Monday, May 9, 2022

Blog Tour and Giveaway: They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark
They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark 
 Publisher: Silver Star (September 21, 2021 
Category: Historical Romance, WW2, Family Saga, Based on a True Story 
Tour dates: April 25-June 24, 2022 
ISBN: 978-0578855288 
Available in Print and ebook, 
320 pages
   They Called Him Marvin

Description They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love and wanting to be a family, but WW2 and a B29 got in their way. Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2. He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life. His crew, a gaggle of Corporals that dubbed themselves the Corporealizes, four officers and a tech Sargent, adventured their way across the globe. Flying the “Aluminum Trail” also called the Hump through the Himalayas, site of the most dangerous flying in the world. Landing in China to refuel and then fly on to places like Manchuria, Rangoon or even the most southern parts of Japan to drop 500 pounders. Each mission had its challenges, minus fifty degree weather in Mukden, or Japanese fighters firing away at them, a close encounter of the wrong kind, nearly missing a collision with another B29 while flying in clouds, seeing friends downed and lost because of “mechanicals,” the constant threat of running out of fuel and their greatest fear, engine fire. Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals. Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them, he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.

Praise They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

“This was an amazing book. This isn't a look at war through rose colored glasses, but one that shows the reader what life was like for people from many backgrounds. A soldier, his love left behind on the home front, and those that were considered the enemy at the time. This was an intimate story that doesn't focus only on the war, and pulls the reader in quickly and easily. Historical fiction lovers, those with an interest in war history, and anyone just looking to take a few steps back in time will greatly enjoy reading this.”- Liliyana Shadowlyn, The Faerie Review “The fact that the premise for this book started with the story that Marvin told and then the letters from Dean and Connie shows how much research Roger Stark put into writing this book. I love how he revolves all of the events around the dates of the letters. The letters give the reader a reprieve from the atrocities of war and show the humanity of the soldiers fighting. There are some parts of the war that are shared that are so vivid and so horrifying - both on the part of the Japanese and on the part of the Americans. It is so heart-wrenching to think that these young (barely) men were out in those situations. My almost-93 year old grandpa, whose name is Marvin and who served in the Korean War, also read this book, and he really liked the story. For anyone who likes to read books based on wars or just history in general, I definitely recommend this one. It is also a love story that unfolds and is eye-opening to horrors that were experienced.”-Heather, 2 Many Books, 2 Little Time “Told in prose with diary-style sections of narration as well as central figure 1st Lt Dean Harold Sherman’s own personal correspondence, this is a beautiful tale of enduring romance and the heroism of those who fought and flew during the latter part of World War Two during the United States’ conflict with Japan. What results is a touching family saga that also foreshadows the great horrors and sacrifices of life in war. Author Roger Stark has crafted an emotive work with plenty of historical richness, pathos, and heart to offer readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was the heartfelt presentation of the unshakeable bond between Dean and Connie, both through the curation of their own words to one another and the contextual gap-filling which Stark achieves with facts, but also emotionally sensitive additions and details. Overall, I would highly recommend They Called Him Marvin to fans of accurate wartime accounts and for enthusiasts of World War Two reports.”- K.C. Finn, Readers' Favorite


