W.E.B. Griffin's America
William Butterworth III, better known as W.E.B. Griffin, is a legendary author from the Greatest Generation. He misses the time when issues were not decided by political correctness but for the good of national security. His novels, although fictional, are based on facts and people that he considers true heroes, from the police, military, and intelligence institutions. American Thinker had the privilege of interviewing him.
While serving in Germany shortly after World War II ended, he earned the Army of Occupation Medal. Enlisting in the Army in October 1946, Griffin became what he refers to as “General Bill White Jr.’s errand boy.” The books reflect his experiences of serving with men such as General White, William E. Colby, and Maxwell Taylor. Considering himself privileged to be around all those interesting and brilliant people, he was able to be “a fly on the wall for the commanding general of Allied land forces in Europe. I heard a lot. I was just lucky to be around the command center as it was getting off the ground. I knew a lot of people involved in the military and clandestine service and admired them all. As an Army sergeant I was given top-secret clearance since part of my duties was to read all memos before General White, and to determine what was important, what was not, as well as to decide what he should see first and last. My own military background is wholly undistinguished. I was a sergeant. What happened was that I was incredibly lucky in getting to be around some truly distinguished senior officers, sergeants, and spooks.”
Griffin emphasizes the point by describing how he was present when Bobby Williams, General White’s aviation officer, drew up a plan for the Army to get its own air force. Explaining that he had typed the communications, Griffin saw “that part of the Army take off. Like most kids I was curious as hell and fascinated with what I was hearing. It was an exciting and fun time that I try to convey within the plots in my books.”
Even though he is not politically correct, Griffin does not care. “I am really outraged how people have changed. Look at General Petraeus; whatever happened to duty and country? The person he had an affair with was a West Pointer. Can you believe he still has a security clearance? Why? I think he has pretty much demonstrated the security clearance should have been taken away. Then there is Hillary Clinton giving the Russians the reset button and misspelling it. These two people should have known better. I still remember what was told to me by General White when I left Korea, ‘You guys have a greater right to speak up about this country, more than anybody else.’ He meant of course as veterans. I took him literally and have opened my mouth ever since. I want to write about true American heroes.”
In his latest novel, written with his son, he examines heroes of the past. The second adventure in the new “Clandestine Operations" series, is about the origins of the CIA and the Cold War. Griffin’s admiration for those in the armed services and intelligence community can be summed up within the dedication of The Assassination Option: besides listing those who served, it ends with “Our nation owes these patriots a debt beyond repayment.”
The plot of his current book, The Assassination Option, includes some of Griffin’s learned lessons. His son noted, “The book characters are based on compilations of actual people my dad knew. This series shadows history and shows how it repeats itself. Look how the Russians are once again on the march and Putin is attempting to re-create the Russian empire. He is smart, dangerous, and has the mentality of the old KGB. There were strange bedfellows considering shortly after the war -- many Nazis worked for the new-found established intelligence community.”
Griffin hopes readers will understand how “the Nazis were nasty people and after they lost the war no one ever admitted to being one. They were all guilty; yet denied it. However, we needed these guys who had information and ways of getting it that we did not have. For example, they knew who the Russians spies were in the atomic program before we did. The point of the book is to show how we needed to watch out for both the Germans and the Russians. Both were as dangerous as hell. It became clear that the day WWII ended the Cold War began and that we had to be wary of the Russians. The prologue goes into the back history because it is my belief that to better understand the story and the characters there is a need to understand the political situation.”
As with his other series, he writes about those who are willing to pay the ultimate price for their fellow Americans. The police “Badge of Honor" series is written in the same style as the military and clandestine service books. He told American Thinker, “The cop on the beat, the one protecting our society is the one I really admire. I thought about how close the police and the military are, not only in organization, but, more importantly, in their dedication to duty, their sense of honor, their willingness to lay their lives on the line, day after day, to protect society.”
All of Griffin’s books combine history with fiction, creating a superb, suspenseful, gripping, and informative novel. Although the authors consider themselves storytellers their books are much more as they weave historical information throughout their plots. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction and a military thriller will not want to pass this book up.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.