NEW RELEASE: Bridges to Survival

In Bridges to Survival: Non-Stop Action behind Enemy Lines in World War II, acclaimed researcher-turned-author J. A. Stallings pens the first person account of nineteen-year-old Harry Rossi, a new recruit to the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II.

As the novel begins, Harry is a naïve teenager seeking adventure. Trained for the OSS, he becomes a member of the Margot team and enters Italy by submarine on the Adriatic, south of Venice, behind enemy lines.

The team’s mission: to stop the flow of German troops and materials pouring into Italy by destroying bridges crossing the Adige River and tunnels leading from the Brenner Pass. Working hand in hand with the Italian Resistance, Harry meets Carlo, his lookalike best friend, Melania, his first love, and Antonio, their brutal leader.

Soon, Harry finds himself wrestling with his basic morals as he witnesses the torture and death of his leaders and takes revenge on the killers. Meanwhile, to relieve the tension of war, Harry and Carlo tease and torment one another. They are teenagers, after all, not above fooling around and wrestling to alleviate their fear and anger.

By default, as their leaders are killed or captured, Harry and Carlo become leaders. Their mission is to protect priceless Italian art and outwit the Nazis with their use of plastique, pencil timers, radios, disguises, and their essential alliance with the Italian Resistance.

From train heists to dynamiting bridges, from unforgettable Italian friendships to falling in love, Harry lives through life-changing adventures that inevitably result in the keen grief that comes with being a soldier at war.

Stallings comments, “My four children have asked why a pacifist like me would write a war story. My answer is that Harry came to me. He was persistent, and his story unfolded. Like millions of innocent, adventurous patriots, he left his home unprepared for the war-time world that awaited him, a world where friends are tortured beyond recognition, where the instinct for revenge is unbridled and killing comes easy, where the mirror reflects a man he does not know, and where home is a child’s fairy tale to which there’s no way back.” She adds, “My father and uncles were in World War II. Like most of the World War II warriors, they never spoke of it.” 

“J. A. Stallings’ gripping new novel Bridges to Survival: Nonstop Action behind Enemy Lines in World War II gives us a flesh-and-blood narrative set in northeast Italy, a page-turner from beginning to end. Embedded in the narrative are instances of Italian art stolen by the Nazis and the daring retrieval by Harry and friends…[In] perhaps the most riveting section of the book, Harry and his compatriots make plans to destroy tunnels through the famous mountain pass between Austria and Italy, the entry point for German troops. The project is huge and full of danger…[This book will] be appreciated by veterans of all wars and by their families.” ~ Review by Lois-ellin Datta 

Author: J. A. Stallings lived her first twenty years in Indiana. Throughout her high school and college years, she wrote poems and short stories. She started her professional life as a teacher of forty multicultural fourth grade children in Long Beach, California. This was a great learning opportunity for teacher and students. Everyone survived, and the children attended her wedding. After her marriage to Hal Stallings, they lived on a sailboat, expecting to cruise the world and write stories for a living. The births of four children withn five years slowed the writing process. A move to Palo Alto, California,  placed them in close proximity of Stanford University. Jane entered their doctoral program, studying how children learn, how teachers teach, and the influence of social context. With her doctoral degree, many doors opened. She worked ten years at Stanford Research Institute, three years at Vanderbilt University, four years at University of Houston, and six years as the first woman dean at Texas A&M University (where she learned survival skills). The World Bank hired her to consult with teacher educators in Tunisia, Morocco, Gahanna, Brazil, and India. Retiring to Washington, D.C. in 1999, she finally started writing her stories. New challenges came in 2002 with a decision to grow organic almonds in northern California’s beautiful Capay Valley. During this ten-year period, she was inspired by her work with the Esparto School Board. In June of 2012, after the death of her husband, David Markham, she moved to Rossmoor, where she is a member of the Writer’s Club and the Published Writers of Rossmoor. She has published research articles, book chapters, books on the effective use of time in classrooms, and studies of effective teacher education. Bridges to Survival is her first novel. This timeless book gives voice to the experiences of people like her father and uncles and the circumstances in which they found themselves in World War II. 


Bridges to Survival: Non-Stop Action behind Enemy Lines in World War II by J. A. Stallings; Hellgate Press; Category; Historical Fiction/World War II; Paperback: 978-1626600812; Foreign ISBN: 1626600813; eBook: 978-1626600140; Availability: and

Posted on September 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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