The Largest Food Relief the World Had Ever Seen


Details the Chaotic Origins

Behind the Lines


Tells the Riveting Full Story

WWI Crusaders

BTL Recognitions

          The Little-known True Story: During World War I, the American-led Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) and its Belgian counterpart, the Comite National (CN), initiated, organized, and supervised the largest food relief the world had ever seen. Nearly 10 million Belgians and Northern French trapped behind German lines were saved from starvation during four years of the Great War.
Young idealistic Americans volunteered to go into German-occupied territory as CRB delegates to guarantee the donated food would not be confiscated by the Germans. And, perhaps most difficult, the Americans had to swear on their honor to be completely neutral, even as they watched the Belgians suffer under the harsh German regime.
This noble service by Americans during World War I is known to few Americans today, but it’s a chapter in our history which we should know and take pride in. I tell much of this great humanitarian story through the eyes of the delegates and Belgians who did the work. It is a story of heroism and humanity far behind the killing fields and trenches of World War I, and both books are fashioned in the highly readable writing style exemplified by Erik Larson, Laura Hillenbrand, and David McCullough.

         Behind the Lines — already in print — details the war’s chaotic first five months (August-December 1914), the founding of the CRB and the CN, and the initial civilian resistance to the harsh German rule. This nonfiction book follows the head of the CRB, a handful of young CRB delegates, a twenty-two-year-old Belgian woman, two U.S. diplomats, and two Belgians — a businessman and priest — who team up to fight the German occupation.

          WWI Crusaders — coming in 2018 — tells the full story of the Americans in Belgium from August, 1914, when the war begins, to April, 1917, when America enters the war and the U.S. delegates must leave Belgium. A substantial epilogue wraps up loose ends through to the end of the war.  As with BTL, this nonfiction book interweaves into a dramatic tapestry the individual stories of the head of the CRB, numerous CRB delegates, two U.S. diplomats, a young Belgian woman, and two Belgians barely eluding the Germans as they publish an underground newspaper. For updates on my progress with WWI Crusaders go to my WWI CRB Blog.

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I love to give my presentation -- which includes a powerpoint slide show and show-and-tell items -- to small and large general interest audiences. I tailor my talk to each group. I've shared my passion for this topic with small book clubs, regional library gatherings, and conferences. Contact me at if you'd like me to talk to your group.

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This blog has followed my research, writing, production, marketing and sales of Behind the Lines. Now it follows my progress on writing WWI Crusaders.

Watch CRB Video

A video about the band of Yanks who saved millions from starvation.