Synopses & Reviews
In 1975, James Jonesand#151;the American author whose novels From Here to Eternity
and The Thin Red Line
had made him the preeminent voice of the enlisted man in World War IIand#151;was chosen to write the text for an oversized coffee table book edited by former Yank
magazine art director Art Weithas and featuring visual art from World War II. The book was a best seller, praised for both its images and for Jonesand#8217;s text, but in subsequent decades the artwork made it impossible for the book to be reproduced in its original form, and it fell out of print and was forgotten. This edition of WWII
makes available for the first time in more than twenty years Jonesand#8217;s stunning text, his only extended nonfiction writing on the war that defined his generation.
Moving chronologically and thematically through the complex history of the conflict, Jones interweaves his own vivid memories of soldiering in the Pacificand#151;from the look on a Japanese fighter pilotand#8217;s face as he bombed Pearl Harbor, so close that Jones could see him smile and wave, to hitting the beach under fire in Guadalcanaland#151;while always returning to resounding larger themes. Much of WWII can be read as a tribute to the commitment of American soldiers, but Jones also pulls no punches, bluntly chronicling resentment at the privilege of the officers, questionable strategic choices, wartime suffering, disorganization, the needless loss of life, and the brutal realization that a single soldier is ultimately nothing but a replaceable cog in a heartless machine. As the generation that fought and won World War II leaves the stage, James Jonesand#8217;s book reminds us of what they accomplishedand#151;and what they sacrificed to do so.
James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers
full of romance, action, and adventure
told with skill and grace.
America in WWII
A literary and journalistic achievement of the highest order, a book that illuminates [and] thrills
It will take your breath away.
Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Dark
and#8220;The most stirring and lucid account of World War II that I have ever read.and#8221;
and#8220;Anytime he writes of war you can smell the gunsmoke. A book like this was needed to remind us what it was like. . . . A remarkable achievement.and#8221;
and#8220;[Jones] overcomes the vastness of the event by emphasizing his personal experience of it, thus giving the reader a foothold in the text that is far more satisfying than gliding across a glossy overview. He overcomes his limited viewpoint of the war by symbolizing it in the experience of the common infantryman and locating in that experience a unique significance.and#8221;
and#8220;A remarkable history. . . .This was a substantial effortand#8212;[Jones] had both the long view and the personal one, having not only experienced the war but having thought long and hard about it.and#8221;
and#8220;Jones is a man of experience and memories. . . . [He] has written WWII with passion, projected in accounts of actions he never saw no less than of actions in which he participated. . . . Anyone can salute WWII as providing vivid vicarious experiences, a mind-bending extension into new territory of whatever one knew before, not only about war but about human nature.and#8221;
and#8220;An expert, eloquent personal remembrance of battles past, what it felt like to live each day as possibly oneand#8217;s last, what it felt like to go into battle, and finally what it felt like to get hit. . . written by one of the best combat novelists of our time.and#8221;
and#8220;Spectacular and revealing.and#8221;
and#8220;Amazing . . . . With his inimitable bent for realism, his perception and his combat infantry experiences in the South Pacific, [Jones] has managed to write about the whole war, in all its far-flung theaters, and with its entire cast of combatants. . . . . Should be required reading.and#8221;
and#8220;Combat, as it appeared to the GIs who dodged bullets and watched their comrades die, is brilliantly portrayed . . . . An antidote to the hundreds of books about the war which have been written by generals and politicians.and#8221;
and#8220;Anyone who truly wants to understand [our] civilization ought to read it.and#8221;
and#8220;Superb. . . the sights, the sounds and smells of the war as well as the feelings of the men who fought it. . . . WWII will bring the memories flooding back; for the student of that global conflict and for the general reader . . . a vivid, highly instructive capsule course in what happened during those dramatic 44-plus months.and#8221;
and#8220;This may be Jonesand#8217;s great contribution to the history of war.and#8221;
andldquo;This account is brutally honest, scathingly critical and even funny at times. Jonesandrsquo;s vivid, vulnerable memoir cuts through a veil of nostalgia that often surrounds the war. Instances of horror and levity punctuate his evolution as a soldier and the eventual begrudging acceptance of his own insignificant role in the American war machine. He also fiercely condemns the wasting of lives by careless or politically motivated strategists. Jonesandrsquo;s insightful mix of memoir and military history is engrossing.andrdquo;
andldquo;Jones does some remarkably sharp reflecting on the art and practice of history-writing itselfandmdash;this is an entirely, refreshingly earnest book for all its gruff jadedness. . . . andlsquo;In my old age I have about come to believe that the whole of written history is miscreated and flawed by these discrepancies in the two ideals systems,andrsquo; Jones (who was 52 at the time) writes, andlsquo;the one of how we would all like to believe humanity to be, but only the privileged can afford to believe is; and the one of how we all really know humanity in fact is, but none of us wants to believe it.andrsquo; In a way thatandrsquo;s both slightly ironic and slightly saddening, Jonesandrsquo; book manages to proceed equally in both those systems simultaneously, and the end effect, mesmerizing in its own way, is that of a smart, hot-hearted man trying to grapple with the epic thing that happened to him in his youth. Jones died far too young, only a couple of years after he wrote this book, and itandrsquo;s a powerful, curious testimony. The good folks at University of Chicago Press are to be congratulated for salvaging it and putting it in front of the bookshopping crowds this winter.andrdquo;
andldquo;A classic of its type. . . . Many eerie details . . . make [Jonesandrsquo;s] chronicle ring with authenticity, such as the look on the face of the wounded who have andlsquo;entered some realm where the others, the unwounded, cannot follow.andrsquo; . . . The Pacific and Europe, war art, the home front and much more are depicted with memorable immediacy.andrdquo;
“[A] moving story of survival, heroism, and escape.”—Alex Kershaw, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Liberator
“A must-read espionage and survival story…This is Argo meets Ernest Shackleton during WWIIs darkest days.”—Marcus Brotherton, Author of Shiftys War
andldquo;A unique and fascinating volume. Even now, after a perpetually surging Noahandrsquo;s flood of andlsquo;Good Warandrsquo; literature, WWII stands out as one of the most vivid documents ever produced on how the war looked and felt to those who experienced it firsthand. . . . A too-little-known piece of work by a great American writer, and readers will discover unexpected, alarming, dazzling or horrifying observations on every page.andrdquo;
Now in paperback the "amazing"( James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers) never-before-told story of the greatest escape of the Second World War.
