PR Log - Sep 06, 2011 - Public Information is a coming of age novel set during and immediately after the Korean War that chronicles the experiences of a young soldier in combat, in love, in trouble and maturing rapidly under decidedly unstable conditions. Wylie Cypher joins the army expecting to study the Russian language and, through a series of unintended consequences, finds himself amid the raging conflict in the spring of 1953.
Fortunately, he joins a Public Information Office near the front lines and spends his 16-month tour of duty experiencing military service in a foreign combat zone. He mingles with indelible characters such as Tully McGregor, a warrior sergeant; Colonel Warfinger, who organizes a house of ill repute; Private Rowe, who bends or breaks every Army rule; and Amanda Chapel, a Wellesley graduate caring for mixed-race orphans. He travels widely, both physically and metaphorically, and explores in detail all aspects of the conflict and its aftermath – with emphasis on the enlisted men of the United Nations forces.
Public Information is carefully researched and includes historical information about the war that only recently has become known. It deals with aspects of the combat on both sides of the 38th Parallel: treatment of prisoners of war, the Rhee government, combat experiences and “rest and recreation.” It employs raw military language and humor and contains highly imaginative scenes of army life that the author calls “the Army Way.” Readers have found it “poignant …hilarious …rewarding.”
Rolf Margenau claims the story is not biographical, though he admits that his research included rereading the 300 or so letters he sent to his future wife from Korea after the armistice. He was a sergeant in charge of the 7th Infantry Division Public Information office in Korea and a correspondent for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, so his scenes and characters glow with authenticity.
The author claims he worked five decades refining Public information, but his second book, Pistils and Poetry, was under construction for only eight or nine years. In this book, he has juxtaposed some of his favorite Elizabethan poems with complimentary pictures of flowers that he has taken over the years. (He was a professional photographer). Will Shakespeare, Jack Donne, Chris Marlowe, Tom Campion and Ben Jonson, among others, are represented - along with rich and glowing floral images that add to the poems’ meaning. In his introduction he says “Why pictures of flowers? Although these poems are anything but ‘flowery,’ in my mind they evoke a sense of flowers: multi hued, intricately constructed, amazing in detail and elevating of spirit.” The flowers are there to allow the reader to enjoy the poems and escape to a “newfound land.”
For those somewhat put off by a few unfamiliar words, the author offers pithy comments and historical background for comfort. Pistils and Poetry is the thinking person’s coffee table book. It offers the pleasure of dipping in for the poetry or photographs and getting lost in the delightful words and sumptuous graphics.
Public Information, a novel of 378 pages, is available for download in all digital formats from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. The paperback version is also available from http://www.frogworks.com , from local bookstores and those outlets. The retail price for the hard copy is $25, under $10 for the Kindle and Nook versions.
Pistils and Poetry has 94 pages and retails for $18.95. It is currently available in hard copy from Frogworks Publishing at http://www.frogworks.com. Digital is coming this fall.
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Hard copies of the books are available for review upon request. A photograph of the author and copies of the book covers are included with this release. - - -
About Frogworks Publishing
Frogworks Publishing is a boutique publisher of first novels, art books and childrens' books.