News and Reviews

Reviews for The Green Box

I could not have been more surprised or appreciative then I was last Thursday evening when you came to speak to me at the Stage 284 event. When you identified yourself as the son of a former POW, whose Moosburg prison camp had been liberated by General Patton’s troops, it was  touching moment for me.

As you may guess, as the late General George S. Patton Jr.’s daughter-in-law I am often approached by veterans or their relatives about General Patton, his accomplishments, or their relative’s service that linked them with him. Yours resonated with me at once ….. You have made a remarkable contribution to the history of our service member’s experience, by writing your father’s story, giving caring attention to personal details. You are a truly gifted writer. Not only have you captivated the reader with your text, but you have taken us along on your often arduous but always caring journey to unearth and connect every possible link with your father’s life. In doing so, you have done honor to many others who were part of it along the way.

– Joanne H. Patton

Finished a great read! And not without tearing up a time or two reading about your Dad’s time in POW camps and on the death march. You did a great job of putting together all of his wartime experiences which  he never talked about, filling in many of the blanks. Congratulations on a fine piece of work.
–Joseph Galloway, newspaper correspondent and columnist; co-author of the best seller We Were Soldiers (1992)

I read it with enormous interest and admiration–for your father and for you. And I was particularly taken with the sections on your father’s “Captivity” and his “March Home”…This is such important and moving history. And so rich too–I love that you’ve included so much documentation from the Green Box—the letters and telegrams. And, yes, it is very interesting to see the story of your father and mother’s relationships—from courtship through the war to their second honeymoon and back.
–William Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club (2012)

As promised, I read The Green Box over the weekend and thought it was quite amazing. I marvel at how much research you’ve done and how you put together a very vivid, heartbreaking story… I greatly admire the way in which you created a seamless story.
–Lane Zachary, Partner, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Publisher

Best book I have read in a long, long time for your abilities to convey the emotions and experiences of combat and war from the perspective of both the direct (your dad) and the indirect (your mom) participants. Very few are the writers (or anyone for that matter, who has not been in the belly of the beast) who can comprehend let alone express in writing the terror filled, horrific and mind rending experiences.
–Jim Latta, Vietnam Veteran

I’ve been reading The Green Box with intrigue and really enjoying it. It moves right along and your writing is very strong.
–Rick Richter, Publisher for Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Publisher, former President of the Executive Committee of Simon & Schuster

I just finished the final words of your book, which was absolutely incredible. It is so well written and an absolute page-turner. I’m not a reader (unless it’s a really good book–and yours was) and I couldn’t put it down. Started it and finished it today. What an incredible story and such a journey for you. I cannot express how much I loved it, truly, it’s incredible. I felt at time I was right there with your day along his journey. I know my mom felt the same way.
 –Isabel Smith

I’m trying to put words to my emotions, but it’s hard. I don’t remember when I have been so affected by a book. The fact that my mother died on Dec 16, and my personal journey through their life and discoveries over the past three months about my father is so fresh, and then reading the raw emotions involved with your family, it’s really hit me like a ton of bricks. Thank you for this treasure and for opening up your heart in this epic story.
–Kent Peightal

I must say, that it was one of, if not the best book I have ever read. Because it was a great story in itself and a sub plot love story that truly showed how couples of WW2 era met, fell in love and married. Couples devotion to each other and then their family in that era has long since gone by the wayside. It was a detailed history book, giving glimpses into the European Theatre, as well as the behind the sense of a German prison camp. The war story itself was amazingly told. The detail, emotions, sights, sounds, and smells were conveyed as if the war story had been written by your father.
–Ted Riley

This is a stunning story that weaves every aspect of war-time America into a book worthy of a documentary. Mr. Kurtz knew little of his father but imagined that the artifacts he’d found in a green box in his family’s attic would lead to a greater understanding of the father he barely remembered. What he couldn’t have imagined was how the dogged pursuit of his father’s war experience would lead to incredible relationship building with other people and families who’s shared stories added so much flavor. What the author has managed to capture so effectively is the fear and anxiety of the unknown. Whether it be the odds of surviving always dangerous B-24 Liberator bombing missions or maintaining one’s sanity and health as a nearly year-long POW, the book is written thru an observant and thoroughly researched perspective. Perhaps most impressive is how he always managed to focus on the loving relationship between his parents expressed thru letters they could only imagine were being received. Kurtz has told the story that defines a generation. For him, it served the dual purpose of truly understanding the horrific nature of war and his father’s heroic involvement while capturing the essence of a young couple who’s future seemed to hang on periodic Western Union telegrams. Why would someone spend nearly 15 years engrossed in this type of extensive research? To get it right- and Kurtz certainly has!
–Amazon reader

This is a superb book that tells of a son’s search to discover the story of his father and the details of his father’s service as a co-pilot of a B-24 Liberator in the Army Air Corps in WWII. It is written with grace and elegance, and is amazingly fast paced. Starting with his discovery of a Green Box with war memorabilia and a “Missing in Action Telegram” in the attic of his family home, Jim Kurtz began a quest to learn about his father — whose premature death at 33 (when Jim was 2) left a widow with four young boys. Not only is the information about his father’s life and military service fascinating, but the author’s imaginative and diligent investigation gives the aura of a “mystery novel” to the book. The details of life in the German POW camps are very disturbing — I (for one) had the false impression that the camps were relatively humane. The book is an outstanding testimony about the life of a patriotic man and his devoted wife during World War II. I could hardly put it down, and recommend it without reservation.

–Amazon reader

The Green Box is a poignantly told story of an ordinary man called to war as rediscovered by a son through a handful of telegrams, letters and other clues. Jim Kurtz’ efforts to doggedly search the archives and the memories of other airmen in WWII is captivating. He has shown us how a man, his father, answered the call to duty, carried out bombing missions in service to his country and suffered the inhumane conditions of a German POW. His father’s letters show little of the despair in the camps as he continued to bring hope to his wife waiting for his release and an end to the war. It’s a tale of the horrors of war and the strength of the human spirit. The author has managed to turn the mystery of his father’s wartime experience into a mosaic of international insight on the human condition before, during and after the horrors of war. In the process his father’s personality and character has taken on an individual personality of a dutiful citizen, loving husband and father. The mystery of the green box is unraveled by the determination of a loving son.

–Amazon reader

Press on The Green Box

Decades later, war’s chapter completed,” Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe, September 19, 2010

The bonds of war span decades and generations,” Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe, October 29, 2016