Blue Water Red Blood

Blue Water Cover frontLake Okeechobee is half a world away from the Pacific Islands, but DL Havlin’s new historical novel, “Blue Water, Red Blood,” chronicles their surprising connection.

The Pine Island writer weaves a tale that begins with Florida’s devastating 1928 hurricane, which killed thousands around Belle Glade and the Everglades, and ends with victory in World War II.

Though it’s a work of fiction, in that Havlin creates interior lives and conversations for his characters, the events in the book are based firmly on the real-life history of the development of amphibious warfare tactics used by the U.S. Marines in World War II and the men who made them reality.

Three very different men with very different motives play a part in the development and adoption of the armored landing vehicle that made the invasions of the Pacific islands possible, Havlin says.

Roebling with LVT in Lakeland, FL

Roebling with LVT in Lakeland, FL

Welding together the lives of Donald Roebling, inventor of a hurricane rescue vehicle, Andrew Higgins, a boat manufacturer, and Gen. Holland Smith, considered the father of modern amphibious warfare, the trio fight Navy skepticism and government bureaucracy to prevent the slaughter of troops while attempting the most dangerous of all military maneuvers: landing on a fortified enemy beach, he says.

The $21.95 book, which was released November 1 by Pennsylvania-based Double Edge Press, has already won the Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers’ Association.

“There’s lots of local history,” says Havlin, who’s also a boat captain and fishing guide. “It all really starts with the 1928 hurricane on Okeechobee.”

Following the storm, Florida magnate John Roebling, whose father built the Brooklyn Bridge, sent a party of his employees to help with the rescue effort, but his crew’s attempts to reach victims were frustrated by the flooded, mucky landscape.

Roebling challenged his inventive, eccentric 23-year-old son, Don, to develop a rescue vehicle that will “go anywhere under any conditions.” Don accepted, and the amphibious tractor eventually nickamed “the Alligator” was born.

Price: $21.95
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Available as EBook  or purchase from your local bookstore. Book ordered through Double Edge Press can be signed by the author at your request.

Top Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars – A (semi-fictional) history of the creation and adoption of two of the iconic landing vessels used in WW2. A “must” read!
By David Ecale on February 9, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a (semi-fictional) tale of the creation of the AMTRAKs and the Higgins Boats. It was these two boats that were used in the beach landings in the Pacific and European Theaters. Without the true devotion of both their creators and some true believers in the US Marine Corps (including Gen “Howlin’ Mad” Smith), many more lives would have been lost during WW2.
5.0 out of 5 stars – Fact and Fiction Combine to Tell a Compelling and Intriguing Story!! Great Read.
By G.W. Pomichter on August 19, 2016
Format: Paperback
DL Havlin’s Blue Water Red Blood is where fact and fiction fuse to create one of the best historical fiction novels about the creation of two of WWII’s iconic Pacific landing craft.

“As early as 1919, Marine General “Howling Mad” Holland Smith knew the US would likely be involved in another World War against Japan,” Havlin described. What followed was a harrowing journey rife with personal and professional challenges as Holland and rescue boat designer Don Roebling, himself the son of a famous father who built the Brooklyn Bridge, work to create a World War II staple of amphibious warfare.

Author DL Havlin said, “Holland feared that it was only a matter of time.” When he began his quest. The Marine General turned his attention to the Pacific islands as the most logical theatre of war.

This book is presented like a fly on the wall as Holland ponders, “How Marines could possibly land troops and keep them alive long enough to fight?”

Havlin simultaneously peeks at the events of the 1928, Okeechobee Hurricane that struck Florida, and how Don Roebling was determined to invent a rescue boat that can conquer the swamps, the flooding, and the debris to save lives. The partnership that followed became history and the creation of what would soon be known as the AMTRAKs and Higgins Boats would change the course of not only the war but the world.

Blue Water Red Blood is the poignant story of how, together these two Americans faced and conquered red tape, engineering obstacles, corruption and personal trials to train and equip the US Marines for their greatest challenges.

Havlins semi-fact, semi-fiction compilation is an insightful glimpse at what it takes to prepare for calamity and victory amidst a world still rejoicing at the end of the war to end all wars. Havlin explores the American spirit and the drive that has to many become synonymous with the nation’s greatest generation.