William Douglas Lansford


The best-selling, critically acclaimed narrative biography of the lengendary Mexican hero Pancho Villa. First published internationally in hardcover. It became the insperation for the hit Paramount picture "Villa Rides". Bill Lansford says "My purpose in writing this book is to stand Pancho Villa up, right there in front of you and let him be still while you walk around him. If I succeed, you should be able to discover how tall he was, how he moved, the actual configuration of his face and body; his likes, hates, fears; his way of thinking and his manner of speach. Then I will set him in motion like a resurected man, and let you see what he was, how he became that...and why." Buy at amazon.com

Fighting Leathernecks

In this exciting new book by Bill Lansford you will join the Fighting Leathernecks for some of the fiercest battles in the history of their proud Corps. From the Voodoo jungles of Haiti to the bloody hills of North Korea, read their stories of courage and sacrifice as the Marines draw on guts and training to overcome impossible odds. Buy at amazon.com

The Wind And The Ships

The Wind and the Ships is an exciting novel based on the first Kamikaze attack. It tells the story of the men who formed the Kamikaze Corps and of the men who commanded the American ships in one of the war's most ferocious air/​sea engagements.

The book has only recently been completed and will soon be submitted for publication.


A chapbook of 14 contemporary poems about puddle-jumping through life.

A book of poems that realistically and romantically examines the lives of the Aztecs from the coming of Cortes to the fall of Tenochtitlan.


"An American Story" -- The life and death of Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon, USMC, Congressional Medal of Honor.

"The Life and Death of 'Manila John' Basilone", USMC, Congressional Medal of Honor.

Both appearing in "LEATHERNECK", Magazine of the Marines.


Angie, Kiko and Liano, 3 Latino teenagers from East L.A., cross the 4th Street Bridge to see what the rich "gringo world" holds for them. Inspired by their fantasy pirate hero, Captain Blood, they move from one exciting adventure to another, learning what lies beyond the barrio and how they fit into the world they've challenged.


My name is William Douglas Lansford. I'm a veteran of World War II and Korea, so you know I'm no spring chicken, but what is age? Age is a box you store a lifetime of adventures in; and if you were lucky enough to be born when I was - in 1922 - time is a book of 20th century history, with some fresh chapters in the new millenium.

If you'd like to drop me a note, I can be reached at:


I'm a writer. I've written books, films, television episodes, and longform movies. Maybe you've seen or read some of my stuff. I write about things I've seen; the times I've lived through in what's been called the most turbulent, interesting century in all history; the era of the so-called "Greatest Generation." I've recorded some of of that history for those of you who came along a little later or who had a father, a mother, a favorite uncle, maybe a grandfather (if you're that young) who experienced some of that history along with me. Those were wild, dangerous times, I'll tell you, and I've put down what I saw because one couldn't be there and not want to document it for those who followed - or just to reread it later and ask yourself: "God! Did that really happen?" But war's not the only thing I've written. I've written about my dad, who grew up a real cowboy and later became a tough L.A. cop. I've written about the real Wild West he knew as a kid growing up in Texas, New Mexico and early Los Angeles, and about the lawmen and gunfighters - good or bad - and the adventurous Soldiers of Fortune who fought in wars all over the world, then rode south to join Pancho Villa's revolution... And about old Pancho, himself. Now, there was a character! I think that researching and writing my book, PANCHO VILLA, was just about the most fun I've ever had.
Well, I could go on and on and bore the crap out of you (if I haven't already) so I'd better stop.
I'm supposed to do a website, but what the hell does an aging warhorse born in '22 know from websites? I can't even turn on a computer without help. So let me just put down the stuff some of my friends thought might be interesting and you can e-mail me a tell me if it sucks or if you'd like to see more.
Anyway...here goes...

If people's lives fitted in neat little boxes, mine would look something like this:

...But since people don't live in boxes, but in an active, ever changing world, I've enjoyed changing, too.

Meanwhile, like most writers in the BWS ("Before Websites") world, I mostly stayed behind the cameras, behind the scenes, and behind the print. So you might well ask: "Who is this guy?"

Actually, I came from a foreign country called East Los Angeles where I grew up a skinny little Mexican-American kid in a home where frijoles and tortillas were king and only Spanish was spoken. It was in kindergarten that I first heard a language called English and fell in love with its sounds and with the magic they could create. This is why I love the art of wordsmanship, what we call "writing." And this is what this site is really all about. So, rather than just say "Welcome!" let me say it as we'd say in East L.A.: "Bien venidos, amigos. Mi casa es su casa...and let my words be yours, as well."


My life began near downtown Los Angeles, in an old 2-story Victorian house on the corner of California and Stockton Streets on the morning of July 13, 1922. My mother, Rosalina Melendez, was born in Juarez, Mexico, my father, William Lunsford,(my family spells it both ways) was born in Tyler, Texas.

My mom's dad was don Guillermo Melendez, a Spaniard who settled in Juarez and became a prominent painting contractor. My grandmother, dona Felipa Gonzales, a wonderful Chihuahua Indian lady,was his housekeeper whom he married after both had been widowed for some years.

