Publishers Weekly Reviews The Kissing Sailor

publishers-weekly

There are many indicators that point to the potential for a book’s success.  One of the most closely-watched and widely-regarded is Publisher’s Weekly.

Publisher’s Weekly isn’t well-known to many outside the publishing world.  Publishers Weekly, also known as PW, is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents.  Published continuously since 1872, it has carried the tagline, “The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling.”  With 51 issues a year, the emphasis today is on book reviews.

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The Key to Understanding “The Kissing Sailor” by Author George Galdorisi

times-square-on-vj-day-1945

It is the most iconic photograph in American History – perhaps in all history.  Why?  Because when people look at this picture V-J Day 1945, In Times Square they understand what it felt like when World War II ended.  But until now, we knew very little about V-J Day, 1945, In Times Square.

And to this day, sixty-five years after this picture was taken, it is not hyperbole to say that interest in this picture, this event, this moment, has not flagged, it has only intensified.  An August 14, 2010 front-page article in the New York Times about a woman at the periphery of one of the five photos of the sailor and nurse that day said it best:

It is a defining image of the American century, one that expressed the joy of a nation at its moment of greatest triumph: on the day of the Japanese surrender in World War II was announced, a sailor grabbed a nurse in the middle of Times Square, bent her back and kissed her.  That kiss on V-J Day was captured in at least two photographs – one iconic, one merely famous.  And for decades since, there have been debates.  Who was the sailor?  Who was the nurse?  A number of people have staked claims, and countless stories have tried to sort them out.

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The Huffington Post Reports on The Kissing Sailor

This Kissing Sailor Novel

George Galdorisi, along with co-author Lawrence Verria, have written a novel that has uncovered the identities of the famous “Times Square Kissing Couple”.  The couple was photographed in 1945 upon learning that Japan had surrendered to the United States.  The couple has now been identified as the nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman, and the Sailor George Mendonsa.  Below is The Huffington Post’s coverage of the telling novel.

Behind the Story — Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor

Modern Warship Act of Valor Shipmate

Last entry, I shared my co-author, Captain Dick Couch, article in the March-April issue of the U.S Naval Academy’s Shipmate magazine.  Also in that issue of Shipmate, I captured the story of our book, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor, as well as the hit movie, Act of Valor.

Act of Valor, a Bandito Brothers/Relativity Media production, was released for wide theatrical distribution in February 2012. Starring active duty Navy SEALs, the film is a fictionalized account of real life operations. But it is the story within the story about how the film came to be made that is as intriguing as the movie and subsequent novelization.

Like many things that still profoundly influence us today, it started on 11 September  2001, a day that is riveted into the consciousness of all Americans. Within the Department of Defense (DoD) 9-11 caused a national catharsis, one that inspired civilian and military leaders to rethink how to deal with threats to the nation in the 21st century. As this re-evaluation began to take shape, one aspect became immediately apparent — the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) would have a vastly more prominent role in dealing with 21st century threats to the United States….

Click Here to Read the Full Article

 

Captain Dick Couch: Biography

Couch

My co-author, Captain Dick Couch, is one of the most respected and recognizable names in the Naval Special Warfare Community (and for that matter, the entire U.S. Special Operations Community).  Since publication of his first novel, SEAL Team One in 1991 he has written with passion and authority regarding special operations in both novels and most recently in compelling non-fiction.

Arguably his most well-known book is his 2003 The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228, which has garnered high praise from numerous reviewers, with comments such as: “An impressively researched look into the heart of a culture few Americans, including many military enthusiasts, truly grasp, and “His insider’s view draws the reader in and makes the book a fast and enjoyable read.”  Since then he has embarked on a number of non-fiction writing projects that have chronicled other components of the entire U.S. Special Operations Community.

Most recently, he has provided an insider’s-look at the association between the Navy SEAL community and the United States Naval Academy. See the accompanying PDF for this compelling story.

SEAL Captain Dick Couch

 

Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor — What readers had to say

Act of Valor

What does it take for a book to capture the public’s imagination?  I takes, of course, a good (really, a compelling) high concept story, it takes an interesting and believable plot, and it takes characters – good and bad – whom the reader sees as real people – not stick-figure caricatures.  Based on the compelling weight of evidence in reviews and especially in reader’s comments (more on that in a moment) Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor met that mark.

