From the Publisher
This story should take its place right up there with those American Christmas classics, and best of all it's true!
The American St Nick should be required reading, to remind us that real people are fighting wars, not just "soldiers". The gratitude shown by the people of Wiltz should also remind us that fighting oppression is something America has done for generations. The American St. Nick is a true life Christmas story sure to bring tears of joy to your eyes. Lion is masterful in his recreation of this new modern American Christmas classic. I found myself thinking many times, that the story behind The American St. Nick was literally "too good to be true", but it IS true, and the author has the pictures included to prove it.
Jim Parisi, Coastal News; Nov 5 2003
[Peter] does a good job of showing that even a seemingly unimportant act of kindness has long-term consequences and blessings.
Read an Excerpt
A light afternoon rain fell as Frank McClelland surveyed the dense forest that surrounded him. He was surprised by how little the woods had changed. The forest floor, which saw little sunlight even on the brightest days, was still littered with pine needles, wispy ferns, and the dead branches of ancient pines that stretched skyward ninety feet or more. He had come back to these woods on the outskirts of Doncols, Luxembourg, hoping to answer a question that had remained neatly folded in a corner of his mind for more than thirty years.
Frank was a solidly built man whose fifty-nine years showed in his thinning, white-streaked hair and his time-lined face. He's always wondered what, if anything, he could have done differently back on that bitter snowy day in December 1944. It was a painful question that he had asked himself over and over through the years as time healed his physical and emotional wounds. But he knew he would never find the answer to his question without coming back to this forest and standing among these trees once again. He knew that if he could return to this wooded hillside it would somehow take him back in time, through the layers of years to December 21, 1944, when twenty-four-year-old Sergeant Frank McClelland had led his small group of MPs out of the small sleepy town of Wiltz for the last time.
The MPs had been the last of the rear guard of the American 28th Infantry Division. They had been ordered to hold the town as long as possible against the attacking Germans, buying time for the rest of the men to withdraw. Once the town was clear, Frank and his men were to move through the dense woods of the Ardennes Forest, using it for cover in an effort to elude the advancing German troops and get to the town of Bastogne a few miles to the west.
It was the beginning of the last major German offensive of World War II . . . an offensive that Army Command deemed high unlikely. The German army was said to be on the defensive, retreating into Germany and fortifying its defenses for a final stand against an Allied push. The fall of Berlin and the end of the war were forthcoming. There was a chance that the war might even be over by Christmas.