About Neal Bertrand
In 2009, Neal Bertrand began scanning his dad’s World War II photos. Neal had never seen what was written on the backs of the photos because they had been attached to the pages of three photo albums kept in a cedar chest in the hallway of Neal’s childhood home. The photos were put in the albums in no particular order. But once he figured out the timeline, Neal was able to organize them by country, month, and year. After six months of culling the photos and researching diary entries of his dad’s outfit, the 863rd Engineer Battalion, Neal was able to trace his father’s steps from boot camp to war and back home.
Prior to starting the war book, Neal was involved in charting his genealogy. He joined two genealogy societies and charted his ancestry back ten generations. Genealogy is one of Neal’s favorite pastimes, as is cooking. Having been born and raised in Opelousas, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun Country, Cajun and cooking are synonymous to those familiar with the culture, so it’s no coincidence that Neal started his company, Cypress Cove Publishing, putting out cookbooks. It’s also no coincidence that his moniker since 2005 has been The Cookbook Dude. He is quick to recall that family holidays always revolved around food, no matter where he was. Whether it was barbecued steak from the cattle his family raised, or gumbo, Neal grew up with food and fun.
“What a wonderful piece of history. This is not only for the Bertrand family, but also for others who are interested in this period.”
“This is a fascinating first person view of an enlisted man’s perspective. You witness his part of the war through his eyes and camera lens.”