Eighteen years ago today, my brothers, my children, and I lost our hero, our dad and grandfather. We all miss him like crazy. Most of the world didn’t know he was one of our country’s most decorated front-line officers and heroes in WWII. And the book about that will be out in April 2022.
Philip B. Larimore, Jr
Long-time readers of this blog know that for most of the last decade and a half, but especially the last seven years, I’ve been researching and working on a book about dads’ exploits before, during, and just after WWII. It will finally see the light of day.
At First Light: A True World War II Story of a Hero, His Bravery, and an Amazing Horse will be released by Knox Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster in hardcover starting April 19, 2022.
I’m not only excited that his story will be told, but that it’s a book that will prayerfully revive our country’s dimming memory of the “forgotten” southern front in the European Theater of WWII and also honor the men with whom Dad fought.
Here are just a few of the early endorsements for the book:
“This story is extraordinary: an almost forgotten hero, tough combat, tragic sacrifice, gripping aftermath, a marvelous horse, and an astonishing ending. Don’t miss reading this remarkable book. At First Light is a way for you to join me in remembering and honoring the story of our World War II heroes, those selfless Americans who put it all on the line downrange, day after difficult day, in crushing heat and numbing cold, in the toughest conditions, against the most challenging, resilient, often barbaric enemy to liberate Europe and to help safeguard our freedom and liberty here at home.”
—Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.) four-star general, former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan
“As a graduate of West Point, an Army officer for five years, and the head men’s basketball coach at my alma mater and at Duke for the past forty-six seasons, I’ve been blessed to be a part of great teams. I recognize the commitment and discipline required to win at the highest level. These experiences leave me in awe of Phil Larimore and his servant leadership, sensational suffering, and stoic sacrifice. What a fantastic story about a leader whose courage on the battlefield deserves a standing ovation. I highly recommend At First Light.”
—Mike Krzyzewski, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Duke University and Naismith Hall of Fame member
“I have been fighting our nation’s battles for most of my life, and that’s what made At First Light such an absorbing read for me. Walt Larimore’s meticulous research brings his father back to life and personally speaks combat fortitude, unimaginable courage, and front-line action into me. This story is one you cannot afford to miss.”
—Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, U.S. Army (Ret.) four-star general and former Battalion Commander in the 82ndAirborne Division (the first woman in U.S. military history to hold this rank and command)
“I’m the author of fifteen novels set in World War II, so I’m always drawn to a great story from a fascinating time in history. At First Light does not disappoint. The pages turned quickly in this compelling story about a brave man, Philip Larimore.”
—Tricia Goyer, author of Dawn of a Thousand Nights and Songbird Under a German Moon
“It’s said that 2nd lieutenants in World War II had one of the shortest lifespans of anyone entering combat. And no wonder: They could not cower in a foxhole waiting for someone else to lead the way, to get up and walk into enemy fire. No matter how exhausted or frightened they were, they could not shirk their duty of being an example for their men (boys, really). Usually only in their early-to mid-twenties, they shouldered responsibilities that would have overwhelmed older men. The combat experiences of Phil Larimore, as captured by his son in this terrific and inspirational book, are a testament to the grit and fortitude of a generation who really knew the meaning of duty and personal sacrifice for the greater good.”
—Flint Whitlock, former U.S. Army captain and editor of WWII Quarterly magazine
“I spent the majority of my life fighting battles on the football field—thirty years in the National Football League, nine Super Bowls, and legendary classics like the famous ‘Ice Bowl.’ I’ve told my ‘war stories’ from the NFL for years, but none of my tales come close to the captivating story shared by Walt Larimore in At First Light, a war story about his father who fought to protect the very freedoms you and I enjoy in this country we love.”
—Dan Reeves, Super Bowl Champion and record-setting NFL player and coach
“At First Light is one of the most fascinating stories of World War II I have ever read. If you love history like I do, this book is a must read. Near the end of the war, a courageous young US Army officer, Phil Larimore, is given an almost impossible clandestine mission—to find Hitler’s hidden Lipizzaners so they can be saved. Don’t miss this heartwarming true story of a great American hero.”
—Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, U.S. Army (Ret.) three-star general, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush, and former Commander Delta Force and U.S. Army Special Operations Command
“As the son and nephew of several World War II veterans, I never grow tired of reading about their heroics. The story of Phil Larimore is the most compelling and riveting of them all. At a time when we need real heroes more than ever, this story should inspire, bless, and encourage every American.”
—Cal Thomas, nationally syndicated columnist
“At First Light is an amazing story of a remarkable young infantry officer. Phil Larimore embodies all the attributes we associate with “Duty, Honor, Country.” I was extremely impressed that such a young officer commanded with bravery and courage beyond his years. Phil Larimore’s courageousness is only surpassed by his extraordinary selflessness and concern for his troops. This book is a must read so that we never forget the sacrifices of this greatest generation.”
—Gen. Gary Luck, U.S. Army (Ret.) four-star general and former Commander of CFC/UNC/USFK in South Korea (1993-1996)
“The children of America’s wounded warriors share a special bond. We know firsthand what that red stripe in Old Glory means and respect every bloodstained story of valor behind it. Whether or not you come from a patriotic home, Walt Larimore’s masterful and moving account of his father’s sacrifice in World War II will make you proud to be an American.”
—Tara McClary Reeves, daughter of Vietnam War hero Clebe McClary and author of Is Your Dad a Pirate?
“I teach writers that readers love to be entertained and educated, but that they never forget when they’ve been emotionally moved. Walt Larimore’s true tale of his own father’s exploits in World War II scores in spades on all three counts. Exhaustive without being exhausting, At First Light may just keep you up till first light.”
—Jerry B. Jenkins, twenty-one-time New York Times best-selling novelist and biographer and founder of the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild
“I love World War II books, and none is better than At First Light. It’s like a combination of Band of Brothers and War Horse—or perhaps a mixture of Unbroken and Seabiscuit. A mesmerizing page-turner not to be missed.”
—Pat Williams, co-founder of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and former general manager of NBA teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, and the 1983 World Champion Philadelphia 76ers
“A great story about a great soldier and leader. Phil Larimore was a Dick Winters from the Band of Brothers-type of frontline, small-unit combat leader, the kind who make all the difference as to who wins or loses and who lives or dies in war. The storyline with the horses and the twists and turns of his love life and military career adds to the compelling narrative. At First Light has the makings of a great movie or Ken Burns miniseries. My bet is that Phil’s son and the book author, Walt Larimore, will be besieged by offers.”
—Col. Alexander P. Shine, U.S. Army, Infantry (Ret.), Masters in U.S. History from Harvard, Professor of Military Science and National Security Strategy at the Army War College
“Intelligently written and descriptively rich, At First Light is tailor-made for anyone who cherishes powerful World War II stories.”
—Marcus Brotherton, New York Times best-selling author of We Who Are Alive and Remain and Blaze of Light
“Call my agent! At First Light needs to be greenlighted for a multi-episodic film series today. I loved reading about Philip Larimore’s personal journey before, during and after World War II. While being a compelling and enjoyable story, the book doesn’t hold back on the gruesome realities of war and left me grateful for the young soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
—Gerry Gacek, singer/songwriter and screenwriter