I had the good fortune of co-authoring 6 books with Dr. Van Osdol while I was a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is very adept at writing and also has excellent research skills. "From Whence They Fell," is a novel of the tragedy of war and how it brings together two young people who fall in love. He has given very good historical clips of World War II which required a great deal of research and has woven that time period into the lives of the two young people who fall in love and experience the compassion, anxieties, challenges and tragedies that can happen during times of war. The characters in "From Whence They Fell" are well developed and very believable human beings who experience true love, make human mistakes and lose their self confidence. Then they regain confidence and have one last chance to renew their love for each other. It is a well written novel and a real experience to read.
~Reviewed by Don G. Shane, Ph.D. Henderson County Library, Hendersonville, North Carolina. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Van Osdol is a master of time and place. Spanning thirteen years from World War II in the Netherlands to the United States and back, this spy/romantic suspense novel engages all of the reader's senses. The Story of Zack and Karlana is one of intrigue and tragedy and, as the title forshadows, the loss of paradise.
~Reviewed by Linda Burkett O'Hern, attornery, writer and president of the Central Oklahoma Roundtable of Authors. Review was listed in the book section of the Sunday Oklahoman. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am a retired Delta Airlines Captain with a great interest in all things WW II. My older brother was on the initial Omaha Beach assault and that has made me a fan of WW II books. Having read many books both fiction and nonfiction on WW II, I find "From Whence They Fell" to be a book that is not only exciting but very factual on details of WW II. The author has integrated adventure, intrigue, and a very compelling love story into what I consider one of the best fiction works I've read. I would recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in a good story about WW II and Post-war life.
~Reviewed by Captain Jack Adney. retired Delta Airlines Pilot, Port Townsend, Wasington.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -SPY-THRILLER IS ROMANTIC FAST PACED- Book section review in the Sunday Oklahoman By Reba Neighbors Collins
Author William R. Van Osdol has written a fast-action, romantic, spy-thriller that takes readers to World War II when Zack Derream grew up and joined the fray. In "FROM WHENCE THEY FELL: A Paradox of Love and War" (Publish America) you will relive the nostalgia, dance to the happy strains of Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" and through the eyes of Captain Derream, feel the hardships of military life while the world is aflame. Derream, a Harvard educated attorney, is picked for Special Services and espionage duty in the underworld of Middle Europe. In German-occupied Holland, he meets the charming Karlana who has had to fight against detection. rape, killing, and betrayal. In a Dutch barn loft, Zack and Karlana wait for their underground contact. She tells him about her struggles to hold the Nazi soldiers at bay when she worked as a hotel maid in Amsterdam. At Karlana's urging, he reveals his lifestyle on a farm in America in the 1930's. He tells about President Roosevelt ordering farmers to kill little pigs and calves in an effort to drive up prices. He tells her about college and his flight training at Randolph Field in Texas. And, they fall in love. This tale does not end when the war does. It shifts gears and turns the corner and continues. Zack joins a prestigious law firm in New York City; Karlana has a baby and becomes a model. Enter the boss's daughter---sensuous Donna, who sets her cap for Zack and won't take "NO" for an answer. Now a different kind of war tears them apart. Karlana packs and heads back home to Amsterdam. It is a great read by Van Osdol, a psychologist and retired University of Central Oklahoma professor. He's the author of 10 professional books. This first novel will have readers wanting more. -----Reba Neighbors Collins
REVIEW OF "FROM WHENCE THEY FELL" By Henk Reis, Oss, Netherlands
I am Henk Reis. I live in Oss, Netherlands. My half-brother in Varkaus, Finland, gave me your e-mail. My job takes me all over Europe, and I spend a lot of time in hotels. I have had the chance to carefully read your books, "Famous Faces in World War II" and the novel, "From Whence They Fell." I must say, Dr. Van Osdol, you are a very good writer. It seems that you took a lot of authentic moments (like Herkulesstraat. etc.) and placed your characters as real life people. I was born after the war, but my father was conscripted labor by the Nazis to a work camp. His sister, my aunt, who was too young to be a resistance fighter, did become one of Holland's top high fashion models. The same as Karlana did in the book. If my father were alive and read this book, he would cry. But all in one word, a good written book, very interesting history, easy to read and for my wife a very emotional book. She really loved it. If the U.S. publishers shared information about "From Whence They Fell" with bookstores and libraries in Holland, it should be a best seller. I would really like to meet you someday, so if you come back to Holland one day, we hopefully can meet and visit.
~Henk Reis, Oss, Netherlands.
BOOK REVIEW The Ultimate Human Evil - ODESSA
The Ultimate Human Evil - ODESSA is a historical novel of a man's bravery, endurance and love set in a world recovering from World War Two, and openly includes dealing with his anger and suffering from the effects of Nazi inhumanities. Written by William R. Van Osdol, Ph.D., the story focuses upon the Nazi-shielding ODESSA organization, the principle Nazi-hunting NET organization, and the fearless operatives who work both intents. This reviewer was literally set down hard by Van Osdol's revelation of the historically significant role of the Vatican Papal power that interacted with the Nazis. The ORGANIZATION OF FORMER NAZI SS MEMBERS (ODESSA) was so named by the Nazis. The novel dutifully enlightens the reader of the limitless intent of the ODESSA and the murderous Nazi SS who still eludes justice and the hangman. ODESSA operatives have worked successfully for two generations to seduce and catalog a numberless headcount of converts to their new iteration of mindless hate mongering. Having this insight, Van Osdol opens his enlightened novel on the dastardly schemes of the Nazis who continue to revolt free people the world-over. For even as one reads this volume, there is "goose-stepping" onto the world stage.
