The Things Our Fathers Saw: The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA-Voices of the Pacific Theater


Matthew A. Rozell - 2015
    You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away. — ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn't talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran ~From the author of 'The Things Our Fathers Saw' World War II eyewitness history series~ How soon we forget. Or perhaps, we were never told. That is understandable, given what they saw. — ‘I was talking to a shipmate of mine waiting for the motor launch, and all at once I saw a plane go over our ship. I did not know what it was, but the fellow with me said, 'That's a Jap plane, Jesus!' It went down and dropped a torpedo. Then I saw the Utah turn over.’ ~Barney Ross, U.S. Navy seaman, Pearl Harbor At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracks down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay. — ‘Rage is instantaneous. He's looking at me from a crawling position. I didn't shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal These are the stories that the magazine could not tell to the American public. — ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, 'I think we're getting hit with a banzai. We're going to have to pull back. 'Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation, when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask. — ‘I hope you'll never have to tell a story like this, when you get to be 87. I hope you'll never have to do it.' ~Ralph Leinoff, Marine veteran Iwo Jima, to his teenage interviewer This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed. — ‘After 3½ years of starvation and brutal treatment, that beautiful symbol of freedom once more flies over our head! Our POW camp tailor worked all night and finished our first American flag! The blue came from a GI barracks bag, red from a Jap comforter and the whit

Rescue at Los Baños: The Most Daring Prison Camp Raid of World War II


Bruce Henderson - 2015
    victory in the Pacific drew nearer, the Japanese army grew desperate, and its soldiers guarding U.S. and Allied POWs more sadistic. Starved, shot and beaten, many of the 2,146 prisoners of the Los Baños prison camp in the Philippines—most of them American men, women and children—would not survive much longer unless rescued soon.Deeply concerned about the half-starved and ill-treated prisoners, General Douglas MacArthur assigned to the 11th Airborne Division a dangerous rescue mission deep behind enemy lines that became a deadly race against the clock. The Los Baños raid would become one of the greatest triumphs of that war or any war; hailed years later by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell: “I doubt that any airborne unit in the world will ever be able to rival the Los Baños prison raid. It is the textbook operation for all ages and all armies.”Combining personal interviews, diaries, correspondence, memoirs, and archival research, Rescue at Los Baños tells the story of a remarkable group of prisoners—whose courage and fortitude helped them overcome hardship, deprivation, and cruelty—and of the young American soldiers and Filipino guerrillas who risked their lives to save them.

Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons


Walter Lord - 1977
    Though their importance has long been acknowledged, the coastwatchers had received relatively little attention until the publication of this book in 1977. The remarkable band of individualists, operating deep behind Japanese lines in the dark days of 1942-43, lived by their wits alone yet gave the Allies their best intelligence and rescued many a man from downed planes and sinking ships-including John f. Kennedy and his PT-109 crew. To piece their story together, Lord traveled 40,000 miles to interview participants, check archives, and examine private letters and diaries. He even made a three-day hike through the Guadalcanal jungle to inspect the coastwatcher hideout on Gold Ridge so he could successfully put readers in their shoes. The book's varied cast of intriguing characters has attracted readers ever since.

Strong Men Armed: The United States Marines Against Japan


Robert Leckie - 1961
    Marines' unprecedented, relentless drive across the Pacific during World War II, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, detailing their struggle to dislodge from heavily fortified islands an entrenched enemy who had vowed to fight to extinction—and did. (All but three of the Marines' victories required the complete annihilation of the Japanese defending force.) As scout and machine-gunner for the First Marine Division, the author fought in all its engagements till his wounding at Peleliu. Here he uses firsthand experience and impeccable research to re-create the nightmarish battles. The result is both an exciting chronicle and a moving tribute to the thousands of men who died in reeking jungles and on palm-studded beaches, thousands of miles from home and fifty years before their time, of whom Admiral Chester W. Nimitz once said, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."Strong Men Armed includes over a dozen maps, a chronology of the war in the Pacific, the Marine Medal of Honor Winners in World War II, and Marine Corps aces in World War II.

We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers


Marcus Brotherton - 2009
    They were the men of the now-legendary Easy Company. After almost two years of hard training, they parachuted into Normandy on DDay and, later, Operation Market Garden. They fought their way through Belgium, France, and Germany, survived overwhelming odds, liberated concentration camps, and drank a victory toast in April 1945 at Hitler's hideout in the Alps. Here, revealed for the first time, are stories of war, sacrifice, and courage as experienced by one of the most revered combat units in military history. In We Who Are Alive and Remain, twenty men who were there and are alive today-and the families of three deceased others-recount the horrors and the victories, the bonds they made, the tears and blood they shed...and the brothers they lost.

Bomber Boys: Fighting Back, 1940-1945


Patrick Bishop - 2007
    Patrick Bishop looks back at the lives, human realities and the extraordinary risks that the painfully young pilots took during the strategic air-offensive against Germany from 1939-1945.

