Gary Gatlin Reluctant Hero: World War II Trilogy Book 1. Carl F Haupt. Dudley Court Press. November 2019. pb, 318 pp.; ISBN: 9781940013572.
Those Gary Catlin begins his life as the son of a Utah farmer, in a family that grows and sells product fruit. Upon reaching his teen years, he accompanies his father to learn more about how to grow better apples. During this time he learns more about agriculture, learns to fluently speak and write Japanese and meets a young Japanese-American woman for whom he has feelings but is unable to pursue because of other business agenda he wants to master before making a family commitment.
This is the story of his wild sea journey to Formosa where he hopes to learn more about modern apple pruning techniques. During this time he is kidnapped by Formosan brigands, saves one of them from death, becomes their friend and then he is rescued from the Japanese soldiers who believe he is a spy. On that escape he escapes death several times and actually is responsible for bombing a Japanese ship, a formidable task given the onset of WWII between America and Japan as well as Germany. He meets several British spies during this time, all quietly carrying out their service.
The essence of this book is about dedication and commitment no matter how difficult the civilian or military task to which one is assigned. Gary Catlin is an honest man of integrity who gives his all to whatever he does and moves beyond that mode to help those who are unjustly persecuted and are suffering. The author depicts a man whose heroism is in living true to decent human values. In the course of these scenes, Gary makes dear friends for life and dramatically changes the world both in America and overseas. This reviewer found this novel to be adventurous, mysterious, dangerous and real; I think readers will join me in looking forward to further books in this planned trilogy.
Finely crafted, Carl F. Haupt. Highly recommended reading!