Dr Steve Weiss (87) a London based, highly decorated World War Two (WWII) veteran launches his book SECOND CHANCE at Mappin & Webb (132 Regent Street, London) today.
The book tells the harrowing story of his experiences during the war and his subsequent undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which could have crippled his life.
In his book Dr Weiss recounts his enlistment at age 18 to fight the Germans on the front lines in Europe during WWII. Private Steve Weiss of the 36th Texas Infantry,US Army served as a first scout in an American infantry rifle squad in Italy, France and Germany. He landed on the beaches of Southern France in 1944.
He and seven others became separated from their company during a ferocious battle in central France. Caught behind enemy lines and on the run from the Germans, they managed to evade capture and escape with the help of the French Resistance. Listed as ‘Missing In Action’ in France, he served with the French Resistance and an OSS Operational Group behind enemy lines.
For these exploits, he was awarded the French Resistance Medal (the only American ever so honoured), two Croix de Guerre, and the American Bronze Star. President Jacques Chirac presented him with the Legion d’ Honneur in 1999. On 22 June 2007, he was elevated in rank to Officier de la Leigon d’ Honneur.
Dr Weiss, who fought alongside the recently deceased Nancy Wake (known as The White Mouse) while he was in the French Resistance said; ‘I wanted to share the story of my generation with the next one, which had no direct experience of the magnitude and trauma of total war, the consequences of defeat and the price of victory.’
Noted author Charles Glass, who wrote Americans in Paris, said of SECOND CHANCE; ‘This is an exciting, astounding story of a young man who came of age through the crucible of battle and, more importantly, in coming to understand and know himself. This is the war that has, until now, been left out of history”.
Dr Weiss confessed; ‘In coming to terms with my ordeals endured during the war, I became my own battlefield – but I achieved something that at times seemed impossible – I survived!’
SECOND CHANCE is not just a challenge to conventional military history but is a richly human story.
Published by Military History Publishing, SECOND CHANCE is available to buy on Amazon
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-Resistance-Liberation-1943-1946/dp/178039232X
Dr Stephen J Weiss speaks extremely well, looks great and although he is 87 he still conducts lectures, travels extensively, gives historical tours in France. He is fun, personable and does a great deal to help combat soldiers suffering from PTSD. As he was tragically so young during the war (18) he is one of very few WWII veterans still alive today).
- The launch of this book coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day (which takes place on the 27th of January).
- Steven Spielberg, who most recently directed the film adaptation of War Horse has first option on the film rights for Second Chance)
- Steve recently completed a military training programme called TRIM (which ensures effective assessment of combat soldiers who may be at risk of suffering from PTSD)
- Steve was 76 he achieved his PHD, 86 when he published his book and is looking forward to the future!
- He is well informed about all subjects war related and can speak eloquently on WWI and WWII, PTSD etc.
- He has a masters and a doctorate in War Studies from Kings College London and a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology
He conducts tours and lectures on the subject of the French Resistance, PTSD and the psychology of soldiers.