Book Review & Giveaway: They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

Publisher: Silver Star (September 21, 2021
Category: Historical Romance, WW2, Family Saga, Based on a True Story
ISBN: 978-0578855288
320 pages

They Called Him Marvin

They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love and wanting to be a family, but WW2 and a B29 got in their way.

Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2.

He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life.

His crew, a gaggle of Corporals that dubbed themselves the Corporealizes, four officers and a tech Sargent, adventured their way across the globe. Flying the “Aluminum Trail” also called the Hump through the Himalayas, site of the most dangerous flying in the world. Landing in China to refuel and then fly on to places like Manchuria, Rangoon or even the most southern parts of Japan to drop 500 pounders.

Each mission had its challenges, minus fifty degree weather in Mukden, or Japanese fighters firing away at them, a close encounter of the wrong kind, nearly missing a collision with another B29 while flying in clouds, seeing friends downed and lost because of “mechanicals,” the constant threat of running out of fuel and their greatest fear, engine fire.

Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals.

Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them, he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.


Guest Review by Sal

“These American boys were rowdy, reckless, full of wonder and curiosity. They sought adventure with bravado, patriotism, and testosterone. They were volunteers to a man. They came to the army in the years before World War II. They didn’t need to wait. Some would become men of oversized destiny, charter members of the “Greatest Generation.”

Over the course of World War II, countless soldiers were taken as prisoners of war by the axis powers and were never able to return home to their families. This is the story of one such soldier, Lt. Dean Sherman– a pilot, a father and a husband.

Sherman married the love of his life Constance ‘Connie’ Baldwin when the two were just teenagers, only a small handful of months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What, at any other time in history, might have been a simple love story between two young people was complicated by the war.

Soon after the two were married, and Connie realized that she was pregnant, Dean was sent overseas to pilot a B-29 aircraft in and around China and Japan. The two communicated through letters during that time, many of which are reprinted in the book.

Reading the simple, loving letters between this couple provides a very human perspective on a terrible war and gives a look into the lives of the normal men and woman living in this unprecedented time. Readers will appreciate the tender nature of the love between Dean and Connie, as well as the factual information about the war and the perspective of the Japanese soldiers of that time.

Roger Stark’s writing is not only captivating but imparts a lot of research without bogging down the narrative. ‘They Called Him Marvin,’ is a genre-defying, heartfelt story of family and love in the theater of war.

About the Author

Roger Stark, by his own admission, is a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories be lost. Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with his friend, Marvin, he learned the tragic story of his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan, just months before the end of the war.

The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled Roger to ask if he could write the story. The result being “They Called Him Marvin.”

Roger Stark’s life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. He prays that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.



This giveaway is for 3 print copies, one for each of 3 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on June 24, 2022, midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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