In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 downed airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time.
The story of the dramatic transformation of Detroit from "motortown" to the "arsenal of democracy," featuring Edsel Ford, who rebelled against his pacifist father, Henry Ford, to build the industrial miracle Willow Run, a manufacturing complex capable ofand#160;producing B-24 Liberator bombers at a rate of one per hourand#8212;a crucial component in winning the war.
andldquo;A touching and absorbing portrait of one of the forgotten heroes of World War II . . . A. J. Baime has given us a memorable portrait not just of an industry going to war but of a remarkable figure who helped to make victory possible.andrdquo;andmdash;Wall Street Journal
As the United States entered World War II, the military was in desperate need of tanks, jeeps, and, most important, airplanes. Germany had been amassing weaponry and airplanes for five yearsandmdash;the United States for only months. So President Roosevelt turned to the American auto industry, specifically the Ford Motor Company, where Edsel Ford made the outrageous claim that he would construct the largest airplane factory in the world, a plant that could build a andldquo;bomber an hour.andrdquo; And so began one of the most fascinating and overlooked chapters in American history.
Drawing on unique access to archival material and exhaustive research, A. J. Baime has crafted a riveting narrative that hopscotches from Detroit to Washington to Normandy, from the assembly lines to the frontlines, and from the depths of professional and personal failure to the heights that Ford Motor Company and the American military ultimately achieved in the sky.
andldquo;Wars are fought on many fronts, and A. J. Baime chronicles this little-known, but terrifically important battle to build Americaand#39;s bomber force with narrative zest and delicious detail. Put simply, itand#39;s a great read.andrdquo;andmdash;Neal Bascomb, best-selling author of The Perfect Mile
andldquo;Fast-paced . . . the story certainly entertains.andrdquo;andmdash;New York Times
In the tradition of incredible true stories from The Great Escape to Argo, Savage Will recounts a tale of survival, daring, and evasion behind enemy lines: that of American medics and nurses stranded for two months in Nazi-occupied Albania.
In 1943, men and women of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron boarded a routine flight from Sicily to the Italian mainland to care for wounded soldiers. En route, their plane drifted hundreds of miles off course and crash-landed in remote mountainous Albania.
The unarmed Americans were trapped hundreds of blizzard-plagued miles from Allied lines, in a country torn apart by rival bands of pro- and anti-German guerrillas. Hunted by German soldiers, the castaways relied on what one survivor called their savage will” to elude their enemy and find their way to freedom.
What followed is the most thrilling untold story of World War IIa saga reaching from President Roosevelt and top Allied intelligence officials to a host of brave Albanian Resistance fighters, the British and U.S. Mediterranean air forces, and the dashing English lieutenant and the tenacious American captain sent behind enemy lines to carry out a heroic rescue.
About the Author
Timothy M. Gay
is the award-winning author of Assignment to Hell
, Satch, Dizzy and Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson
, and Tris Speaker: The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Baseball Legend
. His essays and op-ed pieces on American history, politics, public policy, and sports have appeared in the Washington Post
, the Boston Globe
, USA Today
, and many other publications. A graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in American history, Tim lives in Virginia with his wife and children.
Table of Contents
To Us Old Men
In the Beginning
I Didnand#8217;t Raise My Boy
The Coral Sea and Midway
Waiting While Waiting . . . a Look at Europe
First War Art
The Battle of Auckland
Green and Obscene
Is History Written by the Upper Classes for the Upper Classes?
The Art Programs
The Big War
The Forgotten Year
Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu
More on Humor: Mauldin
The Home Front
Love among the Riveters
Bloodbath at Omaha
Breakoutand#151; and the Long Haul
The Final Evolution
Philippines: First Leyte, and Then Luzon
Twilight of Some Old Gods
The Last Mile
The Last Yard
The Last Foot
Responsibility, but for What?
An End to It
Pass in Review!