Xlibris Publishing introduces Dave Gutierrez, author of Patriots from the Barrio.
Please briefly describe your book.
Patriots from the Barrio is the true WWII story of the men that served in the U.S. Army’s all Mexican American combat unit, the 36th Division, 141st Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E. The soldiers who served in Company E were part of this country’s Greatest Generation that answered the call to duty when America needed them the most. The story follows the men from the barrios of Texas to some of the most horrific battles in Italy.
The 36th Division became the first American unit to set foot on the European mainland during WWII. My cousin Ramon G. Gutierrez served in the unit. I first set out to write Ramon’s biography. When I realized that Ramon had served in an all Mexican American WWII unit the focus of the story shifted to telling all of their stories. Using Genealogy research, I connected with over fifty different families of the men that served in Company E.
Who is the author “behind” the book?
I never aspired to be a writer, but the one thing I always did was read. What happened with Patriots from the Barrio was that I had this very unique and historical story that had to be told. Then I asked myself, “Why not you? You can do this.” I spent four and half years researching for the book. I would say more than half was researching how to write a book. When I met the families of these men who were greatly affected by what happened to them, I felt a sense of responsibility I had to the families.
Do you have any particular literary influences that have helped you develop in your genre, subject and style?
I was always reading, at first it was the sports page and sports magazines. It soon evolved to books after my sister handed me a book she read. I stared at the cover, IT by Stephen King. I read Tom Clancy, Scott Turow, every WWII book I could get my hands on.
What inspired you to write your book, and how long did it take you to finish it?
I started Genealogy research and met my cousin Gloria online on a Genealogy website. After discussing Ramon one night the light bulb went off in my head. I thought his story would be a good story for a book. Ramon had been captured twice by the German Army, escaping on both occasions and making it back across Allied lines. He would be awarded the Silver Star by the US Army. He would be wounded on three different occasions and would become one of only a few Americans to be decorated for valor on the battlefield by the Soviet Union during WWII. So his story in itself has always inspired me.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
The one message I want to convey is that Mexican Americans did contribute significantly to WWII. Here was a golden opportunity to share with the world a positive story of Mexican American contributions to this nation. I didn’t want these men and their sacrifice to be forgotten.
Xlibris will return with Dave Gutierrez in Part 2.
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