Biographies Book

Book Review – The Road to Catoctin Mountain by Robert J Gerard

An Inspirational Memoir – A Journey of Faith, Family and Career

“The Catoctin Mountain Road.” is a memoir of the life of retired Colonel Robert J. Gerard. The book chronicles an intriguing journey from his childhood in New York and New Jersey during the depression of the early 1930s through a successful career spanning over forty-five years. He shares memories of his middle and high school experiences during World War II in detail.

Robert had a dual purpose in writing these memoirs: to leave a story of his life and experiences for his eight children and grandchildren. He wanted them to see him as a man with both strengths and flaws. He was also encouraged by friends to write his entertaining stories which convey information and inspiration. He hopes that by putting them to press, others will benefit from his experience.

After graduating from high school, Robert took a job at one of Edison’s factories in West Orange, New Jersey. He was impressed by the heroic war stories told by two fellow World War II veterans and enlisted in the army in 1951, eager to serve in Korea. During his basic training, he applied for and was accepted into Officer Candidate School before being sent to active duty during the Korean War.

Gerard records detailed accounts of his career assignments in the military and his observations of the leadership styles of many of his superiors and fellow officers. I personally enjoyed the subtle way Robert injected humor into recounting his various experiences, relationships and events. I found his frank observations on business management and the philosophies of classroom strategies and educational goals remarkable and vital.

Gérard’s professional background includes 31 years of service in the United States military, several post-retirement jobs with the state, federal government, civil society, and as a professor at Mount Saint Mary’s College on Catoctin Mountain. In this last professional adventure, Robert flourished as a teacher, mentor and advisor to his students.

A heartfelt and understated tribute to his wife and family characterizes the narrative as Robert writes about the importance of his wife Mary Lee to his success. Her children, her marriage and her career all have a part to play in this journey. The pride he has for the individual members of his family is a testament to their love and respect. The careers they chose and the constant pursuit of their parents’ faith are testimonies that justify this family pride.

I highly recommend “The Road to Catoctin Mountain” to retired and career service members of any branch of the U.S. military and their families, veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and all patriotic American citizens. It was an enjoyable reading experience.

As reviewed for Midwest Book Review

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