Serenade to the Big Bird


Bert Stiles - 1952
    the whole low squadron was gone ... blown up ... burned up ... shot to hell ... one guy got out of that.” At the age of twenty-two, Bert Stiles joined the American Air Force. Two years later he began his life as a co-pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress, flying high over Germany and bombing cities far below. In his moving memoir of that time Stiles takes you right to the heart of life as a young bomber pilot in World War Two; the terror of being under fire from flak and German planes, the disillusionment in their mission, the thoughts of girls back home and those they’d met on their travels, the dreams of the future and the overwhelming tiredness that hung over every member of the crew. “A book of terrific impact. Perhaps the best to come out of World War II.” The Philadelphia Inquirer “The serenade is a simple and moving story of the war in the air. The big bird was a Flying Fort. She had a crew of ten men and all but one of them were 20 to 24 years old. … They went out on missions together into Germany from England. They ran into flak and had the daylights scared out of them, and burned out their guns shooting down 109's and Focke-Wulfs. They dropped bombs on Berlin and other cities, and hated war, and did not like to think what their bombs had done.” The New York Times Bert Stiles was a student at Colorado College in 1942 when he joined the American Army Air Force. He received his commission in November, 1943, and went overseas to Great Britain in March, 1944. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross and was a veteran of thirty-five bomber missions. Instead of returning to America when leave was due to him, he requested to be transferred to fighters. On November 26, 1944, he was shot down in a P-51 on an escort mission to Hanover. He died at the age of 23.

The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan Before Pearl Harbor


Samuel Kleiner - 2018
    Led by legendary army pilot Claire Chennault, these men left behind an America still at peace in the summer of 1941 using false identities to travel across the Pacific to a run-down airbase in the jungles of Burma. In the wake of the disaster at Pearl Harbor this motley crew was the first group of Americans to take on the Japanese in combat, shooting down hundreds of Japanese aircraft in the skies over Burma, Thailand, and China. At a time when the Allies were being defeated across the globe, the Flying Tigers’ exploits gave hope to Americans and Chinese alike. Kleiner takes readers into the cockpits of their iconic shark-nosed P-40 planes—one of the most familiar images of the war—as the Tigers perform nail-biting missions against the Japanese. He profiles the outsize personalities involved in the operation, including Chennault, whose aggressive tactics went against the prevailing wisdom of military strategy; Greg “Pappy” Boyington, the man who would become the nation’s most beloved pilot until he was shot down and became a POW; Emma Foster, one of the nurses in the unit who had a passionate romance with a pilot named John Petach; and Madame Chiang Kai-shek herself, who first brought Chennault to China and who would come to visit these young Americans.A dramatic story of a covert operation whose very existence would have scandalized an isolationist United States, The Flying Tigers is the unforgettable account of a group of Americans whose heroism changed the world, and who cemented an alliance between the United States and China as both nations fought against seemingly insurmountable odds.

The Fall of Fortresses: The Classic Account of One of the Most Daring and Deadly Air Battles of WWII


Elmer Bendiner - 1980
    

Admiral Nimitz


Brayton Harris - 2012
    After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Nimitz assembled the forces, selected the leaders, and - as commander of all U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces in the Pacific Ocean - led the charge one island at a time, one battle at a time, toward victory. A brilliant strategist, he astounded contemporaries by achieving military victories against fantastic odds, outpacing more flamboyant luminaries like General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral "Bull" Halsey. And he was there to accept, on behalf of the United States, the surrender of the Japanese aboard the battleship USS Missouri in August 1945. In this first biography in over three decades, Brayton Harris uses long-overlooked files and recently declassified documents to bring to life one of America’s greatest wartime heroes.

Aces High: The Heroic Saga of the Two Top-Scoring American Aces of World War II


Bill Yenne - 1988
    But only one could be top gun... Capturing the hearts of a beleaguered nation, the fighter pilots of World War II engaged in a kind of battle that became the stuff of legend-and those who survived showdowns earned the right to be called aces. But two men in particular rose to become something more. They became icons of aerial combat, in a heroic rivalry that inspired a weary nation to fight on. Richard "Dick" Bong was the bashful, pink-faced farm boy from the Midwest. Thomas "Tommy" McGuire was the wise-cracking, fast-talking kid from New Jersey. What they shared was an unparalleled gallantry under fire which earned them each the Medal of Honor. What separated them was a closely watched rivalry to see who would emerge as the top-scoring American ace of the war. What they left behind is a legacy and a record of aerial victories that has yet to be surpassed anywhere in the world.

