Operations Chowhound and Manna were, according to Andrew Geddes, the RAF officer tasked with planning them, as historically important as D-Day. And he should have known, having been one of the key planners of D-Day.
In April, 1945, Geddes was called in by US general Walter Bedell Smith, chief of staff to General Eisenhower, and given the task of planning the greatest aerial mercy mission in history to that time – the feeding of the starving 3.5 million Dutch in German-occupied Holland. In less than two weeks Geddes and his hastily assembled team at SHAEF pulled off the planning for the massive food drops to the Dutch. Then began the flights themselves, by American, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Polish aircrews flying B-17 and Lancaster bombers – more than 900 bombers a day at the peak of the campaign, at 400 feet and less, in the face of the guns of the 120,000 German troops holding Holland.
This amazing, previously little-known story of Operation Chowhound is told in the latest gripping book of the same name by Stephen Dando-Collins, published by Palgrave Macmillan in the US and UK on February 24 and in Australia and New Zealand in April. The advance media reviews have been glowing:
‘Dando-Collins expertly tells his fluid drama,’ said the prestigious Kirkus Reviews. ‘A seasoned historian weaves a heartwarming story.’
‘Absorbing, well-written,’ said America’s influential Library Journal.
‘A thrilling story of good triumphing over evil,’ said Robert Simko, publisher and editor of New York City’s Broadsheet.
With an amazing cast of true players in this astonishing true tale including Audrey Hepburn – as a teenager, one of the starving Dutch at the time – Generals Eisenhower and Bedell Smith, British spy and James Bond creator Ian Fleming, Canadian author Farley Mowat, a queen and a prince, ordinary Dutch people caught up in the drama, plus plucky young US, Canadian, British and Australian airmen, many of them just teenagers, the hardest thing for the reader to do will be to decide which role they would like their favorite actors to play in the movie based on the book!
Operation Chowhound tipped to fly into bestselling territory
Tipped to be one 0f the top-selling World War Two books of 2015 when it is released in February, Stephen Dando-Collins’ gripping true tale of the attempt by the USAAF to feed 3.5 million starving Dutch in Nazi-occupied Holland in the dying days of the war, under the noses of the Germans, includes a cast of unlikely characters including Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn – who was one of those starving Dutch – spy and James Bond creator Ian Fleming, and meddling Canadian author Farley Mowat, not to mention a large cast of young American airmen and brave Dutch children. Hollywood movie talk is already in the air, and US publisher Palgrave Macmillan has received healthy advance orders.
Tanks Boys makes readers think
Since its release earlier this year Stephen Dando-Collins’ gripping tale of three sixteen-year-olds in a trench – one of them a German boy – has continued to earn critical praise for the skill of its authorship and impact of its content.
“The movement to movement, scene-to-scene descriptions are so visual, I felt I was watching a movie,” says Kids’ Book Review. “The characters’ voices came through so clearly that all my senses were engaged on every page.”
“Exciting and had me on the edge of my seat,” says a young reviewer for Melbourne’s Herald Sun.
“Full of action and adventure, but it provides many opportunities for discussion about war,” says Aussie Reviews.
“Effectively and authentically conveys the tenuous strength of human decency amidst the senselessness of that epic slaughter,” says Readplus.
“Expertly weaves fiction and fact into an addictive whole,” says the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Reading Time.
The recently released third book in the Caesar the War Dog series has already won high praise around Australia.
‘Terrific!” says a Just So Stories review. “Stephen Dando-Collins has an effective connection with his readership, and it has been my observation that when I suggest one of his titles to my boys they are keen for more when they have finished.”
“An excellent book full of action and excitement,” say the Townsville Bulletin.
“A lovely story, beautifully told, highlighting the plight of the African elephants,” says the Launceston Examiner.
Not only does the book compellingly continue the adventures of the world’s most famous explosive detection dog, it’s a book likely to have young readers calling for something to be done about elephant poaching in Africa, before the elephants are all wiped out!
CAESAR THE WAR DOG WINS HIGH PRAISE IN US & AUSTRALIA
On its release in the US on October 1, Caesar the War Dog received a rave review on the influential American children’s book website Smart Books for Smart Kids, which describes the first novel in the series as ‘The Heartwarming Story of an Unlikely Hero’.
‘You’ll venture on a journey of admiration, despair, sadness, hope and joy,’ says SBFSK. ‘It’s impossible not to love this dog!’ The reviewer even confessed, ‘I cried at the end of this moving book.’
Meanwhile, the October 2013 issue of Australian Book Review has given a big tick to the second book in the series, Caesar the War Dog: Operation Blue Dragon. Describing the book as ‘meticulously researched and plotted,’ ABR says that it ‘soars into thrilling boys’ own adventure territory.’ This second book will be released in the US next January.
Meanwhile Caesar fans, Stephen Dando-Collins is hard at work on book number 3 in the series, which Random House will now publish Down Under next July. And, he has just agreed with the publishers to write Caesar book number FOUR in the series, for January 2015 release.
SIR HENRY PARKES, THE AUSTRALIAN COLOSSUS IMPORTANT AND LONG OVERDUE
Noted UK-based Australian judge, QC, human rights lawyer and author Geoffrey Robertson has described Stephen Dando-Collins’ next book on Australian history, the biography Sir Henry Parkes, the Australian Colossus as ‘An important, long overdue warts and all biography of Australia’s most formidable politician.’
The book is due for release in Australia and New Zealand by Random House on November 1. The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, who has written a foreword to the book, will officially launch it in Sydney for Stephen in November.
