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Friday, February 29, 2008

US Navy Veteran Reviews "Unsung Patriot"

itle: Unsung Patriot: Guy T. Viskniskki How The Stars and Stripes Began
Author: Virginia G. Vassallo
Genre: Military history/ World War I/ Biography/ History
ISBN: 978-0-9776739-2-6

Reviewed by Richard See Reviewer's Bookwatch, August 2007, Richard's Bookshelf

Every generation has its' heroes. Many of these receive medals, and ribbons to honor them for their service to our country. Others receive plaques, trophies, and acclaim for personal accomplishments in business, sports, or entertainment. There is also that myriad of heroes who never receive the accolades. These are the "unsung" heroes serving behind the lines while others receive the applause.

This is the biography of Guy T. Viskniskki, the founder, and first editor-in-chief of "The Stars and Stripes" newspaper, published during the fighting months of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I during 1917-1919.

At age forty, Guy put a successful career in newspaper editing and publishing on hold and responded to a sense of patriotism by enlisting in armed forces. He hoped to be placed on the frontline with the troops in Europe. However, he was assigned to General Headquarters guiding newspapermen throughout the American zone in France. While traveling through France he conceived the idea of a newspaper written "by and for the soldiers" of the A.E.F. He saw this as a need to raise morale among the troops.

By November in 1917 Second Lieutenant Guy T. Viskniskki was press officer and censor at the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Already a veteran of the Wheeler Newspaper Syndicate, and former editor of the Bayonet, a camp newspaper of the Eightieth Division, Camp Lee, Virginia Guy was asked to develop his idea and to explore the feasibility of publishing a newspaper for the AEF.

Once it was determined that an AEF newspaper could be produced in France, Viskniskki became the first managing editor of "The Stars and Stripes." Guy successfully faced the challenges of staffing, paper shortages, and maintaining editorial control with integrity. "Stars and Stripes" became Guy's legacy. After the war he again resumed his newspaper career, served as editor of several newspapers, and as a consultant in the publishing field.

Proud of her heritage and of her Grandfather's accomplishments Virginia Vassallo produced this book as a tribute to honor his memory. What started as a few notes and memories to preserve some family history for her grandson became a monumental project. Her fascination for one more bit of information drove her into writing this thoroughly researched and well documented monument to this "Unsung Patriot: Guy T. Viskniskki".

Virginia used her grandfather's unpublished memoirs, various internet sources, interviews with family members, and numberless newspaper articles, and correspondence to research the background information this book. She contacted Jim Mayo, President of the Stars and Stripes Museum for help. Jim was eager to assist her in this project and provided additional valuable resource information.

Guy T. Viskniskki will long be remembered for his patriotism, integrity and perseverance for the things he valued. The book will provide inspiration to small town newspaper editors and the editor-in-chiefs of newspapers across the world. Veteran's Associations, Sons of the American Revolution, and members of the American Legion will remember Guy's indefatigable efforts for their causes. As readers they will applaud this tribute to a tireless mentor and for his advocacy for the peoples of United States of America.

Virginia's respect and admiration for the accomplishments of Guy T. Viskniskki came through beautifully. She masterfully created well-rounded word pictures of this dynamic, yet complex, man whose legacy is the "Stars and Stripes." Virginia is very articulate, her words are well chosen. Her organization is meticulous, and her presentation is convincing. I say "Bravo!"
Reviewed By: Richard R. Blake,
U. S. Navy Veteran, Korean Conflict
Book Store Owner
Christian Education Consultant
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1 comment:

Sun Singer said...

I hope this book finds a wide audience, especially within the ranks of current military personnel, journalists and historians. I remember "Stars and Stripes" as a must-read newspaper from the days when I served as a Navy journalist aboard an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. Reading about its beginnings will be a treat.