Honor and Betrayal: The Untold Story of the Navy SEALs Who Captured the ""Butcher of Fallujah""--and the Shameful Ordeal They Later Endured


Patrick Robinson - 2013
    NOW THEY HAD TO DEFEND THEIR HONOR. On a daring nighttime raid in September 2009, a team of Navy SEALs grabbed the notorious terrorist Ahmad Hashim Abd al-Isawi, the villainous “Butcher of Fallujah,” mastermind behind the 2004 murder and mutilation of four American contractors. Within hours of his capture, al-Isawi, with his lip bleeding, claimed he had been beaten in his holding cell. Three Navy SEALs—members of the same team that had just captured the notorious terrorist—were charged with prisoner abuse, dereliction of duty, and lying. On the word of a terrorist! The three Navy SEALs were placed under house arrest and forbidden contact with their comrades. Despite enormous pressure from their commanders to sign confessions to “lesser charges,” the three resolute and fearless SEALs each demanded a court-martial. They were determined to prove their innocence. When Fox News broke the story about the accusations, Americans were outraged. Over 300,000 people signed petitions demanding the SEALs be exonerated. Their SEAL teammates were furious; but nothing could stop the cold determination of the military’s top brass to hang these guys out to dry—not even U.S. congressmen who petitioned the Pentagon to drop the charges.Honor and Betrayal is a no-holds-barred account by bestselling author Patrick Robinson. It reveals for the first time the entire story, from the night the SEALs stormed the al-Qaeda desert stronghold, the accusations and legal twists and turns that followed, to the cut-and-thrust drama in the courtroom where the fate of three American heroes hung in the balance.

The Saga of Pappy Gunn


George C. Kenney - 1959
    He was one of the great heroes of the Southwest Pacific in World War II, a mechanical genius, and one of the finest storytellers I have ever known.” Four-star General Kenney pays tribute to a remarkable man in this biography. Colonel Paul Irvin (“Pappy”) Gunn was a fearless fighter who demonstrated his qualities of leadership. To the youngsters fresh from the training fields and untried in air combat he was an example, an inspiration, a confidence builder, and an invaluable man to have around. As well as a brilliant pilot, Pappy was also a formidable aviation engineer. If any piece of equipment from the airplane itself to any of its hundreds of accessories failed to work, the universal answer was “Pappy can fix it,” and Pappy could and did. Kenney's book uncovers the remarkable life of Pappy Gunn and his exploits through the Second World War, explaining why many generals, admirals and soldiers acknowledged that he was one of aviation's great pioneers. ‘Pappy Gunn is a loving tribute by the youngest son of one of the United States’ greatest heroes, one that highlights the humanity of a man who was a legend in his own time.’ — HistoryNet ‘An affectionate biography of an almost legendary Air Force hero’ — Kirkus Reviews George Churchill Kenney (1889 –1977) was a United States Army Air Forces general during World War II. He is best known as the commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), a position he held from August 1942 until 1945. Kenney wrote three books about the SWPA air campaigns he led during World War II. His major work was General Kenney Reports (1949), a personal history of the air war he led from 1942 to 1945. He also wrote The Saga of Pappy Gunn (1959) and Dick Bong: Ace of Aces (1960), which described the careers of Paul Gunn and Richard Bong, two of the most prominent airmen under his command.

Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II


Belton Y. Cooper - 1998
    . . I have never before been able to learn so much about maintenance methods of an armored division, with precise details that underline the importance of the work, along with descriptions of how the job was done."--Russell F. Weigley, author of Eisenhower's Lieutenants"Cooper saw more of the war than most junior officers, and he writes about it better than almost anyone. . . . His stories are vivid, enlightening, full of life--and of pain, sorrow, horror, and triumph."--Stephen E. Ambrose, from his Foreword "In a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one man's assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them."--Library Journal "As an alumnus of the 3rd, I eagerly awaited this book's coming out since I heard of its release . . . and the wait and the book have both been worth it. . . . Cooper is a very polished writer, and the book is very readable. But there is a certain quality of 'you are there' many other memoirs do not seem to have. . . . Nothing in recent times--ridgerunning in Korea, firebases in Vietnam, or even the one hundred hours of Desert Storm--pressed the ingenuity and resolve of American troops . . . like WWII. This book lays it out better than any other recent effort, and should be part of the library of any contemporary warrior."--Stephen Sewell, Armor Magazine "Cooper's writing and recall of harrowing events is superb and engrossing. Highly recommended."--Robert A. Lynn, The Stars and Stripes "This detailed story will become a classic of WWII history and required reading for anyone interested in armored warfare."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"[Death Traps] fills a critical gap in WWII literature. . . . It's a truly unique and valuable work."--G.I. Journal

A Thousand Shall Fall: The True Story of a Canadian Bomber Pilot in World War Two


Murray Peden - 1992
    Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high. German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.Murray Peden's story of his training in Canada and England, and his crew's operations on Stirlings and Flying Fortresses with 214 Squadron, has been hailed as a classic of war literature. It is a fine blend of the excitement, humour, and tragedy of that eventful era.