Two Men Who Influenced World History Grew up as Iowa Farm Boys

One man lived a clandestine life, while the other was celebrated while he was living.

Missileman

The Secret Life of Cold War Engineer Wallace Clauson

A Cold War engineer in a Mr. Rogers sweater. What a fascinating story on several levels, with roots in small-town Iowa and a terrible accident. Wallace Clauson’s intriguing story is told around his son’s buying a house and his father’s insistence on helping build a fence and a garden. The son can barely believe his father’s revelations about the important part he’d played in world events, but memories come to him that begin to make sense. And his father is dying of cancer.

Written by his son, John Clauson, Missileman includes his connections with John Atanasoff, early computers, Nuclear missiles, the Cold War, the Yom Kippur War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, secrets, Fermi, Einstein. An incredible biography.

I learned about this history through a 40-minute story on Our American Stories.

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General in Command

From Iowa Farm to Command of the Largest Combat Corps in World War II

The Life of Major General John. B. Anderson, written by his grandson, Michael M. Van Ness

From an Iowa farm to West Point Academy. From the Mexican Incursion through World War I. Rising through the ranks, commanding an infantry division and the XVI Corps in the Battle of the Bulge and crossing the Rhine. From dining at the White House with President Harding to the Army War College with Dwight Eisenhower. From lunches with Winston Churchill to Nazi camps in Poland after the war. Amazing American history, woven with many intimate letters to his wife and daughter, written by his grandson.

I first learned about this fine history from a recent cover story about General John B. Anderson in the Sept/Oct 2021 issue of Iowa History Journal.

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