Interview with Unsung Eagles Author


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“Jay Stout has written one of the finest tributes to the fighting men of the greatest generation, concentrating not on the famous aces whose actions are well known, but on the “ordinary man” who rose to greatness when the situation demanded it. The author’s deep research and innate writing ability merge to make this a book a must for every aviation library.”- Walter Boyne, former director of the National Air and Space Museum and best-selling author.

We are excited to announce the paperback release of Casemate’s  Unsung Eagles: True Stories of America’s Citizen Airmen in the Skies of World War II by Jay A Stout. Unsung Eagles traces the combat careers of 22 different pilots from all the services are captured in this crisply written book which captivates the reader not only as an engaging oral history, but also puts personal context into the great air battles of World War II.

Jay Stout is a native of Indiana and a 1951 graduate of Purdue University. He was commissioned into the Marine Corps that same year and earned his designation as a naval aviator in 1983 with orders to fly the F-4 Phantom. He later served as an instructor on the T-2C Buckeye and transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet. As a Hornet pilot, he flew 37 combat missions during Dessert Storm.

Continue reading for excerpts from a fascinating interview with Jay Stout where he told us all about his writing process and personal history with military aviation.

I was born in Indianapolis, where my father and mother and sisters were also born.  My dad worked for the government and we moved around a little bit, to include Okinawa, Japan, at the height of the Vietnam War from 1966-1969.  We lived on Kadena Air Force Base, which was an enormous staging point for the air war in Southeast Asia.

It was at Kadena that I had my first real exposure to military aircraft and flying.  It was roaring over my head every single day.  There were F-105s and F-4s and B-52s and the SR-71 and…virtually everything the Air Force flew at the time.  As boys, my friends and I had the run of the base and lots to do.  Aside from school, there were little league sports and movies (for a quarter!) and exploring on the beach and out in the bush for relics from the war—mostly shell casings and such.  It was a great few years and imbued me with a desire to become a fighter pilot that I never lost.

He told us about his family’s history of military service:

Like many American families, mine includes ancestors who served during the Civil War and even before, but I’ve never discovered anyone of particular note.  I have a copy of a civil war diary from one of my great-whatever-many-times-grandfathers.  He served in the West in Tennessee and Missouri and such.  It sounded dreadfully boring and dirty.  And then he was shot in the stomach at the Pea Patch and his recovery—considering the state of medicine then—was gruesome and painful.

My grandfather fled home early in life and joined the army.  He chased Pancho Villa as a fourteen-year-old.  Later he joined the Navy and was discharged soon afterward, following a fight of some sort.  My father was too young for World War II and Korea but served in the Air Force as a radar technician during the 1950s.  And then, of course, I served in the Marine Corps as a pilot from 1981 to 2001.

Not all writers can articulate the reasons why they took to writing, but Jay Stout thoroughly impressed us with the following response to our questions about his reasons for writing.

I was similar to just about everyone, who thought, “I’d like to write a book someday.”  After service in the Gulf War in 1991, I noted that no one was writing the sorts of combat stories that I grew up reading about World War II.  Although it was a much less dangerous conflict, I thought I could do something about the Gulf War that might be mildly interesting and the result was Hornets over Kuwait which was published in 1997.

I like the notion of telling a story that someone will want to read, and I like being able to say that I’m a writer, although there’s little romance to it.  Mostly it’s just hard work.

What I most like is to communicate that these extraordinary people were essentially just like the rest of us.  They became extraordinary because they were put into extraordinary circumstances and excelled.  Or if they didn’t necessarily excel, they simply survived.  This was often extraordinary in itself.  I guess I like making the point that people often make history because they are put in—or put themselves in—situations that offer historic opportunities.But, again, I like to make the point that every generation has the potential to be the “Greatest.”  The human dynamic doesn’t change much from one generation to the next.

We asked Stout to tells us why he thinks readers will be interested in his book:

I like how it follows a normal young man through his life and to eventual command of a wartime fighter group.  For example, Righetti was driving a dairy truck before the war.  By 1945 he was leading formations of fifty aircraft or more against Nazi Germany.  Yet, he and his family had typical origins and were normal in every way.

Just like you and me.

