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Virginia G Vassallo

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Unsung Patriot: How The Stars and Stripes Began
by Virginia G Vassallo   

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Publisher:  Krazy Duck Productions Type: 


Copyright:  August, 2007 ISBN-13:  9780977673926

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Unsung Patriot is the biography of Guy T. Viskniskki, who started The Stars and Stripes newspaper during World War I.

Krazy Duck Productions

Guy T. Viskniskki was the founder and first editor-in-chief of The Stars and Stripes, the newspaper for the American Expeditionary Froces during World War I.  Virginia G. Vassallo is his granddaughter and based much of her book upon his unpublished memoirs and family history.  Unsung Patriot weaves the struggles to establish The Stars and Stripes with a portrait of the man who was dynamic enough to accomplish the task.  Guy was a complex man and the author grew up with many competing images of him.  In writing this book she feels that she foudn her grandfather -- a man she never knew.


Guy proceeded to France on the first American convoy to run into the port of Brest. From there, he went to Paris to report to the commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in November, 1917. Much to his distress he was attached tot he Censor's field staff in the town of Neufchateau, which was the center of the training area for the 26th (Yankee) Division. Even the fact that he was the first active newspaperman to be attached to the Censor's field staff did not console him. Guy had hoped the call overseas meant that he would be "on the line." Instead he was escorting war correspondents to various points of interest. In his words, he was a nursemaid.

That winter of 1917 was made up of rain, mud, snow, fog and days without sunlight. The buck privates shivered in crude billets of barn lofts and pigsties. There was a strangely penetrating cold. The men were as homesick as "any boarding school lass away from home and mother for the first time." From the middle of November until New Year's day, 1918, never once was a star seen in the night sky. The regiments were broken up and scattered by companies and platoons in peasant villages nestled complacently among huge manure piles.

Professional Reviews

Review of Unsung Patriot by Richard R. Blake
Unsung Patriot: Guy T. Viskniskki
By: Virginia G. Vassallo

Every generation has its' heroes. Many of these receive medals, and ribbons to honor them for their service to our country. Others receive plaques, trophies, and acclaim for personal accomplishments in business, sports, or entertainment. There is also that myriad of heroes who never receive the accolades. These are the "unsung" heroes serving behind the lines while others receive the applause.

This is the biography of Guy T. Viskniskki, the founder, and first editor-in-chief of "The Stars and Stripes" newspaper, published during the fighting months of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I during 1917-1919.

At age forty, Guy put a successful career in newspaper editing and publishing on hold and responded to a sense of patriotism by enlisting in armed forces. He hoped to be placed on the frontline with the troops in Europe. However, he was assigned to General Headquarters guiding newspapermen throughout the American zone in France. While traveling through France he conceived the idea of a newspaper written "by and for the soldiers" of the A.E.F. He saw this as a need to raise morale among the troops.
By November in 1917 Second Lieutenant Guy T. Viskniskki was press officer and censor at the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Already a veteran of the Wheeler Newspaper Syndicate, and former editor of the Bayonet, a camp newspaper of the Eightieth Division, Camp Lee, Virginia Guy was asked to develop his idea and to explore the feasibility of publishing a newspaper for the AEF.

Once it was determined that an AEF newspaper could be produced in France, Viskniskki became the first managing editor of "The Stars and Stripes." Guy successfully faced the challenges of staffing, paper shortages, and maintaining editorial control with integrity. "Stars and Stripes" became Guy's legacy. After the war he again resumed his newspaper career, served as editor of several newspapers, and as a consultant in the publishing field.

Proud of her heritage and of her Grandfather's accomplishments Virginia Vassallo produced this book as a tribute to honor his memory. What started as a few notes and memories to preserve some family history for her grandson became a monumental project. Her fascination for one more bit of information drove her into writing this thoroughly researched and well documented monument to this "Unsung Patriot: Guy T. Viskniskki".
Virginia used her grandfather's unpublished memoirs, various internet sources, interviews with family members, and numberless newspaper articles, and correspondence to research the background information this book. She contacted Jim Mayo, President of the Stars and Stripes Museum for help. Jim was eager to assist her in this project and provided additional valuable resource information.

Guy T. Viskniskki will long be remembered for his patriotism, integrity and perseverance for the things he valued. The book will provide inspiration to small town newspaper editors and the editor-in-chiefs of newspapers across the world. Veteran's Associations, Sons of the American Revolution, and members of the American Legion will remember Guy's indefatigable efforts for their causes. As readers they will applaud this tribute to a tireless mentor and for his advocacy for the peoples of United States of America.

Virginia's respect and admiration for the accomplishments of Guy T. Viskniskki came through beautifully. She masterfully created well-rounded word pictures of this dynamic, yet complex, man whose legacy is the "Stars and Stripes." Virginia is very articulate, her words are well chosen. Her organization is meticulous, and her presentation is convincing. I say "Bravo!"

Reviewed By: Richard R. Blake,
U. S. Navy Veteran, Korean Conflict
Book Store Owner
Christian Education Consultant

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