Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Charles Dukes  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: 1923 in Georgetown, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Dukes has lived in Georgetown, Illinois all of his life.

Biographical and Professional Information

Charlie Dukes (Co. L, 413th Inf. 104th Timberwolf Div.) was one of the last documented World War II prisoners of war (POW) to be repatriated at the end of the war. He reached Allied lines at the Elbe river on May 27, 1945, some 20 days after the end of the war and after escaping from a Russian-controlled camp at Luckenwalde, Germany. He was a prisoner of war of both the Germans and the Russians and managed to escape not once but twice after he was recaptured the first time. He cut the bottom two rows of barbed wire fencing around the camp and crawled across mine fields to freedom. When Dukes finally made it to safety, he learned his weight had dropped from 180 pounds to 109. But the mental anguish was worse than the physical. After he returned home, he had constant nightmares. His wife encouraged him to write a book about his experiences, and he finally agreed. The result was Good Morning, but the Nightmares Never End. He said that after he sent the book to the publisher, he never had another nightmare. After his discharge from the Army, Dukes finished college and married his college sweetheart, Gracie Schwab, and helped raise their family of two boys and two girls in his native Georgetown, Illinois. Now retired from banking and his own business ventures, this combat veteran and former POW spends his time carrying his message to students in area schools as a "living link to history." Emphasizing freedom and self-discipline, he speaks about his experiences, beliefs and convictions, cautioning young people to guard their freedom zealously. Dukes has also opened a World War II museum of memorabilia he has collected over the years.[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTaNjnGc0AA Click here] to see Charlie's Central Illinois World War II Stories - Oral History Interview.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Good Morning: but the Nightmares Never End
ISBN: 0964142325

Tales Press. 1997

GOOD MORNING: BUT THE NIGHTMARES NEVER END is one combat soldier's experience as an infantryman on the front lines of World War II Europe, as a prisoner of war in a German work camp, then as a prisoner of another sort in a Russian detention camp and as a displaced, disillusioned veteran after the war's end. This is author Charlie Dukes' own story of his perilous, horrific and heart-breaking journey, but one that was also, ultimately, triumphant.


Awards

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