Battle of the Bulge: Stories from Those Who Fought and Survived is the title of a new book by Indiana author Kayleen Reusser.
Stories from Battle of the Bulge featured in local author’s new book
Bluffton, Indiana (June 24, 2021) — Battle of the Bulge: Stories from Those Who Fought and Survived is the title of a new book by Indiana author Kayleen Reusser, who is known for writing books featuring veterans’ stories about their World War II experiences. The Battle of the Bulge was Adolf Hitler’s last major offensive against the Western Front from December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945. The six-week battle during the dead of winter resulted in 100,000 casualties, making it the costliest ever fought by the U.S. Army.
Battle of the Bulge: Stories from those Who Fought and Survived is full of stories, photos, and comments made by 25 veterans about the infamous battle, based on interviews that Reusser conducted with them over the past decade. Her books typically highlight several Hoosier veterans, and this one is no exception, with 14 of the 25 featured veterans from northeastern Indiana, including the communities of Fort Wayne, Huntington, Bluffton, Ossian and Decatur. The book also includes 1944 selections from Stars and Stripes, an official military publication to help depict the battle in sometimes serious, sometimes humorous ways.
This is the second book in Reusser’s World War II Insider series, which provides veterans’ personal accounts of a particular battle. (The first was D-Day: Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Tell about Normandy). Two of the common Battle of the Bulge themes that the veterans mentioned are two-foot-deep snow and subzero temperatures during one of the most severe winters on record. In fact, the book’s cover photo reflects those weather-related themes, as it was taken by a veteran under less-than-ideal conditions, with snow falling around a tank. Other themes of the veterans’ stories from the Battle of the Bulge include living in constant fear, witnessing death, and wondering if they would make it out alive. “Stories of sleeping in foxholes in sub-zero temperatures, marching in several feet of snow, suffering from frostbite, and the constant fear of being killed by the enemy . . . it all amazed me,” Reusser reflects.
“The book is extra-special in that it contains day-by-day entries from a memoir written by an Army veteran who was there,” Reusser said. The veteran, Harold Bradley—now from Texas but originally from Iowa— served with the 740th Tank Battalion in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. Bradley’s account gave the local author the idea of depicting the war on a day-to-day basis so people could understand it better and see how unexpected and comprehensive it was in area and scope, Reusser said.
Battle of the Bulge: Stories From Those Who Fought and Survived is available for purchase beginning July 1 through Amazon. To coincide with its release, Reusser is scheduling live and virtual presentations about this book and the many other books she has written based on her interviews with 260 World War II veterans. To learn more about these presentations, and/or to schedule Reusser for a speaking event, visit her website at KayleenReusser.com.
Since 2014, Reusser has published books of stories of America’s oldest military veterans. “Documenting how past wars have helped to shape the world of today has been a rewarding challenge,” she said. She likes to release her new titles near veteran-related holidays—such as Memorial Day in May, Flag Day in June, and Veteran’s Day in November—to commemorate and show appreciation for that group of citizens.
Reusser is the wife and mother of U.S. Air Force airmen. “I firmly believe we need to teach people about patriotism because if we don’t reinforce its importance, we could be in a position to lose it,” she said. “My method of presenting it is through sharing veterans’ stories. My books are part of a continued effort to preserve our national military heritage.”
Reusser’s eight World War II-themed books are divided into three series, including the World War II Insider. Four books comprise the WWII Legacies series, and she also has one in the Witnesses of War series. She is the author of 16 nonfiction books for middle-grade students, has served as a freelance writer for various publications, and coordinates a Christian writing club for Bluffton-area writers.
In addition to her many books containing veterans’ stories about their World War II experiences, last year Reusser published a Women of WWII coloring book featuring women she had interviewed, and she now is working on a new Men of WWII coloring book highlighting 33 veterans that will be released this summer. Biographical information about the veterans is included in each book. “I have put these coloring books together to encourage young people to look for role models among these fantastic examples of courage and self-sacrifice,” Reusser said. For more information on Reusser’s books, visit KayleenReusser.com.
Reusser is a client of the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center, which has helped her with promotional marketing strategies for her various books. To learn more about NEI-SBDC services, visit isbdc.org.