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Gerald Gillis

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Gerald Gillis, USMC, is “a native of Atlanta, GA, married and the father of three grown children. He is a graduate of the Univ. of Tampa (MBA) and the Univ. of Georgia (BBA). After college, he served for three years as an artillery officer in the Marine Corps, with duty stations in the U.S. and Okinawa/mainland Japan. He then worked as an executive in the medical-devices industry where he later traveled extensively, both foreign and domestic. He became a full-time novelist in 2009. Shall Never See So Much is my second novel. His first novel was published twenty-five years ago, and did reasonably well, but he decided that his business career would better accommodate educating my kids and paying the mortgage than a career as a neophyte novelist. Hence, his writing career has resumed after a bit of a hiatus. Gerald Gillis is a member of the American Legion and several Marine Corps-related associations. Gerald Gillis is the author of Shall Never See So Much and Dare Not Blink.

According to the book description of Dare Not Blink, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer... The Old Man is dead. Langdon Elerbee—the chairman and founder of Elerbee Engineering—has been struck down by cancer, and the multi-million dollar company that bears his name has devolved into clandestine corporate infighting. The company president, Jeff Wylie, has kept the old man’s illness a secret, so no one but Wylie is prepared to exploit the power vacuum created by Elerbee’s death. Now, Wylie is quietly pulling strings and making backdoor deals to consolidate his own position at the top of the pyramid. Dave Paige is a young gun. A regional vice president at age forty-two, he’s one of the company’s rising stars. He believes in playing the game the way that Elerbee himself had played it: with loyalty, integrity, and a personal devotion to excellence. He suddenly finds himself going head-to-head with corporate backstabbers who will pull every dirty trick in the book to achieve their own short-sighted goals. Dave isn’t just fighting for his job, or the millions of dollars at stake, or even for the company he has grown to love. He’s fighting for the soul of corporate America, and no one is guarding his back.

According to the description of Shall Never See So Much (released in March, 2010), it “is an historical novel about a brother and sister in the year 1968. The brother is a Marine officer serving in Vietnam at the time of the Tet offensive, and the sister works on the campaign of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy as RFK makes his ill-fated bid for the presidency. It is a story about courage and sacrifice, and the affects of those times on what could be considered a typical American family. It is not so much a war novel as it is about a time in history when the nation was at war, sometimes even with itself. It was recently awarded a Readers Favorite award for its historical fiction category.”

One reader of Shall Never See So Much said, “The author does an excellent job at weaving two compelling stories together in such a way as to make it seem as one, while holding the readers interest as you await in suspense the next chapter for both. The specific detail and accuracy so cleaverly captured by the author, surrounding this particular time, arouse deep rooted emotions for those of us who lived through this extremely difficult era in our history that affected so many individuals and families, pitting fathers against sons and brothers against sisters.

Set at a time when the country was torn apart by two wars, foreign and domestic, the author creates a very vivid image of both for the reader of detailing exactly what was happening socially and politically and what each character was feeling, dealing with, and going through as they battled with strong convictions and emotions that seperated us.  The author draws you into the characters and makes you feel such a part of the times, even if you were not there.  An excellent and very well written story line with surprises up to the end that makes you want to come back for more. A must read!!

One reader of Shall Never See So Much said, Shall Never See So Much" is the story of siblings a world apart. The siblings were estranged. Their lives were very different, as was their political philosophies. The setting is 1968. The US was at war in Vietnam. The times were turbulent.  First Lieutenant Tom Flanagan was a 24 year old Marine, serving in the dark, sweltering jungles of Vietnam.  Kate Flanagan was on the staff of Robert F. Kennedy, as he makes a bid for the office of President.

Gerald Gillis draws readers into the lives of the siblings. While both are different, I came to care for each of them. He transports readers back in time. I remember watching the riots on TV, hearing the death tolls. I remember the draft lottery and the fear in the eyes of those drafted. Families were torn apart by the war. Gillis brings the era back to life. He successfully conveys the atmosphere, the conflicting emotions and the politics. Whether you were part of the era, or not, you will feel as though the events are unfolding before you.”

One reader of Shall Never See So Much said, “Gerald Gillis has written a fast-paced historical novel which is set in the year 1968. His brother-and-sister main characters, Tom and Kate Flanagan, are Chicago natives who find themselves worlds apart. Tom is a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant serving in Vietnam, while Kate opposes the war and in fact signs on with Robert F. Kennedy's staff. The two main characters are compelling and strong, and are augmented with several secondary characters who add depth and layers to the story.

The story evolves with Tom and his Marines fighting for their lives in Vietnam battles such as Hue City and the Ashau Valley. On the other hand, Kate works on getting RFK elected through the series of primaries that Kennedy enters on his way to the anticipated nomination. The brother and sister are at odds over the war, which strains their relationship to the point of breaking. The entire Flanagan family feels the anxiety of the nation's, and their own, rift over the war.

Gillis' writing style is straightforward and highly effective, and his descriptions of battle scenes are especially gripping and powerful. He has no ideological ax to grind over Vietnam, but instead paints a realistic picture of an American family caught in the middle of a time of major turmoil and disarray. The reader can certainly feel the heart-pounding tension when Lt. Flanagan and his fellow Marines are under fire. Gillis' imaginative use of historical figures such as Robert Kennedy adds context and illumination to the story, while at the same time providing a glimpse into what was clearly an extraordinary time. Each of the two main characters has a love interest in the background, yet not so dominant as to become intrusive.

This is a terrific read for someone who has an interest in history, and especially the period of the late-Sixties. While the book deals with the war in Vietnam, it is not merely a war novel. Gillis blends the political portion nicely to give the story an excellent balance. In the end, it is a story that will be remembered. Gerald Gillis is a writer of exceptional promise, and this is a book well worth the price.”

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