Archbishop Wore Combat Boots: Memoir of Extraordinary Life

Tom Brokaw endorses “... riveting tale of heroism, sacrifice and public service by a charter member of the greatest generation.”

HUNTINGTON, Indiana,August 23, 2010– Testimonials continue to roll in for 97-year-old New Orleans Archbishop Philip Hannan's epic memoir, The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots (Our Sunday Visitor),which recounts his involvement in practically every major event of the 20th century.

Veteran broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw,renowned for his 1998 bestseller, The Greatest Generation which paid tribute to America's 20th-century heroes,just endorsed the Archbishop's book as a"riveting tale of heroism, sacrifice and public service by a charter member of the greatest generation. [Hannan] went from foxholes to the Vatican to the parishes of Louisiana and the confidence of Jackie Kennedy. It is a story of faith, friendship and dedication told with wit and wisdom."

Only in this rare new biography does Jackie Kennedy pour out her grief and love for her slain husband in letters to her close friend and confidante, Archbishop Philip Hannan.

"If only I could believe that he (Jack) could look down and see....how nobody will ever be the same without him," wrote Jacqueline Kennedy to then-Bishop Philip Hannan on Dec. 20, 1963. "It will be so long before I am dead and, even then, I don't know if I will be reunited with him. Even if I am, I don't think you could ever convince me that it will be the way it was while we were married here."[“The Funeral of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy” (Chapter 1) from The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots, From Combat, to Camelot, to Katrina: Memoir of an Extraordinary Life by Archbishop Philip Hannan with Nancy Collins and Peter J. Finney, Jr. (457 pp, hardback, Our Sunday Visitor, June 2010).]

In his memoir, the 97-year-old Hannan… cousin to co-author, Nancy Collins… Archbishop of New Orleans… WWII chaplain with the famed 82nd Airborne… friend and secret counselor on Church doctrine to President Kennedy… spiritual advisor to Jackie (who handpicked him to deliver the eulogy at her husband's funeral… gives his own intimate account of his providential relationship with two of history's most influential figures… his participation in one of its most iconic days: November 25, 1963, the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. In stirring new detail, Hannan reveals the pivotal role played that day by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as well as their close, personal relationship in the years after.

And now, 47 years later, the Archbishop striving "to refute the misconception that the Kennedy marriage was one of convenience not love… that Jack's infidelities had harmed a relationship which, from my close personal perspective, was always grounded in true emotional conviction"… has revealed (after much serious consideration) two remarkably frank letters, written by a widowed, broken hearted Jacqueline Kennedy. Using her own words, Archbishop Hannan believes they will finally prove what he has always known: "that despite Jack Kennedy's faults, Jackie loved him until the end."

See story in TheDailyBeast.com: The Daily Beast Book Review - The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots

Whether parachuting behind enemy lines… jumping into a Secret Service sedan for a White House meeting with JFK… or navigating the swirling flood waters of Hurricane Katrina… New Orleans' Archbishop Philip Hannan knows only one way to operate: totally committed and full speed ahead!The embodiment of "The Greatest Generation," Archbishop Hannan's intellect, wit, generosity, and work ethic were unparalleled when fighting for what he believed in: the dangers of fascism, the preservation of the Faith, the inherent, if unforeseen, pitfalls in advising politicians on Church doctrine.

The son of Irish immigrants who settled in Washington, D.C, Father Hannan, a WWII chaplain with the famed 82nd Airborne, parachuted during the Battle of the Bulge and Ardennes Offensive, serving in post-war Berlin. Adelegate to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), he defied the Council’s intention to promulgate a ban on nuclear weapons, by leading the charge to promote the morality of nuclear weapons when used as deterrents. A champion of civil rights during his 25 years leading the New Orleans Archdiocese, he escorted Pope John Paul II during his three-day visit to the city in 1987.

At 92, Hannan proved to be one of the heroes of Hurricane Katrina. Armed with a golf club to ward off potential looters, he barricaded himself in the studios of Focus Worldwide, the religious TV station he ran in retirement, subsisting for three days (sans electricity) on peanut butter crackers and water… before talking his way through police lines to drive alone across the 24-mile Causeway Bridge to minister to evacuees.

Now grab a front row seat on this extraordinary man's always fascinating, ever-humbling journey as he makes his mark on the pivotal events of the 20th century. Go behind the scenes as Archbishop Philip Hannan – at age 97, still the quintessential priest and American – details the events, pressures, decisions, and emotions of his one-of-a-kind experiences… proving, once again, the impact that one human being can have on history.

Archbishop Hannan still lives in New Orleans.

Ed Rollins, senior political analyst for CNN, Republican Campaign Manager, and author, endorses the story of Archbishop Hannan's life unabashedly: "The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots is an extraordinary story that needs to be told. And almost wasn't! At its core, it's about our country's history and unique moments, told by a man who lived, loved, and counseled some of the giants who made that history. The humble priest, who became the Archbishop, was always the simple priest to those who needed him most. It took a unique man to have lived this life," says Rollins.

“But it took a writer of the extraordinary talent of Nancy Collins to capture the color and emotion and retell it as if the reader were there and can see it and feel it themselves," Rollins adds. "Nancy Collins is not only among America’s great writers, but a great observer and commentator on the political game, the world of fashion, and the entertainment scene. When she walks into a room she observes it all and gets it right… like the great hunting guides of yesteryear who take you to places unknown and let you see the unseeable."

