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Sailer tells tale of fighter pilot Beerbower

Photos provided Don Beerbower is shown in his P-51 Mustang, Bonnie "B".1 / 2
The book's jacket cover is fighter pilot Don Beerbower's plane banking toward the hedgerows of Normandy. It is titled "Summer Fury." The artist is Ron Finger of Baxter.2 / 2

Wadena author Paul Sailer has a book coming out in November profiling Major Don Beerbower, a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. It is called "The Oranges are Sweet."

Beerbower is a friend of Sailer's father in their hometown of Hill City, Minn.

Beerbower's father worked at the Farmers Equity Creamery in Wadena in 1922 as a buttermaker before moving to Hill City. Major Beerbower was one of America's top aces.

The book is a serious historical study of his life. It is about remembrance, courage, duty, leadership and love, according to Sailer. He shifts back and forth from the home front to aerial combat against the Luftwaffe.

Chip Borkenhagen, of Riverplace Communication Arts and the former publisher of Lake Country Journal, wrote this review of Sailer's book:

"So much of the time it's far too easy to take for granted the great freedoms our democracy provides. And, there are too many individuals who paid the ultimate price of protecting this democracy - with their lives. The thing is this; we will never know the names of the vast majority of those who die in combat - much less anything about them. So when an exemplary book is written that shines a light on these selfless and heroic individuals, it deserves to be recognized and applauded.

"Now we have the honor of a brand new book: 'The Oranges Are Sweet.' The author, Paul M. Sailer, has worked passionately and diligently over the past five years crafting the story of one of our own. Sailer, a Vietnam helicopter pilot himself, presents to the reader a loving, yet gritty account of P-51 Mustang fighter pilot Don Beerbower, a very young man hailing from Hill City, who lived briefly in Wadena when his father was employed at the Farmers Equity Creamery. He ultimately paid the highest price to help stop the dreaded and powerful forces of history's most evil regime - the Nazis.

"For readers who enjoy history, love stories and/or the fascinating world of aviation combat; they will find it all wrapped up in one of the most thoroughly researched and well-written books to originate from central Minnesota. From a short distance east of Wadena, to the thatched-roof villages of Northern France, we follow this young creamery worker through his true story that reads amazingly like a movie screenplay. This book is packed with plenty of authentic photos, maps, and - superb writing.

"'The Oranges are Sweet' (sorry, I can't divulge the origination of the title) will make one of the best gifts this year (even to yourself), and it's available from the gift store at the Wadena County Historical Society in November or through www."