Can’t beat an article in the newspaper to help let readers know what this book is all about. Read below to see what it had to say:
‘Captured by the Enemy’ is Tribute to Grandfather’s WWII Service
It took eight long years, but 18 months after moving to Ponca City, the tribute was finally finished and author Crystal Aceves released her book, “Captured by the Enemy: The True Story of POW Carl Leroy Good.”
As a 12-year-old, Aceves was inspired by her grandfather Carl Good’s 1945 account of life as a prisoner of war and his subsequent escape. “…Although I was only twelve years old at the time, I was mesmerized by his story. It was so interesting and it made me proud that my granddad had lived through such an ordeal and he didn’t let it ruin the rest of his life.”
While Aceves was a college student, she interviewed her grandfather for a college paper. “As I started researching and things began to match up, I wanted to know more. With my granddad’s blessing, I began the journey to write a book that retraced his steps through WWII and the history that went with them.”
And the process of interviewing, gathering stories, researching, and writing began.
“Captured by the Enemy” covers Good’s landing in North Africa with Patton’s 3rd Division. Aceves retraces his steps across North Africa and his preparation for a second amphibious landing into Sicily. The book shares Good’s stories of Sicily during WWII until he is captured by the enemy.
After his capture, the book takes the reader through Good’s experiences in POW camps and participating in a mass prisoner escape into Italy. The book then shares Good’s harrowing life of living on the run for over nine months in the cold Italian mountains. It is a hard look at how the war and the stress from being hunted for so long changed him.
“It is an amazing view from a different perspective of WWII that shares a true and honest view of a hardworking draftee. The language is not harsh because most WWII draftees were not vulgar when speaking,” Aceves said. “It was a time when it is still okay to speak of God and to admit that in war many nonbelievers became believers when it came down to it. It is a good read for teenagers who are prepared to read about the atrocities of war, but it also makes an excellent read for adults who are looking for a true story written about an everyday hero.”
It certainly was not an easy journey to put it all together. When Aceves came up with the idea, she was finishing college, had three young children, and flipped houses at least yearly with her husband and his real estate profession. Although the real estate career changed, the moving did not. As she worked on writing and researching, she lived in Kansas, Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma. While in Texas, she and her husband had their fourth child. Despite the sleepless nights and exhausting days, Aceves was determined to finish this tribute to her grandfather and veterans like him. The last three years were filled with long, sleepless nights, but she was determined to finish—and finish she did. She chose to put a picture of her family on the back of the book because everyone was involved during the years it took to write it—and yes, she is struggling to keep up with the toddler.
One “Captured by the Enemy” reader wrote a review on Amazon, awarding the book five stars while stating “Just as good as ‘Unbroken.’ You won’t be disappointed.”
With a smile, Aceves added, “I certainly hope you will not be disappointed. It is wonderful piece of history that was made from the true stories of my granddad. It recognizes him as one of the many soldiers who bravely fought in WWII and then was left to adjust to life with new and unforgettable scars that would last him a lifetime.”
Did you know that leaving a customer review on Amazon is an awesome way to get a book ranking higher within the Amazon algorithm. If you have read “Captured by the Enemy” and liked it, please leave a review. I have made it super easy and in one simple step. Just click here: Leave an Amazon review
Here are some of the reviews “Captured by the Enemy” has received from Amazon:
“This story is superbly written and thoroughly researched. I am impressed with the author’s understanding and description of PTSD without ever having to name it as such since that language was not used at the time Carl was in its grip. I love how she sequenced the book, keeping gripping suspense alive and at the same time reassuring the reader that her grandfather will survive the ordeal. Her use of the vernacular and slang of the time and place adds authentic color, giving the reader the sense of being there in the midst of events. I salute the author for such a meaningful, touching and loving telling of her grandfather’s story.” –Ruth L. Eichler
“This is an awesome book that is very worth the read! The true story of Carl’s WWII prisoner of war experience is unbelievable. You will feel like you are right there experiencing it with him. I read the book on the 4th of July which also happens to be the day after Carl’s birthday. It just put in to perspective that much more! An excellent read about an amazing man.” –Melissa Vogts
“This was a very good read. From start to finish I was enthralled by Carl’s story. I know there have been many WW2 stories, but for making you not wish to put the book down, please read this epic story.” –Gutzo
“I really enjoy WWII era books, and this book did not disappoint. Would highly recommend.” –Jason
Why should you buy this book–Captured by the Enemy? This book was written to retrace the steps of Carl Good through his WWII experiences. It combines history with his personal stories and recreates an amazing story. From his landing in North Africa to a second amphibious landing in Sicily, this book covers it all. When Carl was captured in Sicily, it details his experiences from the prison camps as he was moved ahead of Allied forces and into Italy. After a mass escape, he lived in the mountains of Italy for over nine months.
Learning more about WWII couldn’t be more interesting as the stories carry the history along. Since the majority of the civilian draftees were hard-working and clean spoken, this book has kept true to that element. It is a clean read and makes for a true story without all the vulgar, gruesome Hollywood scenes (true stories only.) This is what makes this book stand out against the rest. It can be read by advanced readers who are ready for WWII material and the atrocities associated with it, or it is a great read for adults as well.
