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"I hope that I can make a good leader. Now is when it counts."
— 2nd Lt. Ralph L. Minker, July 9, 1944.

Twenty-year-old pilot Ralph Lee Minker commands his B-17 flying 37 missions through bad weather, flak, and Luftwaffe fighters. At home in Wilmington, DE his parents and teenage sisters anxiously await news while coping with rationing and race riots – captured forever in the extraordinary collection of more than 800 letters. The family saved every letter their airman wrote between February 1943 and August 1945; the young pilot shipped the family letters home from each training base and then from combat with the Eighth Air Force in England. Their story is the living history of our nation at war.

Meet the Family

Meet the Family
Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

A family conversation based on the 800 letters exchanged by a B-17 pilot, his two sisters and parents during WWII.

Reader Reviews

An American Family in War II … is a great and compelling read. There is no better way to step back into the time and bring it to life, with all the hopes and fears and love between family members right there on the page.

— Senator Bob Dole

Every aspect of this book is outstanding. The editors' exceptional knowledge of the time period lends the book a great deal of credibility.

— Writer's Digest

This volume is a rare piece of American history... the words hold validity for America and the free world today.

— Eighth Air Force News

Every family with a loved one now serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, or in training for such duty, will recognize the emotion in the lines the Minkers wrote to each other.

— Wilmington News Journal