On June 19th, 2017, The Institute of World Politics hosted Ambassador Frank Lavin, founder and CEO of Export Now, for a guest lecture titled “World War II Book Talk: Homefront to Battlefront.” Amb. Frank Lavin served as a U.S. ambassador to Singapore, an Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, and was a White House aide for several years. Amb. Lavin is the son of Carl Lavin, who fought in World War II. The book, Homefront to Battlefront: An Ohio Teenager in World War II, is the story of his father’s personal take on the complex world of combat he was thrust into when he was only in his teens. The narrative of the story is supported through Carl’s personal correspondence with the family, official military history, and private papers.
The book covers two major episodes of Carl Lavin’s life in the US army. The story begins with Carl Lavin being stationed in the U.S. and follows his deployment to the front in Belgium. The pivotal moment of the book takes place during the climax of World War II, at the Battle of the Bulge. This crucial battle started on December 17, 1944 and lasted for over a month, ending with an allied victory on January 25, 1945. The stakes of the battle were high because Hitler and his forces sprung a surprise attack on the allies in a final, desperate attempt to force allied troops out of Antwerp and win the war. This battle is the single largest in U.S. military history, with around one million troops deployed. Even though victory was achieved, the battle took its toll on the U.S. army, with around 20,000 men killed and around 23,000 captured.
The book is an inspiring tale and a somber reminder that many of the U.S. soldiers in WWII were only teenagers, thrust into the unknown and dangerous world of combat, with little preparation on how to process such an experience. It is important to hear their stories and through younger generations, the tales of our forebears, who fought for us to live life in peace and enjoy freedom. The book from Amb. Frank Lavin provides insight on the most important battle of its kind. Home Front to Battle Front: An Ohio Teenager in WW II is available for purchase at selected bookstores.