ECU professor pens history book
(Mar. 15, 1994)
The year is 1999 and World War III has just begun in the imagination of East Carolina University’s Michael A. Palmer.
In Palmer’s new book “The War That Never Was,” Russia and the United States are blasting away at each other in a world wide conflict. But, there is a twist to this theme — the countries are allies and the war is a game.
Palmer, an ECU history professor, has woven his vast knowledge of military tactics and machinery into his futuristic novel published this month by Vandamere Press. He gives a blow-by-blow account of World War III as it was played out in 1999 by an international group of retired military officers and former civilian policy makers. The meeting takes place at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.
It’s all fiction, of course, but the military tactics and strategy are highly plausible, if not real, according to the book’s critics. Palmer also places into action just about every class of ship, submarine, aircraft, and fighting unit from the navies, armies, and air forces of the world.
Publisher’s Weekly describes the book as “a study of geopolitical and military strategy” and said the author “clearly knows his stuff.”
Larry Bond, the author of “Red Phoenix” and “Cauldron,” said Palmer and his new book “brings modern naval operations to life in this chillingly plausible and totally credible account of global war at sea.”
The ECU author tells his story through a Russian naval officer, Yuri Sinsukin, who helped develop the elaborate war game plan. Interestingly, the Russian is trying to capitalize on the war game project by writing a book about it.
Palmer draws from his own background as a naval historian at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C., in describing the military tactics and hardware portrayed in the book.
He worked at the center before coming to ECU and was with the Navy during the 1991 war with Iraq and used materials culled from Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm to write an earlier non-fiction book “Guardians of the Gulf.” The book describes the U.S. Navy’s presence in the Persian Gulf from 1833 to 1991.
“The War That Never Was” is Palmer’s fifth book and second novel. His other fiction work is “Arctic Strike.” In addition to “Guardians of the Gulf,” he also wrote “Origins of Maritime Strategy” and “Stoddart’s War.” The latter book won the prestigious Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature.
Palmer jointed the ECU Department of History in fall of 1992. He teaches maritime history in the ECU graduate program in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology. He and his wife and two children live in Greenville.
The novel, expected at book stores this month, will sell for $19.95.