My father's family was Scotch-Irish-English. His dad, "Rocky," was a Marshal in El Paso who apparently shot several badmen. He died of dysentery while in his early 40's. Dad's mother, a Southern lady known as "Reb," soon removed herself to Philadelphia where she became an actress and theatre manager, leaving "Billy" (my dad) in the care of Felipe Lucero, a famous New Mexico sheriff and "man hunter" who raised Dad as a cowboy, taught him to speak fluent Spanish, and loved him like a son.

At 16, my father joined the Army to fight in the Philippine Insurrection. When the U.S. entered World War I, he re-enlisted as a Sergeant in the field artillery and fought in France, remaining with Gen. "Blackjack" Pershing's occupation forces in Germany until 1919.

In 1920, Dad gravitated from El Paso to Juarez where he met a 16-year-old Juarez beauty named Rosalina Melendez. After convincing her straight-laced father that he was suitable husband material, he married my mom and they headed for Los Angeles, where he became a cop and she became a singer-actress. The marriage didn't last. Shortly before I was born, Mom and Dad divorced. He went on to become a police captain and Mom to become a star in the (then) very popular Spanish language theatre.

I've gone into all this because people sometimes ask me why, if I'm proud of my Mexican heritage, did I change my name? Or why was I raised in a Spanish-speaking home when my name is Lansford?

You may be relieved to learn that what I've written here is pretty much all I know about my family.

If you'd like to comment, you can reach me at:

Current Works:

Review by: Robert B. Loring In the rarified world of great military history storytelling, we have located a book of remarkable distinction. The new book, “The Fighting Leathernecks,” writ­ten by William Douglas Lansford, quali­fies with a near-perfect score. For within its pages reside the accounts of some of our Corps’ most legendary fig­ures. And, although you surely may have examined some of these bold ac­counts on a starlit night around a campfire, trust me, you’ve never heard their stories told with such gusto, and told in such an enjoyable way. Ahoy, Raiders! The esteemed author, William D. Lansford, is himself something of a legend. He served with the storied 2d Marine Raider Battalion during the early days of the Pacific campaign. He made the landing on Makin Island and took part in the battalion’s “long march” during the hotly contested Guadalcanal campaign. Lansford’s rough-and-tumble stories of these hard-fought desperate days are filled with the mud-Marines’ salty language. They include the personal accounts of famous Marines we all know and love, and perhaps thanks to this fine work, some with whom you will soon become acquainted. But while Marines everywhere will enjoy reading the chronicles of these famed Medal of Honor winners, the book also gives us remarkable insight into these iron-hard Marines, as flesh and blood human beings. Notably, we revisit the glory days of such astonishing Marines as Evans F. Carlson, Smedley D. Butler, Herman Han­neken, Anthony Biddle, David M. Shoup, Mitch Paige, John Basilone, Thomas A. Wornham, Clyde Thomason and Eugene Obregon. One other reader wrote, “If most of these names don’t ring a bell, then you’ve let your Marine Corps knowledge dull and tarnish like those who fail to shine the back of their brass. That is all the more reason to buy this book.” Of course what makes each of their personal stories—really vignettes—more intriguing is that the author personally knew, or served, with most of them. His knowledge of his subjects and his master­ful writing skill help bring each of these “Giants of the Corps” to us: up-close and personal. Additionally, the author includes some interesting stories of some things we’ve, most likely, never heard. Does anyone, aside from our honored surviving Carl­son Raiders, remember the 2d Raider Battal­ion’s “war-games” raid on Lualualei? Prior to their deployment to meet the Japanese on the jungle island of Makin, Lieutenant Colonel Carlson’s men took on a nearly impossible training mission. In this true-to-life exercise, the Raiders infiltrated and captured a well-protected U.S. base on one of the Hawaiian Islands. None of the high brass, but perhaps Carl­son and his Raiders, expected that it could be done. So, grab a copy of this captivating book and find out how the highly trained Raiders managed to do the near-impossible. A joy to read, this book will keep Ma­rines and other military history buffs intrigued. Cover to cover, from Haiti to the ridges overlooking Seoul, Korea, read­ers feel they are in the presence of the leathernecks who inspired them to join up. Aside from the author’s somewhat annoying habit of incorrectly referring to the Medal of Honor as the “Congressional” Medal of Honor, this book carries us along with the iron men whose names decorate the mess halls of our youth. “Ahoy, Marines—shine your brass, then zero in on this outsized history of our Corps’ bigger-than-life heroes. Editor’s note: A prolific reader and Leatherneck contributor, “Red Bob” Lor­ing is dedicated to supporting social pro­grams improving the lives of citizens in East Pasco County, Fla.
Chapbook of 14 poems
A book of poems in the style of the pre-Columbian Nahua poets.
A Book, A Narrative Biography
A best-selling narrative biography recently re-released.
A Feature Film
A festival-winning independent feature soon to be ready for distribution.
The book has recently been completed and will soon be submitted for publication