Whiting, Charles 1926–2007

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Whiting, Charles 1926–2007

(Richard Douglas, Duncan Harding, Ian Harding, John Kerrigan, Leo Kessler, Klaus Konrad, K.N. Kostov, L. Kostov, Charles Henry Whiting)


See index for CA sketch: Born December 18, 1926, in York, England; died of renal failure, July 24, 2007, in York, England. Educator, historian, and author. Whiting was the author of no less than 350 books in his lifetime, almost all of them about World War II. He served in the British Army toward the end of the war and afterward, then used his experience to write from the perspective of the ordinary, often unsung, soldier. His work was divided into historical studies, including titles under the pseudonym Leo Kessler, and action-adventure novels, under a variety of pen names. Whiting worked as a history teacher until his success as an author enabled him to retire from that pursuit, and many of his early writings were historical accounts of military operations and the men who participated in them. His books were sometimes critical of the motives of military leaders, especially when their decisions led to excessive casualties that Whiting considered unnecessary. One example is The Battle of Hurtgen Forest: The Untold Story of a Disastrous Campaign (1989). Another topic of interest to the author was what he saw as the deteriorating relationship between British and American forces as the war progressed; he described one such event in The Field Marshal's Revenge: The Breakdown of a Special Relationship (2004). Whiting did not neglect the other side of the conflict. He wrote often of German leaders and military activities, such as Siegfried: The Nazis' Last Stand (1982). Whiting was also a prolific novelist of the military-adventure genre. His novels of soldiers at war have been described as action-packed and violent thrillers, and, while they did not earn the author any major literary awards, they were enormously popular among his readers. Even his earliest efforts, such as The Frat War (1954), were well received. Whiting's most widely recognized pseudonym was the Kessler nom de plume, which he used for more than thirty years.



Times (London, England), September 18, 2007, p. 65.