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John J Dwyer
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“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

                                                                                                ~ George Santayana


Lessons from a World War II American Odyssey

The stories of our past, real or imagined, serve as classrooms for today’s traveler. They reveal humanity at its best and at its worst, and as spoken often throughout history, those who fail to learn its lessons are doomed to repeat its mistakes. In the first of a two-part saga, author and historian John J. Dwyer draws from the written and unwritten pages of American history, to weave a story that could parallel today’s headlines.

Dwyer’s Shortgrass (Tiree Press, May 2017) offers a realism that differs from your typical historical novel revealing the grit and determination that defined “The Greatest Generation.” The story’s characters embody the many real life heroes that traveled similar paths during those turbulent times of world conflict and human survival and the lessons taught reveal something of the author himself.

“While the story is set in a different era, Shortgrass, and its sequel, Mustang, are the closest thing to my own written testament to those who come after me. They depict what I have learned about love and loss, history and heroes, inner conflict and unanswered questions, God and man - life itself,” offers Dwyer. “Although a work of fiction, the history and the lessons it teaches us are timeless and real.”

The adventurous journey of a Mennonite farm boy, Lance Roark, begins in the drought-ravaged Dust Bowl of Oklahoma where his battle for survival would prepare him for college gridiron glory. As war clouds gather across the seas, he is smitten with teenaged Chickasaw cowgirl and stunt flyer Sadie Stanton. He later finds love with Mary Katherine Murchison, a beautiful oil heiress and singing star of the Big Band Era. 

He eventually enters the dangerous world of America First, the Lindbergh-led organization opposing Roosevelt’s drive toward American involvement in the War. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, his lifelong commitment never to raise his hand against another human soul brings him to his own crisis of conscience. He is faced with the decision whether or not to accept command of a B-17 Flying Fortress in which he would witness, and inflict, mass slaughter in Nazi occupied Europe amidst history’s most fearsome war.

John J. Dwyer earned his Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Since 2006, he has been adjunct professor of history and ethics at Southern Nazarene University. He is former history chair at Coram Deo Academy, near Dallas, Texas. John is the author of the The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War, the historical novels Stonewall and Robert E. Lee, the novel When Bluebonnets Come and the recently released, The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People. John is also the former editor and publisher of the Dallas/Fort Worth Heritage newspaper and also worked as a radio announcer and play-by-play football and basketball announcer for several radio stations, winning the coveted position of sports director for the University of Oklahoma's 100,000 watt KGOU-FM radio station.


A Novel of World War II

John J. Dwyer

Tiree Press, an imprint of Oghma Creative Media|    May, 2017

Hardcover 350 pages  |  ISBN-10: 1633732037 | ISBN-13: 978-1633732032


Novelist and Oklahoma native Ralph Ellison said, “You have to leave home to find home”, an apt description of the journey of John J. Dwyer, author and general editor of The Oklahomans. The Dwyer family roots were firmly transplanted from Ireland to Oklahoma by John’s great-grandfather and grandfather, the latter who settled in Oklahoma City in 1909, just two years after Oklahoma achieved statehood. Although born in Dallas, TX, John was relocated to Oklahoma when his widowed mother returned to her home when he was two years old.

It would be on Oklahoma soil that his mother instilled in him his love for history, and coupled with his unusually creative imagination, it soon became apparent that John not only liked to hear great stories of legend and history, but to make up his own as well. It would be out of a sense of divine purpose that he would use that creativity in response to a higher calling in the years to come.

John began a career in journalism during his high school days when he served in a variety of roles, including news and sports reporter, for the Duncan Banner, a daily newspaper in his small Oklahoma hometown. He was the youngest sports editor in the newspaper's history by the time he attended the University of Oklahoma on a journalism scholarship. He graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts and sciences degree in journalism.

Dwyer further developed his journalistic skills in radio as a play‐by‐play football and basketball announcer for several radio stations. He won the coveted position of sports director for the University of Oklahoma's 100,000-watt KGOU‐FM radio station. For seven years, he provided live, on‐air reports to America's largest radio networks of University of Oklahoma college football games.

Except for a year in England during 6th grade, John lived in the Sooner State for 28 years before returning to Dallas in 1986 to attend Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned his Master of Biblical Studies. While there, Dwyer worked part time on the sports staff of The Dallas Times Herald, which at the time owned one of the five largest circulations of any daily newspaper in Texas. It was in Texas that he met and married his wife Grace in 1988 and settled down to start his family.

In the spring of 1992, Dwyer and his wife founded the Dallas‐Fort Worth Heritage newspaper, which would grow to a circulation of 50,000 per month at the time of its sale, after nearly a decade, to new owners. The Heritage pioneered innovative features such as full color photography and graphics, an expansive web site, a cluster of informative daily radio programs, and an aggressive, uncompromising brand of investigative news reporting unprecedented for contemporary news publications holding an orthodox Christian worldview.

In 2006, at the urging of his family and the Oklahoma Historical Society, John returned to Oklahoma to tackle the colossal task of writing The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People, which was endorsed as an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. He has completed volume 1 (Ancient‐Statehood) and a portion of volume 2 (Statehood‐Present), which releases in November 2018. He is now in his twelfth year as Adjunct Professor of History and Ethics at Southern Nazarene University. He is former history chair at Coram Deo Academy, near Dallas, Texas. His books include the non‐fiction historical narrative The War Between the States: America's Uncivil War (Western Conservatory), the novel When the Bluebonnets Come (Bluebonnet Press), the historical novels Stonewall and Robert E. Lee (Broadman & Holman Publishers), and his newest historical novel is Shortgrass. It’s sequel, Mustang (Tiree Press) will release May, 2018.

John and Grace have one daughter and one grandson and live in Norman, Oklahoma.