle the lives of other generations and the events that shaped the future of all other generations. It is just that these letters carry a poignant human touch, weaving in and out of personal matters into the personalities and topics of the day, sharing their views both positive and negative.
The letters cover a three-year period from September of 1918 to December of 1921. These three years had some titillating days and months that became headlines of the day. For Genealogy and historical buffs, THE WORLD AFTER WORLD WAR I is a must read.
Billy Ray Chitwood
Julie Anne is not as active in the Social Networking world as I but she does maintain a twitter account (@juliechitwood1). Anyone with questions about The World after WW1 she will be happy to hear from you.
Hold on! Not so fast! You do need to know I have my twelfth book JUST RELEASED and it is getting many 5-Star reviews. Hope you will pick up a copy of A Common Evil at Amazon Worldwide – http://authl.it/1r2. If you like the book write an Amazon review. It will be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, my very best wishes to you all.
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(NOTE: for this blog post, I do not include my nine blog awards of which I am very proud.)