Houston Newspaperman Wrote “Von Ryan’s Express”

On November 12, 1948, the Texas Institute of Letters awarded the McMurray Book Store’s $250 prize for Best Texas First Novel of the Year to David Westheimer for “Summer on the Water.”

The Rice graduate and Houston newspaperman had the rotten luck to be on-board the first B-24 shot down over Italy in December 1942 and spent the rest of WWII in a German POW camp.  Westheimer is best known for the best-selling novel “Von Ryan’s Express” published in 1964 and turned into the popular motion picture of the same name.

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