Renowned author, Anne Rice, had this to say about the book:"Any time a man in his nineties decides to write a memoir, we have an opportunity for wisdom and insight. And here is the memoir of a truly exceptional man, whose long life has brought him into contact with other truly exceptional people and events… . During my years in New Orleans, I knew Archbishop Hannan to be a remarkably gracious and interesting man, much loved by the diocese of which he was Archbishop, much appreciated by generations of Catholics in that most unusual of southern cities. I've been waiting a long time for this compelling and fascinating story. This is a book to be thoroughly enjoyed, and given as a gift: the memoir of brave World War II soldier, a devoted friend of the Kennedys, a witness to the great events surrounding Vatican II, a great churchman.”

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Product Fact Sheet

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The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots:
From Combat to Camelot to Katrina
Memoir of an Extraordinary Life

Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Author: Archbishop Philip Hannan with Nancy Collins and Peter Finney, Jr.
Release Date: June 2010
Length: 457 Pages, Paperback
Price: $24.95
ISBN: 978-1-59276-697-0
Order www.osv.com
1-800-348-2440

Description

An embodiment of the “Greatest Generation,” New Orleans’ Archbishop Philip Hannan’s long-awaited memoirs take the reader on an incredibly humble journey, which connects him with critically important people, places, and events spanning the 20th century.

Whether parachuting behind enemy lines in World War II, jumping into a Secret Service car for an impromptu White House meeting with President Kennedy, or navigating the swirling flood waters of Hurricane Katrina, the Archbishop’s wit, generosity, and work ethic were unparalleled as he spoke out against fascism, stood up for his faith, and negotiated the pitfalls of politics.

The behind-the-scenes details, pressures, and emotions from his one-of-a-kind experiences provide a new level of understanding of, and perspective on, the subtle impact one man can have on history.

Broadcast Interview Questions For Nancy Collins

  1. Tell us a bit about your cousin, Archbishop Philip Hannan – who he was, and what he has been known for during much of the past century.
  2. And so, what spurred your involvement in co-writing the Archbishop’s memoirs at this time?
  3. And what of his relationship between President and Mrs. Kennedy? What does the book go into there that may be very new to people?
  4. What is your opinion of the value of the Archbishop’s real-life stories in the book, as compared to those of other famous people you’ve interviewed throughout your career as a journalist?
  5. Describe for us a few of your family memories of your cousin, Archbishop Hannan.
  6. What does his new book tell us about, for instance, the things he felt most strongly about during his life?
  7. How was he involved in World War II? And give us some insight into how he felt about the factions in that war.
  8. The Archbishop was also involved in the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s. What were his accomplishments there?
  9. Many have said that Archbishop Hannan is truly the embodiment of the ‘greatest generation.’ Can you briefly explain that?

Broadcast Interview Questions For Peter Finney, Jr.

  1. How did you come to be involved in the writing of Archbishop Hannan’s memoirs?
  2. What was working with him like in putting together his memoirs?
  3. And which of those memoirs recounted in the book most struck you when he first related them to you personally?
  4. Talk to us a bit about his relationship with John and Jackie Kennedy. What does he delve into in the book about them that he didn’t divulge until now?
  5. And what does the Archbishop teach us all today, as he nears his 100th birthday – and has been involved in so many key events of the past century (World War II, the Second Vatican Council, as personal advisor to the Kennedys, in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath)?
  6. Finally, how has working with the Archbishop affected you personally?

About the Authors

Archbishop Philip Hannan

Archbishop Philip HannanThe son of Irish immigrants who settled in Washington, D.C, Archbishop Philip Hannan (born May 20, 1913) was a chaplain with the 82nd Airborne during WWII, parachuted during the Ardennes Offensive, serving in post-war Berlin. Adelegate to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), he defied the Council’s intention to promulgate a ban on nuclear weapons, by leading the charge to promote the morality of nuclear weapons when used as deterrents. A champion of civil rights during his 25 years heading up the Church in New Orleans – in 1987 he escorted Pope John Paul II during his three-day visit to the city.

At 92, he proved to be one of the heroes of Hurricane Katrina. Armed with a golf club to ward off potential looters, he barricaded himself in the studios of Focus Worldwide, the religious TV station he ran in retirement, subsisting for three days (sans electricity) on peanut butter crackers and water… before talking his way through police lines to drive alone across the 24-mile Causeway Bridge to minister to evacuees. Archbishop Hannan still lives in New Orleans.

Nancy Collins

Nancy CollinsNancy Collins is a highly respected journalist whose in-depth interviews with President Bill Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Tim Russert, Will Smith, and Rudy Giuliani, among others, have appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest, Rolling Stone, New York, George, Interview, Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, Life, and Good Housekeeping.

As an on-air correspondent for NBC’s ‘Today’ show and ABC’s ‘Primetime Live’ and ‘20/20’, Ms. Collins’ interviews have included Senator Joe Biden, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Diane Keaton, and Linda Tripp. In 1990, Random House published her memoir-cum-anthology, Hard to Get: Fast Talk and Rude Questions Along the Interview Trail in hardcover, followed by the Harper Collins edition in soft cover. Nancy lives in New York City.

Peter Finney, Jr.

PeterFinneyPeter Finney Jr. has served as executive editor and general manager of the Clarion Herald, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, since 1993. In 2001 and 2009, he was named by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada as the national winner of the Individual Excellence Award for an Editor/Writer.

He is a former sportswriter for the New York Post and New York Daily News and was selected in 1988 as the recipient of the “Dick Young Award” by B’Nai B’Rith International for “achievement and continuing excellence as one of New York’s top sports journalists.” Peter and his wife, Carolyn, have four children.