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November 2001
by Col. Arthur L. Kelly

More than 300,000 Kentuckians served in World War II, and more than 7,900 died. BattleFire! Combat Stories from World War II salutes the courage and determination they showed and shares some of the dangers, deprivations, and horrors they faced by telling the stories of 12 who came home. After interviewing 125 veterans over the course of 10 years, Col. Arthur L. Kelly chose a dozen whose experiences represent every branch of the service and every theater of the war. We accompany Pfc. Jack Reed of Harrodsburg on the Bataan Death March, dive-bomb Japanese targets with Navy pilot John Barrows of Versailles, and fight the Battle of the Bulge with radio operator Robert Haney of Anchorage. We meet two brothers from Springfield who were among five members of their high school football team at Iwo Jima. And we see down-home common sense at work as a Trimble County man leads his men through a minefield by befriending a German dog who knows the way. Kelly sets each individual story within its historical context, giving us both the dramatic sweep of the conflict and the intimate realities of life inside the battle lines.

Watch the program (Windows Media® or RealPlayer® format)

Blurbs from the book cover

Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress information page

Barnes & Noble information page

Transcript of bookclub@ket program

Further discussion: Col. Arthur Kelly appeared on KET’s One to One with Bill Goodman in September 2007 to discuss the researching and writing of BattleFire! and share more World War II stories. The program is available for viewing online.

More stories from Kentucky WWII veterans and videos of KET productions about the war can be found at our companion site to the Ken Burns documentary The War.

Col. Arthur L. Kelly

A Springfield native, Kelly retired as a colonel after a 30-year career as an officer in the U.S. Army, including service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. His military decorations include three Legions of Merit; two Bronze Stars; a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry; and 23 campaign, meritorious, and service medals. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Morehead State University.

Video interview: Bill Goodman talks with Col. Arthur L. Kelly (Nov. 1, 2001; 16 min.; requires RealPlayer®)

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