The Rockaway Boys and Maggie

goodlife guide

By Don Kellin

Rockaway Beach, NY, the few days between Labor Day, 1943 and the start of school back in the city. The east coast is vulnerable to spies launched from Nazi U Boats. After a lousy summer, Donny Becker, Ben Kaplan, and Maggie McCrane vow to do “something that counts.” They’ll have a great adventure that will save New York, and affect the war effort, their country, the world.
This novel for young people ages thirteen to a hundred and ten, set in the middle of the Second World War, in the Rockaway, Long Island of Radio Days, is powerfully relevant to all readers in light of September 11 and the new reality. The young heroes and heroine are under attack by a Nazi espionage squad who have landed on Long Island to destroy the bridges and tunnels that form Manhattan’s lifeline.
The adventure story weaves itself around many events that both could have and actually did happen. For these teenagers and their families whose brothers and sisters, sons and daughters were off fighting the war, their summer at the beach was colored by worry and helplessness. Fortunately for Donny and his friends, they find the chance to “do something big—something that counts” right under their noses in the sand under the Rockaway boardwalk. And unfortunately for the Nazis, Donny has a streak of relentlessness that will not be intimidated.The story also brings us a portrait of the developing race consciousness that will sweep the nation after the war. In the character of Sepal Joe, we discover a seemingly fearsome black man who lives under the boardwalk, trying to survive the loss of his family in the deep south. His opportunistic partnership with Donny, Maggie and Ben forms a tense foursome that is hardly ready for what fate is about to deal them.

And finally, The Rockaway Boys and Maggie offers today’s readers a genuine opportunity for catharsis. We can experience here that there was another time, not too far distant, when New York and America were also under attack from powerful forces that wished to destroy us. All of us, including young people, rose to the occasion then, and we eventually triumphed, though not without great sacrifice. This gang offers us great adventure, but they will also be an inspiration to people of all ages who may be worrying how the new challenges that confront us now will turn out.

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords in multiple eBook formats at

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow Schadowsky.
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