A Dawn Like Thunder
Tornado Squadron EightA Dawn Like ThunderRobert J. MrazekWorld War II Navy PilotsBattle of Midway


Robert J. Mrazek is a former five term U.S. Congressman who authored laws to protect the Tongass National Forest in Alaska and the Manassas Civil War battlefield in Virginia. He also wrote the Amerasian Homecoming act, which brought home the children of American military personnel from Vietnam, and the National Film Preservation Act, which established the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.

Since his retirement from Congress, he has served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations. He is a cofounder of the Alaska Wilderness League and served as its chairman for ten years.

In 1999, his novel Stonewall’s Gold won the Michael Shaara prize for the best Civil War novel of the year. In 2007, his third novel, The Deadly Embrace, earned the W.Y. Boyd prize for excellence in military fiction. His books have been published in fourteen countries around the world.

Robert is the father of two grown children, daughter Susannah Rose Mrazek and son James Nicholas Mrazek.  He resides in Ithaca, NY with his wife Carolyn and their two terribly spoiled cats.



Very few former members of Congress have ever decided to become working novelists after leaving public life. In fact, I may be the only one. Looking back on my life, I believe I was a writer who became a politician, rather than a Congressman who eventually turned to writing fiction as a second profession.

I’ve been writing stories since I was ten years old, and enjoyed pursuing this craft all through college. In 1968, I had just gotten out of the Navy after being placed on the disabled-retired list following a training accident at Officer’s Candidate School. I had spent two months in Newport Naval Hospital, sharing a ward with badly wounded Marines who had been evacuated from Vietnam.

After seeing first hand the human cost of the war in Vietnam, I was deeply disheartened, and decided to leave the country to attend the London Film School. Within five months, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy had been assassinated. Suddenly, my goal of writing fiction and making films abroad seemed trivial compared to the convulsive upheaval that was taking place at home.

My anger over the Vietnam War and its aftermath carried me a long way in politics. Yet, during my seventeen years in elective office, I never stopped writing. With four novels and one non-fiction book now completed since leaving public life, I’m as proud of the awards that my books have received as the legislation I authored in Congress.

One thing I never expected to confront after leaving Congress was the idea that my son James would end up volunteering to fight in a war that was in some ways similar to the one I volunteered for in May 1967. But that’s what happened. The writing phase of A Dawn Like Thunder took place during the fifteen months that he was deployed at a forward operating base south of Baghdad.

A Dawn Like Thunder is dedicated to him.


entire site copyright Robert J. Mrazek 2008