I also like the excitement of the late-war flying and the dynamics associated with high-stakes strafing.  Using Righetti’s story as a vehicle to discuss the greater air war was also enjoyable.

Further, although tragic, the mystery surrounding his disappearance is something that tugs at my sensibilities.

Jay A. Stout’s charismatic and intelligent responses to our interview questions make us excited and anxious to get our hands on a copy to read!

Copies of the new paperback edition as well as the hardback edition can be found on our website here.

Casemate’s Fall 2016 Catalog

We are excited to present Casemate’s Fall 2016 Catalog featuring new and upcoming titles from our distribution publishers around the world.

You can view and download your own copy in the link below. If you would like to receive a copy in the mail, please fill out our catalog request form.

Catalog Cover

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New Casemate Book Delves into the History of America’s Neglected Leaders and Heroes.


Casemate Publishers is happy to introduce Thomas D. Philips, and announce the publication of his book In the Shadows of Victory: America’s Forgotten Military Leaders, 1776-1876.  

In the Shadows of Victory looks into the heroes and leaders forgotten by American History and aims to shift our focus onto those whose sacrifice and skill have often been neglected. The casual reader and seasoned historian alike will better understand the nuances of this period in early American military history after reading Thomas D. Phillip’s book.

In the preface of his book, Phillips writes,

“History is neither a rigid nor an exact science. While enshrining some in the collective consciousness of the nation, it has overlooked others often equally as deserving. This book is about some of those who have been overlooked; military leaders throughout America’s history whose accomplishments have not been widely recognized. Although our nation owes them considerable debts, their services have been too little acknowledged and too seldom celebrated.”

His book sets out to do just that: acknowledge and celebrate this collection of history’s forgotten leaders.

Michael Dilley, a book reviewer for Military History online calls this book:

“easy to read, informative, and well written. It is a valuable addition to the history of American military leaders because of its viewpoint.”

The rest of Dilley’s thoughtful review can be read here.

Thomas D. Phillips had a distinguished 36-year military career in which he rose from enlisted recruit to colonel, led an isolated American community through a terrorist attack, ran a “think tank” for the Commander-in-Chief Strategic Air Command, served as Director of the Air Force Personnel Readiness Center during Operation Desert Storm, led one of the most unusual units in the Air Force, and commanded some of the first American troops sent to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, following the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (twice), and a host of other awards.

Thomas D. Phillips is new to publishing with Casemate, and we are thrilled to have him join us. He has previously authored a number of books, short stories, and poems about military and American history, defense issues, and baseball.

Click here to visit our website where In the Shadows of Victory is now available.

Continue reading to learn about a few of the featured figures of Into the Shadows of Victory 

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Nathanael Greene: Afflicted with a limp so pronounced that some initially thought it should disqualify him from military service, Greene’s extraordinary generalship in the Carolinas saved the South for the American cause in the War for Independence

david connor

David Connor: Commanded naval forces during the amphibious assault on Veracruz, during the Mexican-American War, personally leading the landing craft ashore without the loss of a single American life.

emory upton

Emory Upton: During the course of the Civil War, Upton held senior positions in each branch of the army: infantry, artillery, and cavalry. His innovative infantry tactics were widely adopted throughout the army.






Casemate at the London Book Fair

The Casemate Group exhibit at the London Book Fair was packed right the way through the three days of the event, May 11-14. The UK team headed up by Simone and Clare was out in force meeting with client publishers, sales reps, book shop buyers, industry professionals, foreign publishers and more. From the US side, David and Curtis were similarly back to back with appointments. We still all had time for a bit of fun and there were a couple of great evenings out. Everyone is a bit quiet here in the Oxford office today though!

The Casemate stand in full swing

The Casemate stand in full swing

More meetings!

More meetings!

This year’s London Book Fair seemed busier than ever in the aisles and there seemed to be a consensus among the exhibitors that it was the best one for a number of years and a second year at Olympia dispelled all doubts as to whether the move from Earls Court was acceptable.

But there’s no rest for the Casemate team. Right now Andy and Helen are at Salute, the wargaming mega-event at the Excel Center in London – David and Simone will be there tomorrow. Michaela is at the A.R.C.E conference in Atlanta, GA and we’re all slightly appalled by the fact it’s only 4 weeks until BookExpo America in Chicago. We hope to see you there!

