OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF
2019 IBPA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARD:
BEST NEW VOICE, NONFICTION
I remember the first time I saw the tattoo. I was just shy of five years old, and my dad was sitting at the dinner table telling Mom about his workday. Like every other day, he had gone to work wearing a long-sleeve shirt, but on that steamy hot day, he had changed into a cool white tee when he got home. The look was so foreign to me that it was the equivalent of seeing Mister Rogers without a sweater ...
In 1967, at age nineteen, John Stillman—refusing to wait for the draft—voluntarily enlisted in the Army to aid his fellow countrymen in one of the most opposed involvements in our nation’s history: the Vietnam War. Quickly falling in love with the rush of being a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne, he believed his service would honorably help the South Vietnamese protect their country from the ruthless communist North and their Southern allies. But once in the volatile jungles of Vietnam, the merciless hunting and killing of the enemy, constant threat of landmines and booby traps, ambushes that could easily backfire, and deaths of his comrades made Stillman question how any man—if he survived—could ever return to his life as he’d known it.
Written with John’s daughter, Lori Stillman, Jumping from Helicopters is a vivid and moving memoir that unearths fifty years of repressed memories with stunning accuracy and raw details. Interwoven with the author’s own journal entries and including thirty-five photographs, it is a story that will open your eyes to what these brave young men witnessed and endured, and why they returned facing a lifetime of often unspoken unrest, persistent nightmares, and forced normalcy, haunting even the strongest of soldiers.
JANUARY 26, 2020
WASHINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
410 Lafayette Street
Book conversation and signing
RSVP REQUIRED: 314.982.3232
READERS ARE SAYING ...
Lori Stillman started writing her story down in the form of a journal at a young age after discovering her love for books and words. Born in rural Missouri, she spent her youth exploring the forty acres of woods her parents owned, entertaining herself with a vivid imagination.
After managing a manufacturing company for twenty-two years, she reinvented herself as a certified personal trainer. Now a second-degree black belt, she loves helping people build strength and great health with her own fitness business.
A self-proclaimed tomboy and daddy’s girl, Lori is a wife, fur baby momma, and travel enthusiast. Her passion for hearing people’s stories sparked her interest in having her father tell his own. Jumping from Helicopters is her first book.
Born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis, John Stillman was a quiet boy yet found fun in teasing his younger sisters and brother. His love for the Rome plows in Vietnam led him to a career as an operating engineer, where he earned a living running the big equipment on job sites. Now retired, he busies himself helping out with nonprofit veterans organizations and tending to the almost one hundred acres he calls home in Missouri.
John has been happily married to his wife Rita for forty-eight years and is the father of four children, two daughters and two sons.
He still loves his road trips.