14 December 1944, Greenhorns

The night after their arrival in Piarodoba, Dean and navigator 2 nd Lt Robert Orr made their way to the Club to avoid sitting in the dark. They found an empty table and concentrated on not looking like the greenhorns they were. Orr grabbed a couple of sodas for them.
Lt. Homer Watkins took one of the empty seats at their table. He was from New Hampshire and a bit of a down easter, complete with a Maine accent and a very slow approach to talking. Watkins recognized Dean and his navigator as wild eyed rookies and assumed they had a lot of unanswered questions. He didn’t mind doing a little tutoring, others had done it for him, he was a good man for the job, if one had the patience to hear his slow paced answers.
After the appropriate introductions and pleasantries they got down to business.
“You men been to China?” Watkins asked in his slow motion way.
Dean answered, “We are up to go in a couple of days, they are still tinkering on the plane, number three engine has a fuel line leak.”
“Well, you know, you won’t be a needin’ to take Mr. Orr on that trip? Navigators aren’t necessary.” Watkins said in his most deliberate way. 
Dean and Orr looked at each other and stepped right into it. “Well no, we hadn’t heard that. Why don’t we need him?” asked Dean.
“It is the Aluminum Trail. So many planes have gone down in the Himalayas there is no need to navigate, just follow the piles of scrap aluminum.” Landis delivered the punch line as serious as a a man could be.
After a rather pregnant pause, Dean and Orr realized they were had and enjoyed a good laugh. They also registered a mental “holy crap” wondering what they were in for.
Watkins continued his dead pan. “The maps are useless, mountains are in the wrong places and and elevations are inaccurate. The weather is challenging, it can turn on a dime. Up drafts can be huge, thunderstorms are worse than any you have ever been in. It seems like being socked in is the norm. Other than that, it is a piece of cake.”

“My last trip the weather was bad going over, we were on instruments the whole way. We came back in bright sunlight and realized one mountain listed at 18,000 was at least 23,000 ft and had been on our flight line. I don’t know how we missed it.”
Lt Oscar Hanson, heard their conversation as he walked by, took a right turn and pulled up a chair, part of the 793rd Squadron, he was on tdy at Piarodoba, Hanson like nearly everyone else in the room was a man-child. Early twenties, doing a job that much older men of experience and expertise should be doing, but there were no such men, only these eager baby faced fighters out to defend their way of life.
Hanson wanted to put in his 2 cents about flying the Hump. “We came back yesterday from China. Keep in mind you have to fly at 23-24,000 feet, we ran into a thunderstorm I thought it was going to tear our ship apart. Tanks broke loose in the back and tore a pretty good size hole in the floor. At one point the climb indicator said we climbing at the rate of 4,000 feet per minute even though my copilot and I had the stick all the way forward. We were dang grateful to land in one piece.”
As Dean and Orr walked back to their barracks, Orr asked, “So are we better off knowing that stuff? Some of it scared me shitless.”
Dean’s nod was hidden by the darkness, “Well I guess we know we need to be ready for anything.

They Called Him Marvin by Roger StarkAbout Roger Stark

Roger Stark, by his own admission, is a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories be lost. Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with his friend, Marvin, he learned the tragic story of his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan, just months before the end of the war. The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled Roger to ask if he could write the story. The result being “They Called Him Marvin.” Roger Stark’s life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. He prays that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf. Website: Facebook:

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Giveaway They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

This giveaway is for 3 print copies, one for each of 3 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on June 25, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Review

They Called Him Marvin is the first book I have had the pleasure of reading by Roger Stark. I have to admit that I am one that will judge a book by its cover, was intrigued with this one, and was excited to get my hands on it. I was far from being disappointed. The writing style is unique and refreshing. It did take me a chapter or two to get used to it. I could not put it down. This is one of those reads that toyed with my emotions and found myself needing to keep my tissues close by. It was interesting to read the letters between Dean and Connie. It was heartbreaking to read but gave a glimpse of what people went through those times in history. The author does not hold back in telling of the tragedies that were witnessed. I found the book tells about an important part for this generation and what they endured. Should never be forgotten. 

They Called Him Marvin will be getting a very well deserved a five plus stars. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy reading historical fiction, specifically those surrounded the era of the World War II. I would love to read more like this from 
Roger Stark in the future. I am interesting to find out where else he would take his readers to next. 

I received a paperback copy of They Called Him Marvin from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.


  1. Sounds like a great book!

  2. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I am so glad you enjoyed 'They Called Him Marvin'! I seriously went through an entire box of tissue. It made me realize that I need to get some hankies to be more environmentally friendly!

  4. Thanks for taking the time to read and review TCHM, I greatly appreciate it.