The Grand Hall Olympia, LBF 2016

The Grand Hall Olympia, LBF 2016

View from the gallery LBF 2016

View from the gallery LBF 2016

In Memoriam: Col. Robert L. Tonsetic



It is with profound sadness that we at Casemate have learned of the passing of Robert L. (“Bob”) Tonsetic, one of our most accomplished authors and also a friend.

Bob’s life was remarkable by any standard as he served multiple tours in Vietnam, beginning with combat operations in 1964 and extending to an advisory role with South Vietnamese Rangers once the bulk of U.S. troops had withdrawn.

After his Army career he earned a Ph.D. and taught higher education, while becoming a noted author. His first book, “Warriors,” was a personal memoir of his time in Vietnam. Then came his hugely acclaimed “Days of Valor: An Inside Account of the Bloodiest Six Months of the Vietnam War,” in which he shifted gears into objective history.

During a time when many works on Vietnam described a gonzo period of failure if not anarchy, in “Days of Valor” Bob Tonsetic unveiled the remarkable record of unmatched sacrifice and heroism that more typified the frontline soldiers of that war. His third book, “Forsaken Warriors,” described the enormous challenge taken on by a few remaining U.S. advisers to prepare the South Vietnamese to stand alone, once the U.S. public if not its armed forces had abandoned the conflict.

In a remarkable transition, Bob subsequently turned his narrative and research skills toward examining America’s War of Independence, beginning with “1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War,” followed by “Special Forces in the American Revolution.” He was about to embark on a third book on significant figures in the Revolution when he was overtaken by illness.

A total gentleman as well courageous combat leader, scholar and renowned author, Bob Tonsetic was also a friend to us at Casemate as well as the beloved husband of his wife Polly and father of his sons Mark and Michael.

His official obituary, courtesy of Polly Tonsetic, is as follows:


Robert L. Tonsetic, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, 3 April 2016 in Easton, MD. He was 73 years old.

Born in Braddock, PA, Col. Tonsetic graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964 and joined the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant. He continued to serve as an infantry officer for twenty-seven years, with multiple combat tours during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star for his actions and leadership in 1968 and 1970, which included a pivotal role in the Tet Offensive.

Upon retirement in 1991, Col. Tonsetic acquired a Ph.D. in education, and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida until relocating to Easton in 2003. He authored three memoirs on his service in Vietnam as an infantry officer and advisor to a South Vietnamese Ranger battalion, as well as two historical accounts of the American Revolution. In 2014, he was inducted into the U.S. Army’s Ranger Hall of Fame, at Fort Benning, GA. He was also a member of the Legion of Valor of the United States of America.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Polly Tonsetic of Easton, MD; by his sons Mark Tonsetic of Alexandria, VA, and Michael Tonsetic, of Winter Springs, FL; his daughters-in-law Maureen McNulty and Kristin Tonsetic; and his three grandchildren, Mitchell, Miranda, and Sophia.

Funeral services will be held later this year at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Talbot Hospice (




From left to right: General (Ret) William F. Kernan, Colonel (Ret) Robert L. Tonsetic, Command Sergeant Major Charles Albertson

From left to right: General (Ret) William F. Kernan, Colonel (Ret) Robert L. Tonsetic, Commander Sergeant Major Charles Albertson.  Robert was one of ten Army Rangers inducted into the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame on July 16, 2014 at Fort Benning.




Bob’s books with Casemate


The 1937 Battle of Shanghai Was Asia’s Stalingrad But Westerners barely remember

Posted 3/23/16 on


Open Road Media sponsored this post.

Today Shanghai is a hub of international trade and culture and one of the world’s great cities. But in 1937, it was a battlefield. Imperial Japanese troops fought the Chinese Nationalist army in the seaside metropolis in one of history’s most terrible battles.

Westerners watched from their neighborhoods as two ancient rivals fought a new kind of war. Soldiers turned homes and businesses into fighting positions. Aerial bombing and artillery smashed ancient neighborhoods. In the course of a few months the combatants leveled entire sections of the city.

In his book Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze, journalist Peter Harmsen chronicles what is, to outsiders, a largely forgotten battle. Harmsen spent two years as a foreign correspondent in East Asia, including as bureau chief for Agence France-Presse.

