Archive for August, 2015

Unintended Heroes, A Short Story

Posted on 08/18/2015. Filed under: Historical Fiction | Tags: , , , , |

Plans to assemble a collection of short stories is proceeding slowly.  In some cases it is a matter of finding the short stories that have been written over the last fifteen years and assembling them into book form. Some of those short stories need a lot of work, others only light editing. In addition a few stories are being written  from scratch. The short story Unintended Heroes is being written from scratch. Actually it is greatly condensed version of the Korean War part of the book For the Cause: The Cold War Heats Up in Korea and Why Young Men Went to War. It tells the story of two young farm boys, Pete Houser and Chris Engelson, who joined the marines and finished boot camp just when the Korean War started. The two young men are part of the First Provisional Marine Brigade hurriedly put together to help stop the North Koreans from overrunning South Korea. The story follows the lives of the two marines and the squad they are a part of for six months as they take part in the Pusan Perimeter,  the Inchon Landing and the Chosen Reservoir battles.  During that short period of time Pete and Chris had changed from green farm boys to seasoned warriors.

Unintended Heroes Cover

I had started posting the short stories I planned to include in the short story collection but am finding it cumbersome. The Unintended Heroes is over fifteen thousand words. So my new plan is to post a description of the stories as they are selected in this blogs Short Story section. I will send a digital copy to any blog reader who would like a copy of any short story being described.

Alfred Wellnitz Published Book and Short Story Information at:

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Book Review of Pope Joan

Posted on 08/17/2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |


I have mentioned previously that I’m part of a book club my wife Joan belongs to. Joan suffers from Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type and no longer reads books but enjoys the book club meeting activity. So I read the books and attend the meetings with her. As a result I end up reading books that I would likely not consider reading otherwise. Pope Joan is one of them. However I find that even if I’m not impressed by a novel, I usually come away knowing more than I knew before I read it.  For example, the Pope Joan book provided examples of the Dark Age  practices, believes and conditions that made that part of history come alive in my mind in a way that it never had before.


Pope Joan

Pope Joan

A Novel
By:Donna Woolfolk Cross
The story takes place in the ninth century, in the middle of the Dark Ages. The Pope in Rome ruled Europe. The Cristian religion dominated all facets of governance. The church interpreted the written word and from it provided rules for human behavior and what to do if those rules were not followed. This was the world that Pope Joan had been born into in 814.
Joan emerges as a super woman, super intelligent and super capable in every way. In the ninth century a woman with such capabilities faced a frustrating future. An unlikely set of circumstances allows Joan to be exposed to sources of higher learning at an early age. For a woman in the dark ages her education had little use, but again an unlikely set of circumstances provided an opportunity to overcome her limitations as a woman. The place where Joan lived was raided by Vikings, who plundered, killed and raped the local citizens. Joan changed into a man’s clothes to escape the fate of other young women. Once she had made the change she realized she no longer faced the limitations of a woman. This put Joan on a path that through a number of additionally unlikely circumstances led to becoming Pope John. During this time she also becomes infatuated with a handsome knight named Gerold, older by quite a bit and married when they first met. Despite the obvious difficulties involved, the knight and Joan became close and soon became more than just friends.
I found the story described well researched information about life and conditions during those dark years in Europe’s history and in how the church dominated the politics and everyday lives during that period. As novels often do, the book provides a better understanding of the Dark Ages than many non-fiction history texts would.
I found the story wondered at times and I alternated between being and bored and at other times absorbed in the novel. I found the parts of the novel dealing with Joan and Gerold lacked the implied passion in the telling.
In the Author’s Note, the author discusses the reality of the woman who became Pope Joan. She admits there is no proof that there ever was a Pope Joan but writes seven pages in the Author’s Note strongly implying that such a person did exist. The current Wikipedia entry on the subject states, “The story was widely believed for centuries, but modern scholars regard it as fictional.

I gave Pope Joan three stars in an Amazon review.

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Another Book Give Away

Posted on 08/07/2015. Filed under: Historical Fiction, War | Tags: , , , , , |

Starting on 8 August 2015  and through 12 August 2015, free Kindle copies of the book “For the Cause; The Cold War Turns Hot in Korea and Why Young Men Went to War.” will be given away to anyone who cares to download the book.

Go to:

Two young South Dakota farm boys, Pete Houser and Chris Engleson, with uncertain futures decide to join the marines  as an alternative to some other mundane job. It is 1950 and they complete boot camp just as the Korean War suddenly erupts. Chris finds himself assigned to the First Provisional Marine Brigade being hurriedly put together to be deployed to Korea. Pete is assigned to a marine unit providing base security for the Sangley Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines. The story follows the lives of the two young men during the last six months of 1950 while Chris in Korea is involved in the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir battles and Pete spends his time as a security guard in the Philippines. Over a short period of time Chris changes from a green farm boy into a seasoned warrior and Pete’s world expands quickly as he encounters unfamiliar moral standards and first love. The story alternates between Chris in Korea and Pete in the Philippines until the story comes to a surprising conclusion.

Cover, Front 11-7-2013

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