Threads of The War: Teaching history through personal engagement with true events – Interview with author Jeremy Strozer

Interviews, WW2

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos submitted by Jeremy Strozer and used with permission

World War 2 has been described as the largest ever conflict humankind has experienced. As the years go by, memories fade, new conflicts and asymmetrical threats are currently on the headlines and the younger generations are losing touch with what has happened on the battlefields and beyond, over 7 decades before our time.

Author Jeremy Strozer decided to write a series of short stories, which tell the events of WW2 from a personal perspective of persons directly or indirectly involved with the events that unfolded during wartime.

www.ww2wrecks.com has reached out to Jeremy Strozer, to learn more about his books and share with a wider audience his views on WW2. His books may be downloaded free of charge.

Tell us about your books and yourself.

Threads of The War, Volumes 1-4, is a series of truth-based short stories told from personal perspectives of individuals experiencing what I call The 20th Century’s War.

Poster

I come from the foreign policy community with a background in story telling and improvisational acting. By combining these three areas of passion in my life, I attempt to take on the character, tell the story from his/her perspective, and then teach a little history, hoping to influence future leaders through the appreciation that war is a very human experience. Originally from California, I came to Washington, D.C. to help change the world. I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in my career, living abroad for some long stretches, and learning a lot about war in the process.

Jeremy Strozer with his son Joshua
Jeremy Strozer with his son Joshua

Why did you choose to present WW2 through first-hand account stories, based on true facts?

The The 20th Century’s War is based between 1898 through to 2017, and is heavily influenced by WW2. Each story takes about fifteen minutes to read, during which time you get to see about five minutes of someone’s life in which war changed them. Following each story is a short narrative of the true background from the event the reader just witnessed. In this way, each reader can go through the event with the main character, knowing everything the character knows at that time, and learning with them. Then, the reader will understand the event in greater context, learning a little history along the way.

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The reason I write this way is to teach history through personal engagement with true events. I feel story telling – putting someone in the moment – is the best way to understand historical events. Telling these personal moments from an individual perspective, even one of fiction since I can’t interview most of the people alive before 1950, the reader is able to have an emotional connection with that history and that person.

I chose to present WW2 through true stories because I want readers to walk away from each story thinking: that could be me. I identify with the character. What would I have done in that situation?

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Self-questioning is one of the most powerful ways in which to learn.

Here is a short audio snippet from my story Imperial, from Volume 1:

https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-strozer/threads-of-the-war-audio-sample

What is the message you would want to deliver to your readers?

I want every future decision maker to understand when (s)he orders military action, it is people – many more civilians than military – who are touched by that order. As the father of an enthusiastic son and daughter, I want them to grow up. As they grow, I wish they could contribute to a world in which they do not have to suffer through experiencing war, helping others escape the same ordeal.

This picture says it all for me.

This is a Vietnamese Army Officer with whom I used to work. He and I toured a schoolhouse in central Vietnam together. On the chalkboard of this destroyed building was written: May out friendship last forever. War is human.
This is a Vietnamese Army Officer with whom I used to work. He and I toured a schoolhouse in central Vietnam together. On the chalkboard of this destroyed building was written: May out friendship last forever. War is human.

How relevant are the lessons learned from WW2 today?

Everything we hear about in the news today, everything we read in the papers, everything in our Twitter and Facebook feeds is related to The 20th Century’s War, which included WW2. The decisions now being made in capitals throughout the world, and by people currently experiencing war as refugees, civilians, military personnel, funders of aid organizations, brothers, sisters, cousins, or long-lost relatives of those suffering today owe that experience to events in WW2 and The 20th Century’s War in general. We cannot escape the influence of history. Therefore, may we at least learn the lessons of history to compel the world toward Peace.

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Next projects in line?

I just published Threads of The War, Volume IV. After a short break, I’ll be tackling the more than 2,000 remaining stories in my collection to be written. This should provide enough material for approximately 100 more books in the series. Considering I acquire new stories every day, I could write for the rest of my life and not be done creating the tapestry of human history in The 20th Century’s War. I am reaching out to schools to bring these short stories into the classroom. I’m also preparing a TedX talk on this writing, and hoping to deliver that in the coming year. Ideally, I’d like to turn these into podcasts, so I can share them with an audio, as well as reading, audience.

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You can download all four volumes in the Threads of The War series free, stay in touch with the author Jeremy Strozer and learn about future projects here: www.jeremystrozer.com