Not often one to dig much into US history, I was thoroughly floored in recent weeks while reading William Bradford Huie’s book about US Army Private Eddie Slovik from Detroit, MI.

Slovik was shot to death by a firing squad comprised of US Army men in a small town in France on January 31, 1945 for the crime of desertion. He was 24 years old.

Then-General Dwight Eisenhower ordered the execution after Slovik twice acted to avoid the fight shortly after arriving on bloody World War 2 battlefields in the north of France.

Slovik had repeatedly made clear to his superiors before getting shipped to war that he missed his physically-challenged wife and wanted to return home to resume his life with her.

Published in 1954, “The Execution of Private Slovik” is a well-constructed, tirelessly reported, fact-packed account of Slovik’s pretty mundane life that becomes exceptional for how it ends. He was – and will likely stay forever – the only US soldier since 1864 to be killed by the US government for desertion.

Huie’s book is written much like a long magazine story with wonderful background from dozens of named sources. The real treasure of the book comes from the release of hundreds of love letters written by Slovik to his wife Antoinette while they were apart. Cooperation on the book from Slovik’s wife via the correspondence is crucial because it allows Huie to tell Eddie’s story without ever having been able to speak with him. He didn’t like guns, he feared conflict and he was so attached to his wife and their life together that he felt it was unfair the government was taking that away from him.

Eddie Slovik’s execution was long hidden from Antoinette and the public by the US Government. It was only when Huie met with her to discuss the book that she gained fuller knowledge of what happened. A postscript written by the publisher in a paperback version of the book more than two decades later says the US had long rejected all efforts by the widow to gain a modest death benefit and the return of her husband’s remains to Detroit. Jimmy Carter got involved on her behalf in 1978 to no avail but in 1987 a WW2 Vet named Bernard Calka won the return of his body so it could be buried next to Antoinette’s (she died in 1979).

I learned of Huie’s book from a NY Times Book Review piece in December entitled “The Year in Reading.” In it, the Times asked notable readers about what they read in 2016. The Serial podcast host/executive producer Sarah Koenig said she got a tout on the book by a former commander of Bowe Bergdahl. And so it goes.

Westholme Publishing sells paperback copies of the book via its web site. I borrowed my like-new copy from the Queens Library.

Playing a much-anticipated sold out homecoming gig in support of their first record, Long Island’s Lemon Twigs brought chops and flair way beyond their years last Tuesday night (2-21-17) at Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan.

Fronted by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario of Hicksville (pictured above), the band delivered a stunning 70-minute set that was accompanied by enthusiastic sing-along support from the age-diverse crowd.

A blend of glam, Who-like anthem-making and a touch of R and B, the Twigs are a wildly talented quartet that excel in the live setting way more than what you hear on their debut LP (recorded by the great Jonathan Rado in Los Angeles).

The first half of the set, older brother Brian stood at center stage with guitar while Michael played drums. Brian’s songs tilt more to the croon, They better incorporate the harmonies of keyboard player Danny Ayala who has great high end vocal range.

The two brothers switched places midway through. Michael’s songs are uplifting; a bit more straight ahead rock and roll with great guitar lines and catchy lyrics. Michael is also more showman, with leg kicks, prances and prowls. He leans back on the jam and explores all parts of the stage. When he’s drumming, he’s constantly twirling his sticks like Moonie used to do.

Said to be 20 and 18 respectively, Brian and Michael brought out their father Ronnie D’Addario early in the show to play Ronnie’s number Love Stepped Out. Ronnie has a large body of musical work and the sons say he heavily influenced their interest in music.

Both sons had significant stints as child actors which likely explains their comfort level with an audience on hand.

As I stood there watching them, I tried to recall if I’d ever seen such strong command in the delivery of a live performance from people so young. I have not.

On most tunes, both brothers and Ayala are all singing. It’s when they’re melding these vocals so wonderfully, you start thinking Beatles.

Bassist Megan Zeankowski is the only band member without a microphone in front of her. Most of the band’s footage I’d seen prior to the Bowery gig showed Zeankowski to be stone-faced and serious a la Entwistle. But for this show, she was constantly smiling and enjoying a visual back-and-forth with a gaggle of friends standing up front.

The best tune of the night came at the end. The Queen of My School brought a couple of divers from back stage. It was a rousing conclusion.

People were shaking their heads in awe after exiting the gig onto the Bowery going uptown. I overheard a couple of guys debating whether Brian should cede complete lead responsibilities to Michael.

Why worry about stuff like that now? They’re clearly enjoying the public’s warm embrace and seem grounded based on their interview with Cheryl Waters and how they conduct themselves on stage. Their rotating responsibilities make the band more interesting for us – and likely for them too.

What a thrill to see their performance. I’m rooting for them.