Originally published in 1989 as Long Journey to the Rose Garden, this is the inspiring true story of John Tursi, an impoverished Depression-era kid from Brooklyn whose life is transformed when he joins the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Stationed at Deception Pass State Park, in Washington State, he falls in love with the Pacific Northwest, and with a girl in the nearby town of Anacortes. The two set about building a life together—until World War II breaks out. John is vilified as an Italian-American, but he joins the U.S. Army and, with the 342nd Engineers, lands in France three days after D-Day. Over the next year, he dodges bullets behind enemy lines, gets caught up in the Battle of the Bulge, and becomes unwittingly involved in black-market operations run by an aristocratic Belgian seductress. When he returns home, he becomes a professional engineer, local philanthropist and community volunteer, whose efforts are recognized by the Reagan White House.This is a classic account of a poor American kid pulling himself up by the bootstraps—and succeeding beyond his wildest dreams.
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