Avoiding Muddy Foxholes

A Story of an American Bombardier

Non-Fiction - Historical
342 Pages
Reviewed on 10/22/2023
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Author Biography

Born in Washington, DC, in October 1954, Jim Loveless grew up in suburban Maryland. As a boy, he was taken in by his father’s experience in the United States Air Force during World War II. Learning as much as he could, friends of Jim’s father were amazed at how much he knew about the B-17 bomber and the Eighth Air Force. Even though his career had been in electrical contracting, Jim loved writing. Jim’s first challenge as a writer came when he started writing a column about his dog in his dog club’s newsletter. It was called “Brooks World” and was written as the dogs told their story. It was a big hit and led to his first published book and an audiobook, “Big Paws, Bigger Heart, a Dogs Memoir.” After fifty years as a third-generation Loveless in the electrical contracting business, When Jim retired, he ended a one-hundred-year family presence in the industry. One thing he never gave up on was his interest in his father’s adventures during the war. Jim could spend countless hours talking about it to anyone willing to listen. He has done extensive research and has a wide-ranging library about the air war in Europe. People loved his work, but a much bigger task lay ahead: writing his father’s story.. The day after he retired, work started in earnest, and two and a half years later, his labor of love was finally complete.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

Avoiding Muddy Foxholes by Jim Loveless is an inspiring, against-all-odds story about a bombardier who escaped death narrowly in different situations while fighting for the US in World War II. Dick, Jim's father, was in the early stages of his relationship with beautiful Mary when he answered the call to fight for his country. In the camp of the enemy, Dick's love for golf, his faith in God, and his cheerful spirit kept him from losing all hope. While some letters got delivered and others weren't, he hoped to get back to his family in one piece. The journey, however, was fraught with loss, physically challenging paths, and emotional turmoil. From a heartwarming engagement and a frightening first date marked by an intimidating father to a terrible plane crash and becoming a prisoner of war, Jim's book is a rollercoaster of ups and downs.

Jim Loveless takes time to develop the themes, allowing readers to get familiar with them and enjoy the story's smooth progression. The horrors of war and the sweetness of love merge like the yin and yang symbols to create a rich and deeply immersing account. I was seriously emotional when Dick received news about his daughter while facing the possibility of death. Though told from a third-person perspective, the book is highly captivating, as the author recreates the protagonist's real-time experience. Avoiding Muddy Foxholes is one of those true stories that's so amazing it feels like a movie. If you enjoy historical books and nonfiction tales about war, you will love this one. I can't get over its grand feel and the sensational love story left me speechless and smiling like I'd won the lottery long after I'd finished reading it.

Kimberlee J Benart

Avoiding Muddy Foxholes: A Story of an American Bombardier by Jim Loveless is a fictionalized account of the service of his father, Richard “Dick” Loveless, a WWII veteran. After qualifying as a bombardier and completing several successful missions, Second Lieutenant Loveless was shot down over France in September 1943. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and sent to a POW (Prisoner of War) camp in German-occupied Poland until January 1945. In the face of the advancing Russian army, the Germans forced Loveless to evacuate along with thousands of other POWs. They made a tortuous and, for some, deadly march on foot in harsh winter conditions to an overcrowded and inadequately supplied camp in Germany where they struggled to survive until it was liberated in April.

In Avoiding Muddy Foxholes, Jim Loveless gives us a wonderful tribute not only to his father’s personal courage, toughmindedness, and faith, but to the sacrifice and service of so many of his generation including the spouses, families, and civilians who supported the Allied forces. The narrative is impeccably researched, highly descriptive, well-paced, and utterly engaging. Photographs are sprinkled throughout, and a list of historical sources is included. As well as gaining insight into Dick’s pre-war civilian life, his military training, and his high-risk bombing missions, we also see his sweet romance with Mary Lu blossom into a love that sustains him. I was especially touched by the portrayal of the French villagers who tried to help Dick and who later sought to honor those crewmembers who died when his bomber crashed. This is an inspirational book that any fan of WWII history will appreciate.

Rabia Tanveer

Avoiding Muddy Foxholes: A Story of an American Bombardier by Jim Loveless follows the story of a fearless man. Richard “Dick” Loveless was looking forward to becoming an electrician and marrying the pretty Mary Lu Farrell when World War II happened. Before he knew it, Richard enlisted in the army and changed his life forever. To his surprise, he excelled at his new job. He moved further up in the Air Corps, took really well to the flying school, and became part of the 388th Bombardment Group. However, nothing prepared Richard for the challenges awaiting in his personal and professional life. Would he be able to succeed in the Air Corps? Would he ever be able to go back home and marry his pretty Mary Lu? Would Richard ever become the father and husband he wanted to be?

Divided into nine parts, Avoiding Muddy Foxholes is a fantastic story of a passionate man who worked hard for his country and equally hard for his family. Richard “Dick” Loveless was a remarkable man, and this is apparent in how Jim Loveless talked about his father. I could feel a connection with Richard from the moment his story began. I felt Richard’s confusion, pain, and desire to do well for both his country and his family. I loved how Jim held nothing back and gave a detailed account of Richard's life in the military, the hardships he went through, and how he found his way in the darkest of days. I was on the brink of tears reading about Richard missing his family and his beloved wife. I felt his pain as he missed his children but stayed strong because he had a job to do and a country to serve. The pictures provided added so much depth to what was happening and gave me a pictorial perspective of what was to come as well. The narrative style was remarkably comfortable, easy to follow, and well-written. I highly recommend it!