The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney: The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour

Today, I am delighted to host Glen Craney on his blog tour for The Yanks are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army. Glen has kindly treated us to an excerpt to whet your appetite – please see below.

You can follow the full tour here:

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THE YANKS ARE STARVING: A Novel of the Bonus Army

Two armies. One flag. No honor.

The most shocking day in American history.

Former political journalist Glen Craney brings to life the little-known story of the Bonus March of 1932, which culminates in a bloody clash between homeless World War I veterans and U.S. Army regulars on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Mired in the Great Depression and on the brink of revolution, the nation holds its collective breath as a rail-riding hobo named Walter Waters leads 40,000 destitute men and their families to the steps of the U.S. Capitol on a desperate quest for economic justice.

This timely epic evokes the historical novels of Jeff Sharra as it sweeps across three decades following eight Americans who survive the fighting in France and come together fourteen years later to determine the fate of a country threatened by communism and fascism.

From the Boxer Rebellion in China to the Plain of West Point, from the persecution of conscientious objectors to the horrors of the Marne, from the Hoovervilles of the heartland to the pitiful Anacostia encampment, here is an unforgettable portrayal of the political intrigue and government betrayal that ignited the only violent conflict between two American armies.


  • Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Finalist
  • Chaucer Award Book-of-the-Year Finalist
  • indieBRAG Medallion Honoree

Praise for The Yanks are Starving:

“[A] wonderful source of historical fact wrapped in a compelling novel.” — Historical Novel Society Reviews

“[A] vivid picture of not only men being deprived of their veterans’ rights, but of their human rights as well.…Craney performs a valuable service by chronicling it in this admirable book.” — Military Writers Society of America

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An Excerpt from The Yanks are Starving

As a blood-pressure cuff tightened around his arm, President Herbert Hoover thumbed through that morning’s edition of the Washington Star. He paused at a cartoon lampooning him on a whimsical fishing expedition to catch enough trout to feed a nation of Hoovervilles. That distasteful epithet, coined by wags to describe the thousands of shantytowns sprouting up around the country, never failed to roil his stomach. Disgusted, he looked away from the editorial page, only to be assaulted by the same oppressive drab green that closed in on him here every day. He had wanted to repaint the walls of the Oval Office white after a fire destroyed the wing two years ago, but Lou, feeling the mood of the country was not right for such an innovation, had prevailed on him to restore the place exactly as Taft had first modeled it.

I cannot even govern my own household.

The gyrating hand on the blood-pressure gauge finally settled, and Admiral Joel T. Boone, his reedy, mustached White House physician, regarded the result as if he had just been dealt a bad poker hand. He adjusted the cuff for another attempt, but the president shook his head and ripped it off, refusing to be clamped again.

Hoover didn’t need to be told the numbers were too high. The tightness in his chest and numbness in his hands were evidence enough. He glanced at his reflection in the glass of Lou’s framed picture on the desk. His graying hair had thinned and his eyesight was so weak now that he had to squint even with the spectacles. Each day seemed to bring more bad news, sapping his vitality drip by drip. Born a year after the Panic of 1873, he had witnessed fourteen recessions come and go, but none had lasted as long as this latest downturn sparked by the stock market crash in October of 1929. The food riots in the cities were now becoming more frequent. Just last month, hundreds of women had been reported sleeping in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Desperate for a respite from these burdens, he searched the mail, hoping for a letter from his son, Bert Junior. Instead, his gaze landed on the heel marks that his predecessor, Cal Coolidge, had left on the desk during his daily naps. He glared a silent curse at those infernal scratches. They had become his personal version of the Latin reminder whispered centuries ago by Roman servants to keep the emperors grounded in reality.

Memento mori… Remember, you are mortal.

This moribund economy was that snoozing New Englander’s fault! How many times had he warned Coolidge against the evils of easy money and speculation? But the obstinate man had refused to listen to him, choosing instead to escape during his last year in office to the Black Hills, where he had spent more time watching rodeos than dealing with falling farm prices. Now he knew why Woodrow Wilson had deteriorated so rapidly during his second term. On mornings like this, he yearned to be back at Stanford, far away from politics and taking care of his neglected—

“Mr. President, I cannot get an accurate reading if you don’t relax.”

He returned to the newspaper and flipped its pages to a report of a speech given earlier that week by that Tammany Hall puppet, Franklin Roosevelt. His mouth soured as he read the New Yorker’s vitriol glazed with sugary patrician eloquence. “Why is it, Joel, that when a man is on this job as I am, day and night, doing the best he can, that certain men seek to oppose everything he does just to be ornery?”

“Few people understand the stress of your job, sir.”

He knew what the editors of the Washington papers would say to that: At least he has a job. He tossed aside the Star and, hoping for more empathy from the Midwest, picked up the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Yet on page five, a two-paragraph notice below the fold sparked his ire again. He barked at the story, “Peel them for donations, why don’t you!”

Mystified by the president’s outburst, the admiral asked, “Sir?”

Hoover chastised himself for the indiscretion. More and more these days, he caught himself mumbling defences at the cascade of criticism about his national stewardship. He ruffled the newspaper in frustration—as if the confounded stories might be shaken from the page—and displayed for the admiral’s inspection the latest horror in print. It was an item tucked between accounts of the marriage of Amelia Earhart and the congressional push to have The Star Spangled Banner designated as the national anthem. “Look at this, Joel. They’re building a church in St. Louis out of orange crates.”

The physician felt his pulse. “How have you been feeling lately, sir?”

“As if I’m trapped in my own skin. Why is my face so puffy?”

“The swelling is edema. It’s caused by lack of sleep. Let’s try the other arm.”

A Little Bit About Glen…

Glen Craney

Glen Craney is an author, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. A graduate of Indiana University Law School and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he is the recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship Prize from the Academy of Motion Pictures and the Chaucer and Laramie First-Place Awards for historical fiction. He is also a four-time indieBRAG Medallion winner, a Military Writers Society of America Gold Medalist, a four-time Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist, and an Historical Novel Society Reviews Editor’s Choice honoree. He lives in Malibu and has served as the president of the Southern California Chapter of the HNS.

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