Recently, it received a five star review on Amazon that compared it to the WWII book phenomenon–Unbroken. This one is for Carl–the quiet hero who never expected to be recognized, but deserved it through his amazing story of Captured by the Enemy.
Buy it from Amazon, or pay safely through PayPal here and get a SIGNED copy from the author for only $19.95!
I have mentioned several times that through my journey of research, I have connected with many wonderful people. Recently, I was asked to write a letter for Riccardo Funari.
For those of you who are new or who don’t remember who Riccardo is, let me briefly explain. Riccardo Funari was a WWII Italian Partisan who fought for a free Italy. He didn’t want to be repressed under the Fascist rule and especially not under the rule of Hitler when Germany took control after the fall of Mussolini in 1943.
How does this relate to me? Well, my granddad, Carl Good, was captured in Sicily and ended up in a prison camp in Italy. After a mass escape, his path crossed with Riccardo’s. Many years later, Riccardo was recognized for what he had done for his country and a memorial was set up in his honor. This year, the commemoration was held today in Italy, but through Riccardo’s nephew, Ricardo Funari, and his great-niece, Vanesa Funari, I was able to be part of this special day.
Although I couldn’t be there, my letter to Riccardo was read at the church and Ricardo and Vanesa were there to send pictures and keep me updated. Vanesa sent me a message saying it was very rainy and although I’m sure it was inconvenient for the commemoration, I found it somewhat fitting. The night before Riccardo was killed, it was raining. Staying under umbrellas, they put up a beautiful wreath in Riccardo’s honor, and then moved over to the church.
Once they were at the church, my letter was read to those who had gathered for this special day. Here is what I had to say (pictures of the area were sent to me by Vanesa and Ricardo Funari today and I have added them into the letter so you can see where this all took place.)
My name is Crystal Good Aceves. Perhaps you will better recognize the name of my grandfather, Carl Leroy Good. When my grandfather escaped into the mountains outside of Camp 59, he had no idea where he should go. He was with five other prisoners and they only knew they had to get as far away as possible. As they climbed the mountains into the night, the adrenaline pushed their weak bodies towards Monte San Martino. After going all night, they only made it to the edge of town where they hid in grass and brush to wait through the hot day until it was safe to walk again.
The next night, they started walking and met a man who was a neighbor to your family. His name was Giovanni Straffi and although he didn’t own his land, he was a good, hardworking, Italian farmer who wanted and believed in a better Italy.
Riccardo, I know you wanted the same thing. You could have stayed home and rested after being injured in war, but you chose to fight. You knew that Italy deserved more than to be under the control of the Fascists and the Germans. You knew that to free your family from the pain and suffering, you had to step up and join the fight from a different position.
Together with your friend, Gino, you were not afraid to join with Decio’s group of Partisans in the mountains. You chose to defend your country with other men who agreed that living in fear and punishment was no way to live. You were tired of the enemy stealing your things and threatening to kill you. Although my grandfather and his friend, Jim, wanted to join you, it was too dangerous with their limited Italian and American accents.
However, you helped them when you could. They hid in a ditch across the road from your house in a hut made of plants. The hope was that they would be secluded enough that the enemy would not find them, but it would also allow them to view the lower roads and the farms of the families who were helping them.
You took them food and information whenever you visited your family. You invited them to go with you to return the stolen grain the Germans had taken from the people back to the hungry Italians who deserved it. My grandfather was able to get some for the families who risked their lives to save his.
That rainy night in April when you went home, you stopped and talked to my grandfather and Jim. My grandfather said he would see you tomorrow, and he really thought he would. It tore him up when he woke up at the light of dawn to find the Fascists had discovered you at home. He could do nothing to help you as those Fascist pigs lined you up against the ox stall. They put your mother on one side of you, your father on the other side, and your brothe beside your mother. Then they shot you in front of them (this story differs from the family in that his mother wasn’t allowed to look out the window from where she watched or they would kill her too.) Then the enemy took everything from your home, including the livestock. Your mother screamed an unearthly scream. You were her son. You were her protector. She didn’t understand why you chose to risk your life and fight with the partisans. Her agony and pain of losing you was so deep that she scratched the wooden floors with her fingernails, but that wasn’t the end.
Even after sixty years had passed, my grandfather told me about you by name. He told me that you had a heart of gold. He wasn’t able to trust many at that time while he was hiding in the mountains, living day to day, but he trusted you. I could see the look of remembrance in his face when he mentioned your and Gino’s names as he slightly smiled. He thought highly of you two and respected you for taking the positions you did. You gave the ultimate sacrifice and several months later your Italy was freed from that oppressive power against which you fought.
My grandfather survived over nine months in the mountains near where you lived. You would be happy to know he made it to Allied lines on June 21, 1944—not even two months after you were killed. He made it because like you he was a fighter, but also because you and the community you lived in worked together and helped keep him alive.
Your family moved away from Italy after the war, but you were never forgotten. Your blood boldly runs through descendants who honor your name. I am privileged to call your nephew, Ricardo, and your great-niece, Vanesa, my friends because we have a connection through you. Now, seventy-one years later, I write you this letter to tell you thank you. Thank you for helping my grandfather. Thank you for fighting for justice. Thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice.
Coming soon there will be a book that puts all of Carl’s war experiences into one true story. I will let you know when that is ready.