In Western minds, World War II began with the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. But for the people of East Asia, the war began two years earlier with the Japanese invasion of China — and would continue after Germany’s surrender in May 1945.

Only the Russian front could rival the Chinese front in terms of raw bloodshed. And only the Russian front’s apocalyptic Battle of Stalingrad could match the intensity and brutality of the Shanghai fighting.

Japanese_naval_infantry_near_Sanyili,_ShanghaiAt top — Chinese troops guard an intersection from behind fortified positions. Above — Japanese marines move through the rubble of Shanghai. Photos via Wikipedia

Tokyo expected to quickly seize Shanghai. But the Chinese proved much more resilient than the Japanese expected. The battle lasted for months, killing thousands of soldiers and untold numbers of civilians.

Though the Chinese army lost the battle, it showed Japan’s leaders that they would pay a high price for every inch of China territory seized.

Harmsen recounts the battle from several perspectives. He cites the accounts of Chinese and Japanese soldiers and civilians and Western observers. The breadth of primary sources indicates a staggering amount of detective work on the author’s part.

But Shanghai 1937 isn’t just exhaustive. It’s actually … fun. Harmsen invests the story with propulsive urgency.

51IPPaMmETL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The story begins like a murder mystery, explaining how the deaths of three Japanese marines and a man wearing a Chinese uniform sparked the battle. The murders help to illustrate the complex politics of pre-war Shanghai and the role crooked politicians and gangsters played in events. But intrigue soon escalates into open warfare.

The scenes of battle are vivid and visceral. But they also clearly explicate the strategic and tactical factors that determined the battle’s outcome.

The Japanese had a distinct technological advantage. But they ultimately underestimated the creativity and resolve of the Chinese infantry as the Chinese transformed the rubble into a labyrinth of traps and ambushes.

The book also delves into some of the stranger aspects of the war’s early days, such as the involvement of German advisers on the Chinese side. Other odd characters include duplicitous warlords and gruff war correspondents.

Shanghai 1937 is a superb examination of an important battle that many have all but forgotten.


Farewells and New Beginnings

It was with mixed emotions that part of the Casemate US team headed to New York City to say farewell to long-time Editorial Director, Steve Smith. All are sad to lose Steve as a coworker, mentor, and the leader of the editorial team, yet happy to see him return to his original passion, writing.


Steve has enjoyed a long career in publishing, starting in the stockroom of a firm called Weiser Books in New York City. Steve graduated from that position and went on to form his own publishing-services company, dealing with about 40 publishers, graphic design firms, and ad agencies during the 1980s. In 1991 he decided to devote himself to the fascination of his youth by founding Sarpedon Publishers, which at 166 Fifth Avenue, NY, became one of the most noted military history publishing houses of the 1990s. After selling Sarpedon in 2000, and later founding Front Street Press, Steve employed his expertise at editing, plus fascination with the past, to write 8 highly regarded military history works himself (most under a pseudonym). In the meantime he has also edited or guided more than 120 other works, many of which have earned high acclaim in the very exacting field of non-fiction history.


Steve was one of the first to join Casemate back in 2004, shortly after its founding, and worked closely with publisher David Farnsworth in growing Casemate from a small group with five employees, a few distribution clients and ten original releases a year, to an international company with 45 plus employees in four different countries, and hundreds of clients across all genres from Archaeology to Travel, and dozens of annual original releases.



Pictured left to right: Carlie, Jane, Curtis, Tara, Jen, Sharon and Steve. Not pictured but present: Michaela and David


We are grateful to Steve for bringing his production and editorial values to Casemate, along with his guidance, leadership and sincere desire to help everyone be the best at whatever their position, in turn making us one of today’s most significant players among not only the modern military history audience but in the publishing community.


We have no doubt that wherever the road takes Steve, he will continue to be an important asset to the military history field. Please join us in wishing Steve the very best of luck and the greatest of success in all future endeavors.


LINCOLN’S BOLD LION at the Woodville Festival

LINCOLN’S BOLD LION  author James Huffstodt performed in character last weekend as an old Civil War veteran who knew General Hardin. He was featured during the Woodville (Fl.) Festival at the Woodville Library near Tallahassee, an annual event  and celebration of the history and people of Woodville Florida that includes music, historical re-enactors, literature, plays, demonstrations, and vendors of all kinds.

