| About the Book
After watching Saving Private Ryan in 1998, a thought struck Lawrence Meyers. Could his AP Calculus teacher, Mister Edwin Barlow, have been one of the men that stormed the beaches of Normandy? The rumors regarding Mister Barlow generally, and especially those who claimed he was a WWII veteran, resurfaced in Larry’s mind. He thought the time had come to learn what he could about his mysterious instructor, especially since the man had already had a major impact on Larry’s life.
He had no idea the project would become an obsession and take ten years to complete.
He began with research, although there was precious little to go on. His primary source was Mister Barlow’s sole surviving brother, Albert. Al, who had lost touch with his brother in 1950, was eager to learn all he could about his long-lost sibling. He graciously agreed to fill in his brother’s story from birth to age 28.
Al revealed that his brother had indeed been a WWII veteran. Using Mister Barlow’s social security number, Larry was able to get his war records. Col. Robert Dwan (Ret.) translated the Army’s code on Mister Barlow’s discharge papers, allowing Larry to determine Mister Barlow’s troop name. From there, Larry had to dig through ancient war records to find surviving members of Mister Barlow’s troop, as well as figure out their involvement in the European Campaign. Larry’s interviews with these distinguished heroes came in the nick of time, as many of them passed away soon thereafter.
A letter from a college classmate eulogizing Mister Barlow had fallen into Al’s hands. Using that, Larry was able to fill in stories concerning Mister Barlow’s time at the College of the Holy Cross. Letters of Recommendation filled in the missing years between his graduation and the beginning of his tenure at Horace Greeley.
Once at Greeley, Larry relied on over 500 alumni and faculty interviews to piece together Mister Barlow’s life after his arrival at Greeley.
Many other pieces of information, down to tiny details such as the church Mister Barlow attended as a youth and the teaching of a seminal instructor during his years at Harvard, could not have been possible without the internet. In the ten years from the beginning of his odyssey, right up to the very last draft, Larry continued to mine cyberspace and continued to strike gold.
With all the data collected, Larry set about the task of writing this challenging manuscript. He struggled with how best to tell Mister Barlow’s story. At first he attempted a strictly documentary approach, using only quotations and primary source material, with little commentary. Early readers yearned for more, however, asking the Larry to put himself into the book, to help the audience connect with Mister Barlow’s strange and aloof character. Subsequent drafts incorporated the author into the narrative, but it felt forced. Larry set the manuscript aside for two years, waiting for his Muse (or Mister Barlow’s spirit) to guide him towards the best method of storytelling.
In 2007, Larry retrieved the manuscript from a drawer. The answer had come to him, and the version published today reflects his commitment to telling Mister Barlow’s story.