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Never Call Me a Hero


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About the Author

Norman Jack "Dusty" Kleiss (1916-2016) grew up in Coffeyville, Kansas, during the Great Depression, before attending the United States Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1938. A carrier-based pilot of Scouting Squadron Six attached to USS Enterprise, he was awarded the Navy Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross. Captain Kleiss (USN, Ret.) was married to his wife, Jean, for more than sixty years before her passing in 2006. Timothy J. Orr is an associate professor of military history at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is author and editor of Last to Leave the Field and Cities at War. Laura Lawfer Orr is the deputy education director at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, the U.S. Navy's official museum in Norfolk.


"Never Call Me a Hero is a rare and precious gift from a significant warrior to his posterity. Published posthumously, Dusty Kleiss's stirring memoir contradicts his own title: Kleiss willingly accepted the risks that defined his heroism, and changed the course of the Second World War." -- BARRETT TILLMAN, author of Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and On Wave and Wing: The 100-Year Quest to Perfect the Aircraft Carrier
"Lieutenant Kleiss is one of history's ultimate unsung heroes. In this remarkable memoir, the decorated dive-bomber pilot tells a war story for the ages. Dusty Kleiss's name should be known to every American-adult and schoolchild alike. This book will teach you something on every page." -- JAMES D. HORNFISCHER, author of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and The Fleet at Flood Tide
"Laced with humor, 'Dusty' Kleiss's memoir is an honest, riveting account of a brave pilot's life. Never Call Me a Hero is equally a vivid and unforgettable first-hand view into America's greatest victory at sea." -- DAN HAMPTON (USAF, Ret.), recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and bestselling author of Viper Pilot and Lords of the Sky
"A real treasure. ...It is hard to conceive that a better first-person book on the first six months of America's war in the Pacific will surface. ... An instant classic, a front-row seat on a Pacific war journey that is action-packed throughout." -- STEPHEN L. MOORE, Dallas Morning News
"Inspiring. ... America produced men like Dusty Kleiss in their millions when they were needed, ordinary men who presented themselves when called, put on uniforms, and did extraordinary things. ... [Kleiss was] a great American and a hero, whether or not he fancied the honorific." -- American Spectator
"Incredible. ... A standout autobiography for anyone interested in bravery, courage, and first-person accounts of military heroics during World War II." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"Masterful. ... Dusty Kleiss was and remains in a class by himself. ... Much more than a vivid remembrance of his heroic role." -- Naval History
"Without histrionics or bravado, Dusty Kleiss gives us a fascinating personal account of this seminal naval battle, and a great read as well. Never Call Me a Hero lets you feel what it was like to fight in the Pacific, and to grow up in Depression-era Middle America, too." -- JONATHAN PARSHALL, co-author, Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
"A riveting narrative about the Battle of Midway. ... A saga of life in the midst of a war." -- Daily Press
"[Kleiss] helped to turn the tide of the war. ... Conveys the personal nature of war and honors his fellow flyers who lost their lives." -- Seapower Magazine
"Anyone interested in naval aviation or the Battle of Midway should read this book." -- Journal of America's Military Past

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