But realistically, that will help a book do well, but not spectacularly well.  For that, there needs to be something special, and in this case it was the Bandito Brothers/ Relativity Media movie Act of Valor, that has been on the movie box office hits list for a full six weeks and which has grossed over $62M in only its first four weeks after release, smashing pundits’ predictions about how well this unique movie would do.

Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor has been published for three months and spent most of the first quarter of this year on the New York Times mass market paperback best-seller list.  While most novelizations are “carried” by the movie, i.e. once a movie is a hit people also become interested in the novelization, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor broke out on New York Times mass market paperback best-seller list the week it was released (six weeks prior to the movie’s release) and remained there for eight weeks, rising as high as #4 on the list (as well as #4 on the Publisher’s Weekly best-seller list).  The book is still selling well, its end-of-quarter statistics show 440,000 copies in print and the book is already into its fifth printing.

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A Look Back at Act of Valor’s Success

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Now that Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor has been published for almost three months and the movie Act of Valor has been on the movie box office hits list for a full six weeks (debuting at #1 in its first week of release on February 28), its fair to ask: What just happened?…as well as…Why did it happen?  Deconstructing events over the past several months in regards to the book and the movie may reveal less about these two artistic pursuits and more about a subtle shift in American core values.

Stepping back a few paces, it is worth considering what a long shot this book and movie represented.  As reported previously on this blog, Act of Valor began as a documentary and only morphed into a feature fill somewhere along the way during the two years that Bandito Brothers film crews chronicled SEAL training at numerous training sites across America.  Worse, from a box office point of view, there are no big names, no bankable stars in the movie.  The stars are active duty Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen, or SWCCs.  It was a major gamble for Relativity Media, but it paid off handsomely.

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Act of Valor: A Great Review by an American College Student

Leave No Man Behind

While some did not expect the movie Act of Valor to do as well at the box office as it ultimately did (over $56M over the first three weeks), it was primarily because not everyone expected a movie so clearly focused on values such as honor, courage, commitment and dedication to family and teammates would strike such a responsive chord.

And not many expected that our novelization of this movie, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor, would spend the better part of three months on the New York Times best-seller list, and that the book’s publisher, Penguin, would sell out of its original 400,000 copies printed and go into a major second printing less than two months after the book’s release.

But like most things in life, once some “water passes under the keel,” some retrospective and reflective looks come to the fore that provide a more finely-nuanced look at what this movie is all about.  What follows below appeared in a review of the movie by a student at a prestigious American college.  While I may not agree with everything he says, his thoughts are worth reading.  Here’s what he said about “Act of Valor

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Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor Celebrates 8th Week on New York Times Best Sellers List

Armed and ready

Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor is enjoying its eighth week on the New York Times mass market paperback best seller list.  Unprecedented for a movie novelization, during it’s time on the list it has ranked ahead of books by perennial best-selling novelists such as Iris Johansen, Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, Sherryl Woods, and Stephanie Laurens.  Perhaps most notably, when it rose to #4 on the list, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor was ranked ahead of three books by George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Feast for Crows.

Reader comments on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere in the blogsphere increasingly tie the book closely to the record-setting movie, Act of Valor, noting that Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor fully develops the SEAL, their family members and other characters, something the movie can’t begin to do in 100 action-packed minutes that are decidedly focused on kinetics and not on a story line.  That said, by grossing over $56M in its first three weeks in theaters, Act of Valor blew the doors off “standard” Hollywood expectations.

Defense Media Network Takes Us “Inside” Act of Valor

Search and rescue training

The buzz about the movie, Act of Valor, as well as about Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor has caused the unique story of these two companion works to be picked up on numerous websites and blogs.  I’m delighted that you all have been following the story here, now I’d like to take you to a website that offers an even more entertaining deep-dive into the story-within-the-story of both the book and the movie.

Just due to the nature of my day job and my professional interests, I spend a great deal of time navigating military and defense industry websites.  One of the best – hands down – is the website Faircount Media Group maintains with real time information about important and interesting matters of interest to anyone who follows what our military is doing or what the defense industry is doing.

Faircount Media Group has picked up the story of Act of Valor, as well as about Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor Defense Media Network Website at: www.defensemedianetwork.com.  They have shaped the story much as I have related it to you in these recent blog posts, but have also included additional links that bring the story to life in a lively and entertaining way.  Enjoy!