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John Smolens & Benjamin Busch

In the Main Tent at 4, two of our favorite guys, John Smolens and Benjamin Busch, join us to discuss Mr. Smolen’s latest book, Wolf’s Mouth.

ben busch

Benjamin Busch

Mr. Busch is a United States Marine Corps infantry officer, photographer, film director, and actor whose many roles have included Officer Anthony Colicchio on the HBO series The Wire. He is the author of the memoir Dust to Dust about his childhood and his war experience in Iraq.

John Smolens is a professor and a writer and his latest book, Wolf’s Mouth, is about Italian officer Captain Francesco Verdi, who is captured in 1944 by Allied forces in North Africa and shipped to a POW camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where the senior POW, the ruthless Kommandant Vogel, demands that all prisoners adhere to his Nazi dictates. His life threatened, Verdi escapes from the camp and meets up with an American woman, Chiara Frangiapani, who helps him elude capture as they flee to the Lower Peninsula.


By 1956 they have become Frank and Claire Green, a young married couple building a new life in postwar Detroit. When INS agent James Giannopoulos tracks them down, Frank learns that Vogel is executing men like Frank for their wartime transgressions. This is a book and an author you won’t want to miss, as you’ll find out about less well known portions of Michigan history and learn how a gifted writer can combine truth and fiction.