An article BC alumnus John Smolens read about World War II prisoner-of-war camps in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula planted the seed for his latest novel, Wolf’s Mouth (Michigan State University Press, 2016) . “Like most Americans, I didn’t have a clue that there were POW camps in the states at all,” he told the Lansing State Journal. Wolf’s Mouth tells the story of Italian officer Captain Francesco Verdi, who is captured in 1944 by Allied forces in North Africa and shipped to a POW camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His life threatened, Verdi escapes from the camp and meets up with an American woman who helps him elude capture. By 1956 they have become Frank and Claire Green, a young married couple building a new life in postwar Detroit. But when he is tracked down, Frank is faced with hard choices as he strives to escape the ghosts of history. Smolens’ other novels include The Anarchist, The Schoolmaster’s Daughter and The Invisible World. He is a retired professor from Northern Michigan University. Read more.
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