Zack Derream, a New York criminal attorney, former World War Two pilot and OSS Operative is a man of self-imposed recrimination and misery. Living without the love of his wife and child, he accepts a call from Vienna to work for NET, Nazi Escapee Trackers. The principle characters in this historical novel and love story include Evan Wilstein, the Nazi hunter who advises and attempts to control Zack: Karl Zinger a former Maquis operative, who betrayed Zack in World War Two: Lea Keis a Dutch NET agent: Hilda Jerrick, an escaped female Nazi war criminal: and Daniela Hepner, daughter of a Hitler saluting father, Reinhart Hackner.
Though emotionally unprepared for her lover's seductive ways, Daniela truly graces this story with her bravery and stoic acceptance of a tragic loss. From Germany to Brazil she lived two tightly drawn but starkly diverse lives. Daniela received daily satisfaction by living a partitioned life as a visible working citizen who is fanatically devoted, albeit silent, about her father's ODESSA connection. She openly supported to her father, but she was a covert threat to former Nazis while remaining above suspicion and detection by the ODESSA killers.
The twice-bent Zack committed himself to an end-of-the-world pursuit of former Nazis and one very specific Marquis double agent, Karl Zinger. Paradoxically, though, this periodic mission dynast will frequently lose his focus and find a bedded-lady, all of which threaten his incognito mission.
So, in the ongoing chase for internationally based ODESSA escaping Nazis, the question remains whether the double-minded Zack can succeed in bringing ODESSA agents or even a single elusive Nazi killer to the gallows. Or will this careless NET agent who is committed to his own gratification become too..." weary of running with the footmen." and unable to "contend with the horses."
~CAPTAIN JACK WINGATE, U.S. AIRBORNE RETIRED, MERESVILLE, MARYLAND.
"Zack and karlana: A love story"
A review of From Whence They Fell: A Paradox of Love and War
This novel, the first in a two-part series, was written by a really great American - William R. Van Osdol, Ph.D. He has at least four careers under his belt - psychologist, professor emeritus at the University of Central Oklahoma, U.S. Navy veteran, and a prolific author. I encourage you to visit Dr. Van Osdol's website, starting with his bio page; you'll become very aware that the number "four" is an understatement.
From Whence They Fell is a snapshot in time - 19 September 1943 through 9 June 1956, encapsulating the lives of Zack Derream (a lawyer and American officer in the OSS, Office of Strategic Service) and Karlana Leyte (a Dutch member of the resistance and underground in France and Holland). Van Osdol ably scrutinizes the impact of war and domestic trauma on Zack and Karlana, their families, friends and acquaintances. For readers who prefer non-fiction and historical fiction, From Whence They Fell will be a very satisfying read.
Historical events and locations fill the pages of this novel. It was interesting to read descriptions of maritime areas as Zack's AD Destroyer Attender made its way up North America's northeastern coast to Nova Scotia, then on across the northern Atlantic Ocean to England. I liked the description of Plymouth Harbor (England), where the men disembarked. The journey there from America was far from uneventful; the boiling black waters of the Atlantic created a mind-bender night time accident along the way.
The backdrop for this novel includes World War II with its Operation Overlord and D-Day Invasion. You'll meet people from the underground, resistance fighters, other OSS men, and Great Britain's Special Operations Executive forces (SOE).
With his "Mae West" tightly secured, Zack is chauffeured by England's luxurious RAF Lysanders to his mission destinations in France, Holland, Scotland, and (almost) Germany. With his own extensive knowledge, experience, and world travels, Van Osdol brought the text alive with vivid descriptions from scene to scene. He described the fear and anxiety felt by men like Zack as a "... paradoxical emotional level that tugged at all of his strengths and weaknesses."
For young readers who were only a gleam in their parents' eyes during the 1940's and later, Van Osdol's reminiscences via Zack and Karlana are eye-openers. Older readers will smile in appreciation of numerous references to music, films, and entertainers from the mid-1900's. Quite interesting is the author's use of words and phrases associated with this war time era. I've always liked the word "keen": "Many times he [Zack] had close contact with German troops, only to be spared by the keen underground techniques of the Maquis." Several special moments have been incorporated in the text for those who prefer novels with titillating romance.
Zack and Karlana fell in love, in that instantaneous way which happens so often to people who are caught up in war, fearing for every second of their lives, dependent upon each other. Despite his rigid OSS training, when Zack fully focused on Karlana, he recognized the fast-developing feelings, and "His mission objective vanished from mind." Lifelong memories were made in the dark basement bowels of Amsterdam's Schellor Hotel, in a boat floating down the river to another mission, and up in a barn's hay loft while awaiting an underground contact's arrival. Trying to mentally justify his breach of OSS rules, Zack contemplates "... how war caused death; how war had brought two people together; how, strangely, war was love. He'd fall in love and fight the war. He could do both."
I was brought up short reading about the slaughter of livestock during the depression of the 1930's. Researching this later, I was saddened to find that, indeed, the federal government required the slaughter to allegedly help prevent widespread bankruptcy among farmers and ranchers. In the novel, Karlana observed that while Americans were destroying cows, pigs, and other edible livestock, people in Holland were starving to death.
During the years following World War II, Zack and Karlana encounter traumatic domestic situations - as a couple and as individuals. Zack joins his friend's law firm, and Karlana becomes an internationally-renowned model. The story addresses families torn apart by deceit, crumbling values, and death. Analyzing the resulting recriminations, Zack remembers studying in his college psychology classes about children unconsciously punishing their parents "... by committing some act against the rules of society, law. It was an equilibrium, something called homeostasis."
Psychological traumas lead the story's characters on a journey that catapults toward a dreadful destination. Will Zack and Karlana hold onto their storybook love? Or will the novel's title, From Whence They Fell, be the definitive ending chapter of their lives?