Where Did Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor Land on the Charts?

Act of Valor

Now that Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor has been published for four 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), it’s time to review the bidding: Reviewing events over the past four months in regards to the book and the movie can tell us a lot about American core values.

What are America’s core values? Politicians and pundits might disagree, but most influential strategic and military analysts agree that these values are captured in the document, A National Strategic Narrative, which highlights “our enduring national interests – prosperity and security” which is bounded by our “national values.”

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Early Excitement for The Kissing Sailor & a Peek Inside the Book

This Kissing Sailor Novel

As we reported last week, worldwide press coverage in advanced of the release of The Kissing Sailor has been intense.  There is good reason for this as it is a compelling story focused on “Five Ps: The Picture, the Place, the Publication, the People, and the Proof.

Here’s part of what renowned inaugural host of Good Morning American had to say about the book in his Foreword:

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The Kissing Sailor is Popular World Wide, Here are Various Looks into the New Book

Interview with The Kissing Sailor

The Kissing Sailor is gaining popularity, not just in the United States, but places as far as Chile and the UK.  This iconic post World War II photo captures everything that we as a country were feeling at that moment in time.  The identity of the kissing couple has been a mystery for 67 years, and now author George Galdorisi and co-author Lawrence Verrie have revealed the truth.  There have been approximately 5 candidates for the sailor, and about 3 for the nurse. Though, it all came down to forensic analysis to ensure that the real couple was identified. There is ample news coverage on the new book, “The Kissing Sailor”, and the story that details the search for the sailor and nurse in this historical photograph.

To read more about this amazing story we have listed below links to news coverage, interviews, and articles that will allow you to learn the story of, “The Kissing Sailor”.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews The Kissing Sailor


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


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


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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