World War II veteran publishes first book at age 89

By: PRLog
“John Bigelow was an American adventurer, soldier, husband and father. His story had to be told.”
PRLog - May 19, 2014 - WOODSTOCK, Ill. -- Two World War II veterans sat down and talked about life. One had an old cassette tape recorder. The other, a survivor of the Bataan Death March and nearly four years in Japanese prison camps, told his story.

What started out as a series of intimate conversations between two friends is now a richly illustrated autobiography of the late John Allen Bigelow, titled American Soldier: A Love Story.

Mr. Bigelow’s friend and brother-in-law Leonard Biedermann knew the treasure that his cassette tape held. He labored night and day for two full years, fact checking, putting the narrative in chronological order, and adding photographs and handwritten letters to tell the story of John’s extraordinary life.

Mr. Biedermann served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the war and married John’s sister afterward. “John led the life of an adventurer, a soldier, a husband and a devoted father. He was shot, tortured, starved and used for slave labor, then came home and tried to fit in. John Bigelow was an American hero, and this book is a tribute to him and all who serve in the U.S. military,” he said.

From a “Norman Rockwell” life in the small town of Lombard, Illinois just before the Great Depression, to the reality of the Bataan Death March, John’s life story is told in a humble and honest voice. His vivid account of racing against death through the jungle, his leg bleeding from enemy fire, contrasts with his nearly delirious infatuation with the beautiful Emily, who he married three times.

Mr. Biedermann, 89, and his wife Helen hope that service men and women who read this book will know they are not alone in what they suffer during war and as they struggle with re-entering civilian life. “They will see how John got through it and eventually found peace, and maybe they will, too,” he said.

American Soldier: A Love Story is available in print or Kindle version on Amazon at Or read more at

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