RISE OF AN EMPIRE TIES IN WITH MOVIE RELEASE
Stephen Dando-Collins’ next book on classical history, Rise of an Empire, will be published in the US next March by Turner Publishing, to tie in with the release of the next movie in the 300 franchise, 300, Rise of the Empire.
Stephen’s book will tell the true story of Themistocles, the Athenian politician who led the Greek resistance to the invasion of Greece by the Persian forces of King Xerxes.
The trailer to the 2014 movie, which is based on a graphic novel, has already attracted many millions of views on YouTube.
TANK BOYS SET TO POWER INTO BOOKSTORES IN FEBRUARY
Based around the true story of the first ever tank-versus-tank battle, Stephen Dando-Collins has written a powerful book for children and young adults that sees Frankie and Taz, two youngsters from the Allied side, and Richard, a youth in the crew of the German tank ‘Mephisto’, come face to face on the battlefield. What follows will astonish and grip you.
‘Mephisto’ was a massive A7V tank, with a crew of 18, most of whom had to stand up! Captured by Australian troops on the Somme in 1918, ‘Mephisto” is today in Australia’s Queensland Museum in Brisbane – the only surviving German tank from World War One. Next year, coinciding with the release of Tank Boys, ‘Mephisto’ will tour throughout Australia.
CAESAR THE WAR DOG IS HEADING FOR THE BIG SCREEN
Canine hero Caesar is set to become a movie star!
With Caesar the War Dog, Operation Blue Dragon out in August, and author Stephen Dando-Collins working on the third in the series of Caesar adventures for publication next year, he’s received the good news from his New York literary agent that Hollywood producers have signed on to put the first book in the series on the big screen.
Inner Primary Entertainment (IPE) of Los Angeles have plans to make the Caesar the War Dog movie plus a documentary, video games, and special Caesar apps.
But movies take a long time to make, so keep enjoying Caesar’s adventures on the page as you wait for him to take to the screen.
In the next book, Caesar the War Dog, Operation Blue Dragon, Caesar has to save one of the most important people in the world, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Don’t wait until August to try to get a copy. Order it now from your favourite bookseller or online retailer.
Caesar the War Dog: Operation Blue Dragon
On the back of the huge success of the first Caesar the War Dog book, Stephen Dando-Collins was asked by publishers Random House to write more books in a series of adventures featuring Caesar, his handler Ben Fulton and his family, and Ben’s best friend Sergeant Charlie Grover VC.
The second book in the series is Caesar the War the Dog: Operation Blue Dragon. In this book, once again Caesar, Ben and Charlie team up, this time to save the life of one of the most important people in the world when he’s taken hostage – someone they’ve all come to know well.
Once again, Caesar will be in the middle of a life-and-death adventure, involving heelos and Hercules, parachute drops, an attack on a terrorist base, and, of all things, a submarine! And once again, Ben Fulton’s children Josh and Maddie will play a vital role in finding the object of their father’s quest.
The good news is that Stephen has written Caesar the War Dog: Operation Blue Dragon, and delivered it to the publishers. The bad news is that you’ll have to wait until August for it to come out. But you can order your own copy now at any bookstore, or online.
As for book number three, there’s more good news and bad news. The good news is that it will be out in August next year, and it will be another dangerous and exciting mission taking Caesar, Ben and Charlie across the world. The bad news is that we can’t even tell you the title yet! (We know the title, but it’s classified Top Secret for now.)
There’s lots more really exciting news about Caesar coming. Check here again soon to find out more. Will you love it? Roger to that!
In his latest US book, TAKING HAWAII, award-winning Australian author Stephen Dando-Collins puts the blame for the armed overthrow of the Queen of Hawaii in 1893 – which led to Hawaii becoming a US territory and later a US state – primarily at the feet of an Australian from Tasmania, Henry Waterhouse.
Waterhouse, who was born in Hobart, Tasmania, and who was known as ‘the Tasmanian’ in Hawaii, was one of the 13 members of a rebel white committee which planned the queen’s overthrow. When it appeared the coup would fail, several rebel leaders lost their courage, and, says Dando-Collins, it was only when Waterhouse took the reins and drove the coup forward that the queen’s removal was achieved.
Dando-Collins, who was himself born in Tasmania, has spent seven years researching and writing TAKING HAWAII, and was given unprecedented access to Native Hawaiian sources during the research.
“Was Queen Liliuokalani wrong, or was she wronged?” Dando-Collins asks. US President Bill Clinton seemed to think it was the latter, for in 1993, a century after the event, he signed an official apology to the Hawaiian people for US complicity in the queen’s overthrow.
TAKING HAWAII is published by E-Reads of New York, and is available as both an e-book and paperback via leading online retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
For example, in the latest (November) issue of ‘Reading Time’, influential journal of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, a long, laudatory review ends, ‘Teachers and librarians should find “Caesar” a valuable teaching tool, and young readers, through an engrossing story, will have their horizons widened and their emotional lives deepened. This is a book for our times.’
Caesar the War Dog is not only selling up a storm, it is wowing the critics. Here are a few quotes:
‘I loved this book. It’s one of the best war stories I have read, and its Australian… Verdict: Fantastic!’ Herald-Sun, Melbourne
‘A fascinating account of these amazing dogs and their trainers, the story of Caesar will open a world unknown to many students.’ ReadPlus
‘Stephen has done a wonderful job!’ Deborah Abela, bestselling Australian children’s author
‘Action-packed and heartwarming’, Family Magazine
‘Will appeal to readers young and old’, Otago Daily Times, New Zealand
‘I loved this book, and shed a tear or two following Caesar’s adventures… Would make a great book for group reading, and suits everyone from 9 to 99′, Lamont Books review
‘A heart-warming adventure… Most of all it’s a story about a remarkable dog’, Magpies