April 2nd, 1:00 pm – Frank Lavin – Home Front to Battlefront

Frank Lavin, author of Home Front to Battlefront will join us to discuss the World War II experiences of Carl Lavin.

Carl Lavin was a high school senior in Canton, Ohio, when Pearl Harbor was attacked. In his freshman year of college, he joined the reserves, a decision that would take him with the US Army from training across the United States and Britain to combat with the 84th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge. Home Front to Battlefront is the tale of a foot soldier who finds himself thrust into a world where he and his unit grapple with the horrors of combat, the idiocies of bureaucracy, and the oddities of life back home—all in the same day. The book is based on Carl’s personal letters, his recollections, and those of the people he served beside, official military history, private papers, and more.

Home Front to Battlefront contributes the rich details of one soldier’s experience to the broader literature on World War II. Lavin’s adventures, in turn disarming and sobering, will appeal to general readers, veterans, educators, and students of the war. As a history, the book offers insight into the wartime career of a Jewish Ohioan in the military, from enlistment to training through overseas deployment. As a biography, it reflects the emotions and the role of the individual in a total war effort that is all too often thought of as a machine war in which human soldiers were merely interchangeable cogs.

A life-long history buff, Frank Lavin was inspired to write this book by the sacrifices of U.S. and allied militaries in the Second World War. He dedicates “Home Front to Battlefront” to the men of Company L: “We are here today because they were there yesterday.”

In professional life, Lavin is an expert in China and China e-commerce, serving as the Chairman and CEO of Export Now, the leading international operator of e-commerce stores in China.

In Government, Lavin served as Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce 2005-2007. In that capacity, Lavin served as lead trade negotiator for both China and India and was the senior policy official in the Department responsible for commercial policy, export promotion, and trade negotiations across the globe. Lavin was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore from 2001-05, where his duties included helping negotiate the landmark U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.