Receiving Bronze Star March 5, 1945
Receiving Bronze Star from General Albert C. Smith – March 5, 1945
Photographer Sidney Blau, 163rd Signal Photo Company
Courtesy of the National Archives

“The integrity and realism of these true stories expressed so beautifully through letters is better than any made up novel could possibly be. I grew to admire your father immensely for his honesty, bravery, dedication to duty,  simplicity, intelligence, and humility. The juxtaposition of his personal journal with his letters, and with the Unit’s History was an idea of genius. Thank you for writing such an important picture of a very important time. Thank you also for sharing the extraordinary character of your father and his lovely family with all of  the world. I appreciate your great effort in writing this outstanding book. I will recommend it to all of my fellow readers. – Mary Ann G.

“Disregarding the piercing pain of the shrapnel imbedded in his arm, the rain of gunfire and mortars, and the deafening sounds and pungent smells of battle, Richard Berkey tended to what fellow soldiers he could, while dragging other wounded men off the battlefield. He later logged in his journal about that morning in Germany in 1945, “Why I wasn’t killed during that hour or so I do not know.” Nor does the spellbound reader. Waiting for Peace is a walk in the footsteps of Richard Berkey, beginning as a pre-med student at Indiana University and ending as a war-hardened soldier who finds his way home and into the arms of his small town Indiana family. Berkey, an infantry medic, faithfully documents the experiences in between, carrying the reader along his World War II journey through Germany and France. Author Karen Berkey Huntsberger has skillfully compiled a complete record of Berkey’s wartime experience. The author allows Berkey’s journal and letters to and from home tell the story, making the work both engaging and accessible. Yet, Waiting for Peace demonstrates true scholarship, exhibited in a bibliography which boasts extensive historical research. Berkey’s accounts are validated by military maps, unit rosters, morning reports, and other official documents. Huntsberger weaves both versions into the chronology, paralleling Berkey’s journals and letters with the army’s historical records. Richard Berkey’s experience as a battlefield medic makes Waiting for Peace a unique World War II story. Expertly supplemented by descriptive footnotes and fabulous photos, this soldier’s story gives the reader a glimpse of army life from an infantry medic’s perspective. Having experienced fear, wonder, loneliness, and grit alongside him every step of the way, the only issue with Waiting for Peace is that Berkey’s story must end. Yet, his voice, his emotions, and his battle weary boots stay with the reader far beyond his last words.” – Elizabeth Terry, Author of Oysters to Angus: Three Generations of the St. Louis Faust Family and Ethnic St. Louis.

Medic
Outside Moosburg, Germany where the 14th Armored Division liberated the prisoner of war camp, Stalag VIIA
Courtesy Norman Eliasson

 

“The author has crafted a very compelling narrative about her Indiana family’s experiences during World War II. From the first pages, a frantic mother’s fears, with a daughter and three sons soon to be at war, foreshadow the cataclysm that will soon engulf the world. The book weaves together, in chronological order, the letters to and from the home front, the wartime diaries of her father, decorated combat medic, Pvt. Richard J. Berkey, and the unit history from official reports of the 68th Armored Infantry Battalion, 14th Armored Division. The reader is guided through the battlefields of France and Germany by Pvt. Berkey’s first-hand accounts, whether he is courageously aiding the wounded or stopping to admire a beautiful sunset over the mountains. A wonderfully personal story of a tight knit family and their circle of friends during the tragedies and triumphs of World War II. Karen Berkey Huntsberger has done a remarkable service by bringing her father’s diary to light.” – Robert B.

“This book is full of heart. The story of Richard Berkey, his family and friends unfolds in a page-turning saga of life in the dark days of World War II. The steady, understated unfolding of the story draws the reader in and fascinates in the telling of how one man’s story lies across the larger arc of history. This tale is told nearly entirely from family correspondence preserved in boxes that slept in the shadows for over 60 years, framed by the author’s extensive research into the historical record. This story demonstrates the ways that families and friends kept their love and hope alive in an era that predates instant electronic communications.” – Debra J.

Medic
Near Moosburg, Germany May 1, 1945
Courtesy Norman Eliasson

“This book is completely fascinating from beginning to end. I am a soldier’s wife, Desert Shield/Desert Storm era and his father before him was Vietnam era. I can imagine but never truly know what they have to endure, are subjected to, how they cope with such simple things that I take for granted every day. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir and encourage everyone to do so. Kudos to the author, the daughter of such a great man. This book was so well written, so descriptive, so fascinating that I didn’t want to stop reading, and when I did I wanted more.” – Cyndie Y.

“The detail and first hand perspective is meticulously documented by the Author with the information flowing from start to finish. Hard to put down and you finish with a knowledge of WWII no one could ever recreate without such meticulous notes and never before seen before photos.” Loved it! – Robert R.

“This book is so well organized. Even with all that is left unsaid (due to fears of censorship), I got an amazing view of what it was like to be in the Army in WWII and what an amazing family the Berkeys are/were. The book was hard to put down. Made me wish I had met Richard.” – Gail G.

Medic
In the vineyard where Richard was wounded Dec. 18, 1944 – Oberotterbach, Germany – Courtesy of the National Archives

Waiting for Peace was a fantastic memoir of WWII medic, Richard Berkey, in the European Theater. Prepared by his daughter through letters, journals and unit histories, the book paints a vivid picture of what the war was like in the last year and gives a glimpse of the tight knit family and community from Indiana. I recently retired from the Air Force and have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and I found myself wishing that I would have kept a journal of my experiences. This was a great read and I found myself having trouble putting it down. It is definitely not your “normal’ WWII book and has a much more personal touch. I loved it!” – David Z.

Waiting For Peace is the perfect title for this story about the sorrows and joys that war brings to a WWII medic. This incredible chronological collection of journal writings and letters from the author’s father, along with fascinating footnotes, took me on a vivid journey into the past. I felt as if I knew him and his family and friends. The letters provided wonderful descriptions of the day to day details of serving, from the mundane days of waiting for assignments to the exciting and tragic front line push into Germany right before VE Day. I found myself thinking about Richard during the day, anxious to read the next part. I was elated when he finally walked through the door into the loving arms of his family after two years of serving his country. The Greatest Generation, indeed! This book should interest anyone who wants an intimate look into a soldier’s life in WWII.” – Debora H.

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