Legacy of Honor

The Patriarch of the family, Sam McCormick, is part of a contingent of Ohio National Guard units called up to form the Rainbow Division. They were the first American Division sent to France when America entered World War I. He serves as an Infantryman (Doughboy) with the Rainbow Division of the American Expeditionary Force, fighting in France. He will see action in three major operations:  the Second Battle of the Marne (7-5-1918 through 8-6-1918), the Battle of Saint-Mihiel (9-12-1918 through 9-15-1918), and the Battle of the Argonne (9-26-1918 through 11-11-1918). During the War, he and his buddies will be gassed, experience horrific artillery bombardments and machine gun fire as they cross “no man’s land” repeatedly to close with the Germans and take their trenches. 

He will cross paths with General Pershing the American Expeditionary Force Commanding Officer, General Douglas MacArthur the Rainbow Division Commanding Officer, Sgt. York (most highly decorated American soldier of the War), and Colonel George Patton (the first officer to be appointed to the new US Army Tank Corps). 

Sam falls in love with Marie, a French nurse, whom he meets while recovering from his war wounds. They will marry in Paris, and she will immigrate to the United States with him. They settle down in a small Ohio town where Sam works in a steel mill as he struggles to settle back into everyday life. Sam will participate in the “Bonus Army March of 1932” in Washington DC and be drawn into the riots that ensued when the WWI veterans refused to leave their shantytown encampments.

Sam will rise to a senior position in the Steel Industry and be drawn into the Little Steel Strikes of 1937. On Sunday, May 30, 1937, he will witness the Memorial Day Massacre at the Ohio-based Republic Steel mill located in Chicago’s Southeast Side. He will then be drawn into a violent strike at his own Steel Mill immediately following the massacre. During the Great Depression, he will maintain his job at the steel mill and become a valued member of the community as he helps other families as they struggle with their daily existence. Nightmares resulting from his WW I experience will haunt him, while lung issues from being gassed and digestive issues from poor food, sanitary conditions and tainted water will plague him the rest of his life.


The Patriarch - Book One

This book plunged me into WWI...

This book plunged me into WWI – the filthy conditions, the never-ending danger, the courageous, young fighters, the strongly bonded friendships – and the daily realities of war. But what stuck with me was the reception by the community and the government itself toward those who managed to return home alive. I learned a lot through this book about what these men and women endured on both arenas. Larry puts you in the action – you can smell the filthy trenches, your lungs burn from the gas, you are ducking to avoid being shot. And oh! How he can create a bad guy! And a sweet love story. I really liked the book and am looking forward to the next two in the trilogy.

Kathy Cretney

Freeland’s aim is for his trilogy to explore how this country treats its warriors and veterans during and after our wars. With Book One, The Patriarch, he’s off to a good start...

Larry Freeland’s new novel, The Patriarch (Publish Authority, 390 pp. $16.95, paper; $7.99 e book), is the first volume of Legacy of Honor, a proposed trilogy. The three books will contain the military experiences of Sam McCormick in the Great War, his son in World War II, and his grandsons in subsequent actions, including the Vietnam War.

Freeland served in Vietnam with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division as an officer and CH-47 helicopter pilot. His previous book, Chariots in the Sky, is a riveting look at air combat during the Vietnam War.

The Patriarch begins in early August 1918. Sgt. McCormick is in trench in Europe getting ready to lead his men over the top and engage Germans at the other end of a 300-yard killing field. As he and his men advance through no man’s land, McCormick says, “I’m in Dante’s seventh circle of hell: violence.” McCormick’s troops are frequently shelled; they suffer a “truly terrifying” gas attack; and McCormick is wounded. While recovering in a field hospital McCormick falls in love at first sight with a French nurse.

Freeland does a good job painting the picture as we move from scene to scene. One example is the excellent transition McCormick goes through starting with a flirtation in the hospital, a few days of recuperation with baths and a clean uniform, a truck ride back to his unit, and then: “Jumping from the back of our truck, I land in mud almost up to the top of my trench boots.” Freeland takes us immediately back to the front and all that entails.

We follow McCormick’s story until the war ends. He survives, comes home, has difficulty finding work, and then struggles during the Great Depression. The book ends with McCormick’s son entering the military after Pearl Harbor.

Freeland writes in nearly encyclopedic fashion as he includes background information about the World War I trenches, the history of the nursing corps, the big increase of cigarette use among American military personnel, the history of “Reveille,” and the meaning of “buying the farm,” among many other things. He also takes the reader on a 30,000-foot overview of a battle about to take place before dropping us down into the action.

Freeland’s aim is for his trilogy to explore how this country treats its warriors and veterans during and after our wars. With Book One, The Patriarch, he’s off to a good start.

Bill McCloud—Vietnam Veterans of America-Books in Review II

Where History and Fiction Merge...

“An incredible piece of historical fiction centered on Sam… a soldier, a Company First Sergeant, and finally a WW1 vet who returns to an America that does little to support those who bravely fought on its behalf. Larry has created a riveting storyline with well-developed characters that traverse the war and the historical years beyond.”

F. Michele Jones, retired teacher of creative writing

This story seized my range of emotions...

Vivid descriptions of the horrors of World War I trench war fare combined with a tender love story seized my range of emotions! The Patriarch weaves a story of one man’s indomitable spirit, leadership, and courage as a compelling introduction to the saga of the McCormick family. Can’t wait to read how this family deals with the trials and tribulations of the twentieth century.

Shawn Ireland

A Worthy Read...

The reader begins on the war front, experiencing the horrors of the fight as if in the bunkers himself. Eventually, he learns the hardships of transitioning to his ‘new normal’ life back home, after surviving the travesty of his war experience. An emotional and intellectual journey.

Alan Zubay

Exceptional Story on Amazingly Accurate Pivotal Events From Our Past...

If the first book in the trilogy, Legacy of Honor by Larry Freeland is an accurate indicator, this series should be read by everyone. The descriptions of fighting in the trenches and the struggles of the soldiers in World War I is amazingly accurate. Almost nothing is overlooked with cars, baseball, steel mills, strikes and the bonus army.  This journey into the key events of the early 20th century through the eyes of Sam’s family and friends is very moving and makes the history come alive to many who may have previously only read the dry historic accounts of so many pivotal events from our past.

Regina Loveridge

Exciting and Historically Accurate Tale of War and Romance...

Freeland weaves together an exciting, action packed, and historically accurate tale of war and romance during and after World War 1.

James Harvey, author of Grayton Beach Affair

Captivating and Realistic WW I experiences...

A captivating realistic story of one man’s World War I experiences both on the battlefield and postwar; a powerful account of the strength, hope and love that triumphs over the many obstacles soldiers and veterans endure.

Paulette J. Brown

A Masterful Story...

Once again, Larry Freeland tells a masterful story. Anxiously awaiting to read books two and three of “Legacy of Honor” trilogy.

L. Miller

Unforgettable Story...

Crawl through the trenches of France with American infantrymen and experience the horrendous brutality of WWI warfare … reminiscent of the carnage in Civil War battle scenes in The Red Badge of Courage. Then follow the “doughboys” as they assimilate back into American society, often with heartbreaking and unforgettable outcomes.

Jameson Gregg, Gold Medal winner, IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award "Georgia Author of the Year"


You can order the book at your favorite local bookstore, or online and in real-world bookstores worldwide.

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