Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 18, 2012.

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The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli is a true American story of immigration, assimilation, courage and sacrifice.

The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli
The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli

The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli, by Daniel Roberts is the true story of one man's, part biography, part saga, and all American.

The American: Basil Antonelli and his family fled the poverty, privation, and tyranny of Mussolini’s Italy to find a new home in America. They settled in a unique all Italian town in southern New Jersey where they persevered through the Great Depression forming a lasting bond with America. Duty bound by love for his adopted country Basil enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard. He went on to receive a field commission in the 3rd Infantry Division and volunteered to join a broken outfit, the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and fight on the front lines in Tunisia and Italy. His service eventually brought him home to Italy and only a stone’s throw away from town where he was born. There, the battle of Monte Cassino raged between Mark Clark's Fifth Army and the near impenetrable German Gustav Line. Within sight of his ancestral village Basil Antonelli paid the supreme sacrifice, his war was over, but his legacy lived on.

From the author: The American is a two year labor of love that has suffered complications. Initially it was commissioned by my friend, coauthor, and employer, Robby Wilson of the Wilson History & Research Center (Militaryheadgear.com). Robby intended the book to be the first in a series of published works chronicling unknown, but dynamic, historical stories. For the book he and I traveled through Italy with Basil Antonelli's descendants trying to get to the bottom of what it meant to be an American. Unfortunately, my friend Robby recently succumbed to a courageous two year battle with cancer. I have decided to use Kickstarter as a way to fund the books hardcover publication, preserve my friend's legacy, and bring an important and deserving story of heroism to light.

Books are available for per-order here on Kickstarter. I invite you to purchase The American in advance of its printing, in both digital (PDF and EPUB) and hardcover formats. If I can sell 250 pre-order copies here I can definitely swing the purchase of 1,000 hardcover books, which is a 1,000 more people who will learn the story of Basil Antonelli.

I have also included other opportunities for services, provided by me, Daniel Roberts, the author. These include opportunities for appearances, historical research, and if you are interested, commissioned works. rest assured that these appearances are not your typical dry historical lectures but rather tales of adventures researching the book and serving as an artifact purchaser and researcher for the Wilson History and Research Center. 

I am very excited and hope you will join me in celebrating the life of Basil Antonelli, an American hero.

1st Lieutenant Basil Antonelli
1st Lieutenant Basil Antonelli

Below is an excerpt from "The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli:"

"Basil’s 16-day journey aboard the Hugh L. Scott was thankfully uneventful save for a storm off the coast of Iceland. The Navy used flag signals to maintain radio silence and kept a watchful eye for German submarines. Soldiers on board spent their time doing calisthenics, listening to lectures on French/Arab society, and firing the brand-new “rocket gun,” commonly referred to as a bazooka. On the night of November 6, 1942, the armada finally split into three groups as planned. Sub Taskforce Brushwood, the Hugh L Scott, and Lt. Basil Antonelli continued on to Fedhala Bay. For days Admiral Hewitt and General Patton fretted over weather reports that the surf would be too high, but when Brushwood arrived just before midnight on November 7th they were greeted with calm seas. The transports then arranged themselves in a two square-mile formation, six miles from the shore, with the Leonard Wood, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Carroll and Joseph T. Dickman at the vanguard.

          In the dark, troops shuffled around on deck, getting their equipment in order. The Army believed every man should land with several days worth of supplies in the event they were stranded on the beach. Every soldier had a weapon, side arm, ammunition, tent, field stove, food, mess kit, emergency kit, sewing kit, toothbrush, toothpaste, shovel, life vest, watch, cigarettes, whistle, matches, French-English phrase book, and a prophylactic. The British attack on the French fleet at Mers El Kebir left unresolved resentment and American officials feared retribution might be taken on English-speaking American troops, so soldiers also wore an American flag armband to advertise their country of origin to any French forces they met. Thirty minutes after midnight on November 8, the first men started climbing down cargo nets into waiting landing craft. The sea was calm, but nervous troops, loaded to the neck with equipment, were slow going over the side. Having never been properly trained at climbing down the heavy rope nets, they waited until the men below them were securely in the boats. Their anxiety pushed the landing time back by another hour. Even with so much caution, accidents happened. One soldier fractured his foot when a sack of ammo boxes fell from the deck into his landing craft."

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Completion of this Kickstarter project means that I am going to have the hardcover version of the book published through an independent printer. As a result it will take up to 5 weeks to get the books published and as much as another 2 weeks for them to reach me and be ready for shipping to purchasers. This means that while I project being able to send the books out in December 2012 it might not be until January 2013 before the hardcover books officially arrive. (Again I am hoping to have them ready for Christmas)

The hardcover books themselves will actually cost $20, but I have added the $5 to cover shipping.

Digital book purchasers will be directed to a third party website via e-mail where they can download both EPUB and PDF format copies immediately after the projects completion. I am completely open to any other formatting changes that you would like to make independently to the file to work with one of the zillions of different e-readers. I only request that if you are sent a digital copy you will refrain from copying it and sending it to friends as this is a copyright violation, and stealing.

As for the other rewards. I will need to schedule any event visits well in advance, particularly if it requires me to fly somewhere.

In the case of the research project rewards it will be necessary for me to communicate with the purchaser via the internet and over the phone. My contact information will be provided to them immediately after the project is completed and I will be able to give a schedule of how long the report will take.

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    Author of "The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli," Dan Roberts, will come to your local bookstore (or book club, function, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, event, etc.), deliver your copy of "The American," answer any questions you might have about the book, and sell copies to your friends at $20 a book with the opportunity for personalized autographs. (Limited to locations within the state of Maine and New Hampshire)

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    Personalized autographed copy of copy of "The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli," by author Dan Roberts and research report on a WWII veteran of your choice, including battles associated with their service, unit histories, and documentation from the National Archives of the United States. (Limiting this to five backers right now, but could be more in the future)

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    Author of "The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli," Dan Roberts, will come to your local bookstore (or book club, function, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, event, etc.), deliver your copy of "The American," answer any questions you might have about the book, and sell copies to your friends at $20 a book with the opportunity for personalized autographs. (Limited to Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island)

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    Author of "The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli," Dan Roberts, will come to your local bookstore (or book club, function, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, event, etc.), deliver your copy of "The American," answer any questions you might have about the book, and sell copies to your friends at $20 a book with the opportunity for personalized autographs. (Limited to US states East of the Mississippi River)

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    Author of "The American: The Life, Times, and War of Basil Antonelli," Dan Roberts, will come to your local bookstore (or book club, function, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, event, etc.), deliver your copy of "The American," answer any questions you might have about the book, and sell copies to your friends at $20 a book with the opportunity for personalized autographs. (Limited to US states west of the Mississippi River)

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