In Rails of War: Supplying the Americans and Their Allies in China-Burma-India (Potomac Books), author Steven James Hantzis paints a gritty and realistic picture of the struggles that faced brave GI railroaders in India during World War II. Hantzis will speak at the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club on August 22 at 6:00 p.m.

In a theater of war long forgotten and barely even known at the time, the author’s father, James Harry Hantzis, and his fellow soldiers labored at a thankless task under oppressive conditions. Nonetheless as Rails of War demonstrates, without the men of the 721st Railway Operating Battalion, the Allied forces would have been defeated in the China-Burma-India conflict in World War II.

“An incredible look at the monumental task of these logistics superheroes. . . . These unsung members of our Greatest Generation worked miracles, and Steve Hantzis does a wonderful job capturing the danger, the difficulty, and the rewards in a very personal way,” said Gen. Gene Renuart, USAF (Ret.). “As a commander of our Flying Tigers in Desert Storm, I especially enjoyed the parallels between the logistics of World War II and Desert Storm.”

The author draws on his twelve years as a railroad brakeman-conductor and intimate knowledge of the industry and its culture to illustrate the remarkable story of the extraordinary men of the 721st, who moved an entire army to win the war. With vignettes featuring the men who served and references to family letters, the narrative is told from an enlisted man’s perspective with all the color and detail readers enjoy. The book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, University of Nebraska Press, and other U.S. and international sellers.

About Steven James Hantzis

Steven James Hantzis is a retired Grand Lodge representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. He worked twelve years as a brakeman-conductor for Conrail. Both his father and his great-grandfather were railroaders. The author is available for interviews. Please contact him at [email protected].

About the University of Nebraska Press

Founded in 1941, the University of Nebraska Press is a nonprofit scholarly and general interest press that publishes 150 new titles annually under the Nebraska, Bison Books, and Potomac Book imprints, and in partnership with the Jewish Publication Society, along with nearly 30 journals. As the largest and most diversified press between Chicago and California, with more than 3,000 books in print, the University of Nebraska Press is best known for publishing works in Native studies, history, sports, anthropology, and geography, American studies and cultural criticism, and creative works. For more information, please visit

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