The Yanks are Starving

Media Kit

Book Title: The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army

Author: Glen Craney

Publication Date: January, 2014

Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press

Page Length: 561

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @glencraney @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @thecoffeepotbookclub (please use hashtag #GlenCraney)

Hashtags: #historicalfiction #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Title and Author:

THE YANKS ARE STARVING: A Novel of the Bonus Army
Glen Craney


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


by Glen Craney

American soldiers denied their service bonuses. Protesters stage sit-ins to expose the greed of big banks. Homeless veterans huddle in tents. Rising anger against politicians sparks a populist movement.

Headlines ripped from recent front pages—and from newspapers published eighty-five years ago.

History doesn’t repeat itself, Mark Twain warned, but it often rhymes. And during the Great Depression, similar stories of woe and outrage held the nation’s alarmed attention. Long before Occupy Wall Street, there was Occupy Washington.

In my historical novel, The Yanks Are Starving, I tell the story of eight Americans who survived the fighting in France during World War I and came together fourteen years later to determine the fate of a nation on the brink of upheaval. Culminating with what became known as the Bonus March of unemployed war veterans, the novel is a sweeping epic of the government betrayal that sparked the only violent clash between two American armies under the same flag.

I became interested in the history of the Bonus March while covering Congress as a Washington, D.C. reporter. After moving to Los Angeles to write movie scripts, I turned my research into one of those screenplays that Hollywood executives say would make a great movie, if only the timing were right. Legendary screenwriter Harry Essex, a mentor and friend, begged me to “shake out” the script into a novel, so I did. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, Harry remembered the Bonus Marchers, and he told his UCLA writing class that my screenplay was the best he had read in years. I dedicated the novel to him.

Had the Bonus Army tragedy not happened, most would dismiss it as too improbable for fiction. Yet in 1932, a charismatic but troubled Oregon hobo decided he’d had enough of eating slumgullion stew and begging for work. Ignoring scoffs that he was a crackpot dreamer, Walter W. Waters jumped onto a boxcar in Portland and led two hundred of his fellow homeless war veterans on a rolling invasion bound for Washington. He was determined to tell President Herbert Hoover of his plight in person.

Reports of this pied-piper quest quickly spread across the country, and within weeks 40,000 veterans and their families, all hungry and desperate, surrounded the U.S. Capitol. This threadbare band of veterans camped in the city for three months and vowed to stay until Congress voted to pay their service annuities early.

Their hopes for government salvation, however, were soon dashed.

On July 28 of that tense summer, Army Chief-of-Staff Douglas MacArthur donned his uniform and took to the field for the first time since 1918. Convinced that the protesting veterans were a mob of slackers and Communists, the general ordered his tanks, cavalry, and regular infantry to drive the veterans from the city and burn their pitiful shacks. Within minutes, Pennsylvania Avenue was a scene of mayhem with flying tear-gas canisters, coughing onlookers, and flashing bayonets. After the despairing veterans scattered back across the country, shocked Americans blamed Hoover for the debacle and voted him out of office during the presidential election that November. 

Today, too many of us have a short memory regarding our country’s treatment of returning veterans. I hope the novel serves as a cautionary tale for those who may think that homelessness, joblessness, and psychological adjustment to civilian life are unique challenges for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, nearly 50,000 veterans were homeless in 2014, almost one of every nine. There is, thankfully, more assistance for returning servicemen and women now than in 1932, but effort to eradicate this scourge continues.

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Images, public domain:

3. Burning Veterans Camp (1932)

Public Domain

4. Bonus Army Fight (1932)

Public Domain

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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Author Bio:

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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