James’  talk attracted a nice crowd of people and was followed by a book signing.

The event was by invitation of Ms. Verna Brock, Woodville Library Director, who is very well read on American history, her major at Florida State University (FSU) before earning her master’s in library science. (Photos by Verna Brock, Woodville Library, Woodville, Fl.)

Lincoln’s Bold Lion author attends Florida’s Largest Civil War Battle Re-enactment


Casemate author James Huffstodt of Tallahassee manned a booth featuring his biography: “Lincoln’s Bold Lion: The Life and Times of Brigadier General Martin Davis Hardin” during the recently held Ulustee  Battle Re-Enactment held at Ulustee State Park near Lake City, Fl. Huffstodt said the event was first class and featured a naval battle between ironclads on a nearby lake and a replica of the Confederate submarine, Hunley. More than 2,000 re-enactors participated including cavalry and artillery units. “I met some wonderful people at this event, which I found entertaining and educational,” Huffstodt said.


The  annual re-enactment of the Civil War Battle between the North and the South draws hundreds of re-enactors come from miles around to participate in this historical event.

This is the famous site of Florida’s Largest Civil War Battle.

“Lincon’s Bold Lion: The Life and Times of Brigadier General Martin Davis Hardin” Q&A with author

Originally Featured on St Augustine 02/06/2016

Posted: February 6, 2016 – 11:31pm  |  Updated: February 7, 2016 – 12:02am

The story of Martin Davis Hardin provides more than a combat record — in fact, it comprises a tour through 1800s America, with its most costly war only the centerpiece.

Abraham Lincoln was a close friend and political ally of Hardin’s father, who died a hero in the Mexican War. The family were also relatives of Mary Todd.

Made brigadier general at age 27, Hardin fought with distinction at Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Gettysburg, Grant’s Overland Campaign and the Jubal Early’s 1864 raid on Washington. He was wounded four times, nearly died on two occasions and lost an arm during the war. Hardin himself took part in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth after Lincoln’s assassination.

In “Lincoln’s Bold Lion,” Huffstodt walks the reader through Hardin’s life as it reveals the progress of a century. After the war, Hardin survived the Chicago Fire and the Gilded Age, with all its newfound fascinations.

Like many wealthy Northerners in the late 1800s, St. Augustine became the Hardins’ winter refuge. Martin and his wife, Estelle, stayed in hotels in the beginning, but eventually leased a winter “cottage” at 22 St. Francis St., known today as the Tovar House.

Anyone who is interested in the Civil War will surely want to read “Lincoln’s Bold Lion,” but locals will also enjoy the riveting tale that connected a decorated Civil War general to Henry Flagler’s elite Southern tourist haven.

Q&A with author

What inspired you to write the book?

I love biography. I love telling stories about people. I love giving history a human face. When I learned about Gen. Hardin’s fascinating life many years ago, I was stunned to learn that he had been almost completely forgotten. From that point on, I resolved to write his biography.

What type of research was involved?

Hunting down Gen. Hardin’s story led me to research his personal letters, photos, journals, photos, official Army reports and contemporary newspaper articles preserved at The National Archives in Washington, the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, the Saratoga Springs Walworth (Memorial) Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The research took the better part of six years.

Describe your writing process.

Research until you know the subject like a family member. Then put words on paper. Rewrite. Cut. Add. Prune. Rewrite again. Like someone once said: It’s 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. You keep rewriting until you get it right, not before.

What do you hope readers get out of the book?

My hope is that my readers meet and get to know this long-forgotten American hero who lived a remarkable life during a crucial span off American history. Despite the cynics, I believe strongly that America needs heroes; perhaps we need them more now than ever before. Gen. Hardin is such a hero: a soldier, a Christian and a gentleman.

Who is your favorite author?

As a lifelong reader, my list of favorite authors would probably top 100. But, if forced, my favorite historians would include David McCullough, Hampton Sides, T.J. Stiles, Eric Larson, Diane Preston, Iris Chang, Barbara Tuchman, Lloyd Lewis, Francis Parkman, William Manchester and Bruce Catton.