Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harry Spiller  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1945 in Marion, Illinois


-- Harry Spiller on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=harry+spiller


Illinois Connection

Spiller was born in Marion. He received a BS in Criminal Justice, a BA in Political Science, and an MPA at Southern Illinois University. He resides in West Frankfort, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Harry Spiller, began his career in public service in 1963 as a recruiter for the United States Marine Corps, delivering death messages and organizing funerals for those killed in action. A decade later, he worked as a lawman in Southern Illinois before serving as Sheriff of Williamson County from 1982 to 1989. In 2008 he retired from his position as an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois, where he taught for 28 years.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Prisoners of Nazis: Accounts by American Pows in World War II
ISBN: 0786403489

McFarland Publishing. 1997

The Nazis called them Kriegsgefangen, a term that the prisoners of war shortened to “Kriegie.” The nickname hid the reality for the nearly seven million POWs who were placed in the German camps during World War II. These men consistently faced food shortages, medical needs were often ignored, barracks were barely heated, and personal hygiene was nearly impossible. Conditions depended on the soldiers who controlled the camp. Regular army guards might withhold clothing and food, but generally did not physically abuse the prisoners. The SS troops administered beatings, torture and murders. In this work, 19 POWs provide a vivid and often poignant look at their treatment by the Germans. The soldiers range from those captured in the D-Day invasion to B-17 crew members shot down during bombing raids.

American POWs in Korea: Sixteen Personal Accounts
ISBN: 0786405619

McFarland & Company. 1998

Over 7,000 Americans were captured during the three years of the Korean War. They wound up in 20 camps throughout North Korea with nearly 40 percent of them dying there. Some were murdered or starved, others died from poor medical treatment or from the severe cold. Despite brutal conditions, most of the POWs survived the isolation, cold, hunger and disease. Here are 16 personal accounts of men who fought the North Koreans and the Chinese and then faced life as a POW. They talk about the psychological effects, the living conditions, the medical situation, the day to day details, and liberation. These compelling stories paint a full picture of life as a prisoner of war in Korea.

Sheriff: A Memoir of a Lawman from Bloody Williamson County, Illinois
ISBN: 1563115077

Turner. 1999

This 160 page book serves as a memoir of a lawman (Harry Spiller) from Williamson County, Illinois and tells of his stories and ventures as a sheriff.

Pearl Harbor Survivors: An Oral History of 24 Servicemen
ISBN: 0786411791

McFarland & Company. 2001

On December 7, 1941, Japan waged a surprise attack on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. It was a major victory for the Japanese Navy, which in less than two hours destroyed 188 American planes, damaged another 159, and sunk or seriously damaged 18 U.S. warships. The battleships Arizona and Oklahoma were sunk. The battleships California, West Virginia and Tennessee were badly damaged and would not rejoin the United States fleet for months. Over 2,400 American military personnel were killed and 1,178 were wounded. The Japanese lost 29 planes and pilots, five midget submarines and one large sub with their crews. Here are 24 personal accounts of servicemen who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. These accounts cover in detail the location of each man and his experience during and after the actual attack. Also included is general information about Pearl Harbor.

Vietnam: Angel of Death
ISBN: 1890551066

Southeast Missouri State University, Center for Regional History. 2002

Vietnam: Angel of Death is an account of author Harry Spiller’s experience as a Marine Corps recruiter in southern Illinois and southeast Missouri from 1967 to 1970. Following two combat tours in Vietnam Spiller was transferred stateside and placed in Cape Girardeau, Missouri from which he sought to meet recruitment quotas, delivered death messages, and organized funerals, often for many of the young men he had recently recruited. Spiller was the youngest and one of the most successful Marine recruiters in the nation. When he began his assignment in 1967 he was dedicated, patriotic, and full of "Semper Fi." By late spring of 1970 Spiller looked down at a high school auditorium full of innocent, young students, and discovered how the war had changed him. He slowly turned and walked away, unable to continue. The transition is told here in a powerful, sensitive, often agonizing manner, the only such story published by a Vietnam veteran.

This is an account of the Vietnam war from a unique perspective. It is the story of a good man, who had a bad job and felt guilty about it. In May of 2000 Spiller accompanied his son to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D. C., and together the two of them confronted and, as related in the book’s epilogue, partially resolved his anguish.

American POWs in World War II: Twelve Personal Accounts of Captivity by Germany and Japan
ISBN: 0786442751

McFarland & Company. 2009

These accounts describe the battle and POW experiences of twelve American military men captured by either Germany or Japan during World War II. Brutality, frostbite, disease, hunger, strenuous working conditions, and the jubilation of release are presented in the words of the soldiers, who describe such events as the Bataan Death March, the battle for Wake Island, D-Day, and the Battle of the Bulge and vividly portray the camps where they watched their comrades in arms suffer and perish. The book also features photographs, maps, camp lists, and POW regulations.

Murder in the Heartland: Book One
ISBN: 1596527978

Turner. 2011

In a place where murder isn’t supposed to happen—Southern Illinois—deputy sheriff and investigator Harry Spiller learned the hard reality: murder is all around us. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a big city or small county with farms and churches—murder is swift and can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. All too often, victims fall prey in places we think are safe to raise our families, where we take walks on hot summer nights, where our children play in the park or yard without concern, and where we leave our doors unlocked at night. Murder in the Heartland tells the stories of innocent victims in these seemingly innocent places. From his research and investigations of twenty murder cases, Spiller recounts the gruesome details of an axe murder, a hitchhiking incident, serial killings, and even a victim buried within the concrete floors of her own basement. As much as we like to think we’re safe, murder can happen even in rural America—and it does. Join Spiller in his first of three installments of these horrifying murders in the heartland.

Murder in the Heartland: Book Two
ISBN: 1596527986

Turner. 2011

In a place where murder isn’t supposed to happen—rural Missouri and Southern Illinois—deputy sheriff and investigator Harry Spiller learned the hard reality: murder is all around us. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a big city or small county with farms and churches—murder is swift and can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. All too often, victims fall prey in places we think are safe to raise our families, where we take walks on hot summer nights, where our children play in the park or yard without concern, and where we leave our doors unlocked at night. Murder in the Heartland, Book 2 tells the stories of innocent victims in these seemingly innocent places. From his research and investigations of ten murder cases, Spiller recounts the gruesome details of a fraternity hazing gone deadly, teen killings, and even murders by those living and working with the victims. As much as we like to think we’re safe, murder can happen even in rural America—and it does. Join Spiller in the second installment of his three-book series of these horrifying murders in the heartland.

Murder in the Heartland: Book Three
ISBN: 1596527994

Turner. 2011

In a place where murder isn’t supposed to happen—rural Missouri and Southern Illinois—deputy sheriff and investigator Harry Spiller learned the hard reality: murder is all around us. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a big city or small county with farms and churches—murder is swift and can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. All too often, victims fall prey in places we think are safe to raise our families, where we take walks on hot summer nights, where our children play in the park or yard without concern, and where we leave our doors unlocked at night. Murder in the Heartland, Book 3 tells the stories of innocent victims in these seemingly innocent places. From his research and investigations of twelve murder cases, Spiller recounts the gruesome details of a homicidal nurse, a murder instigated by the devil, and the “death of the machine.” Each account includes chilling mug shots, crime scene photos, and interviews from the murderers themselves. As much as we like to think we’re safe, murder can happen even in rural America—and it does. Join Spiller in the last installment of his three-book series of these horrifying murders in the heartland.


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