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William Durbin
23-01-04, 16:06

My name is William Durbin and I live in Northern Minnesota. I've written two novels about Finnish Americans: THE JOURNAL OF OTTO PELOTNEN & SONG OF SAMPO LAKE, and I have a third coming out in September called THE DARKEST EVENING, which deals with Karelia, Russia, 1935. Right now I'm beginning research on a novel for Random House that will deal with the Winter War. I would appreciate hearing from anyone with knowledge of the war from either a combat or a civilian perspective.

William Durbin

23-01-04, 17:27
Dear William,

Welcome on board! You will certainly find friends and interesting interlocutors here!


26-01-04, 18:08
Dear William,
I very much enjoyed Otto Peltonen and gave it to my 9 year-old granddaughter who also read it with joy. Song of Sampo is also well-written. Good luck with your winter war material. If you would like to visit Seattle, the Swedish Finn Historical Society library has two feet of library shelving devoted to the winter war, some of which is not available commercially, but published by veterans on their own behalf. Finland's Army archives has published an excellent short video on the war, available in English, German, Swedish, Finnish etc.

11-02-05, 08:17
Hi William
I'm excited about this forum site for the Finns. I'm Lori from Baudette MN but raised on the Range. Eveleth area .Was great to see some one so close to me on this site. I fish vermilion lots for musky. Am planing on reading your books .
Could you tell me about what a winter war is?

23-09-06, 15:25
Hi William,

I live in Sweden but I am born in Helsinki. My mother comes from
a place in Finland named Oravais.

My father took part in the Winter war but he passed avay some year ago. My mothers family are a long living strong family, they say the swedish finns live longer and seing my mothers family I tend to beleive that.

My mother is 93 her sister 97 her brothers 87 and 85 her oldest brother took part i the winter war I dont know if he feels to tell
about it but maybe. My mother and all her sibbling have a very
clear mind and the memory is fantastic.

Sunny greatings from Sweden


June Pelo
23-09-06, 20:28
Hello William,

We've corresponded previously when I tried to get some stories about the Winter War from relatives in Finland, but didn't have any luck. The relatives who were in that war have died, and the younger members didn't think they knew enough about it to write anything.

BTW one of my cousins lived on Lake Vermillion but now has moved to Aurora. Perhaps you knew him - Adrian Niemi? He teaches history at the high school there. Unfortunately he doesn't have e-mail or I'd ask him to contact you.


14-10-06, 06:07

This is a good summary for those interested.


Karen Douglas
14-10-06, 19:13
Hi William,

Has your book on Karelia, Russia 1935, been published, yet? I would be most interested in reading this one!



06-11-06, 19:39
I don't have any stories, but I have a picture of the house that my Grandma was born in and the was told that they had to move out because the Russian Army took it over.