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Reviews and Recommended Books

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 Recommended Books about WWII and The Korean War


These books are available at . . .
Amazon and Barnes and Noble
and other outlets


Babysan: A private look at the Japanese occupation.

By Bill Hume

A reader, Spencer Reston, was kind enough to trust me with a treasure found in his father's home. It is, indeed a treasure. It is old. A 1962 edition and written when the Japanese occupation was fresh on Japan and America's mind

Baby: "a very young child, especially one newly or recently born." Also: "a young woman or a person with whom one is having a romantic relationship (often as a form of address). - Google

San: "Japanese honorific subtitle attached to the end of peoples name." As is Papasan -Wikipedia

An affectionate term for a young Japanese woman with whom you are having a relationship. An affectionate, loving, and honorific term bestowed on her (collectively) by GIs.

In late 1945 the Japanese people discovered that Americans were not the monsters they were told they were. Americans, on the other hand,

found that the Japanese people were friendly, gentle, pleasant people not at all like they were expecting. A two nation love affair started that continues today.

This is the story (cartoons really) that chronicles this new understanding. Japanese children were thrilled when occupation GIs gave them chocolate instead of cooking and eating them.

"Babysan, a carefree and charming girl, never forgot the acts of kindness on the part of the American soldier." She decided to make their stay in the land of Cherry Blossoms a pleasant one and saw no sense in restricting her charms to one GI.

Her antics are the loving subject of this mostly cartoon book. Each page is a cartoon of Babysan and her GI admirers with explanations opposite.

This copy is very fragile and the old pages tear very easy so it must go back to Spencer to become an heirloom. Used copies, however, are available both on Amazon for up to $500 but much cheaper on eBay and other. It is not a large book so a simple search for it on Google images show most, if not all, with the accompanying text.
Well worth the search!

Pain Poems and Patriotism

By Grace Katherine Tillery

Imagine a young mother and happy homemaker in a small Texas town thrust into World War II! Only in her late 30s, she must face a life she had never planned for. Imagine signing a release to let your oldest son just 17 join the Army Air Force. Imaging facing the draft for your youngest son.

She tells you how a patriotic mother feels about women in combat.

In poetry she writes about her youngest son and to her oldest in Germany in 1945. Even a sad lament from an unborn baby who's chosen father to-be is dying. "My father is dying, dying I say On a cold and cruel battleground."

This is an amazing insight into life in WWII. Click here

Killing the Rising Sun

By Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

"Thank God for the BOMB! It saved my life." As editor of I have heard this from every survivor of the Pacific War that I have interviewed or talked to. Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard confirmed this in this amazing book!

They also explained what has been called a special relationship between Marines and Japanese soldiers. The Bushido Code meant that a Japanese soldier could not surrender without bringing great shame on himself and family. The Marine could not surrender because he had seen for himself the unspeakable horrors the Japanese soldiers committed on captured Marines. The battles between them in New Guinea was described by historian Eric Bergerud as a "knife fight out of the stone age"

The decision to drop the bomb: Truman was tormented when making the painful decision to use the atomic bomb. According to his papers, he was actually considering other options when Secretary Byrnes, Secretary of State (1945–1947), suggested that, if he didn't use the bomb, he should also consider what he would say during his

impeachment for letting millions die when he could have stopped the war. What would he say to the mothers of young men who died when he could have prevented it?

This the best book I have read about WWII in the Pacific! It covers clearly the battles and decisions in a way that we all should read for an overall view. For a down and dirty "Grunt" view, they even mention another of my favorite books that covers the filth, flies, feces, stench, and daily horrors: "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa."

They also included the story of the "Rape of Nanking" Another book you shouldn't miss. I am still haunted by a little girl's plaintive cry while in a Japanese Comfort Woman's brothel.

This book should be required reading for those who chastise America for using the bomb and for those who consider water boarding torture. If fact — it is a great read for all of us!

Mission Accomplished:
Stop the Clock

by Muriel P. Engelman

As editor of I usually review books about WWII. I started Mission Accomplished expected one. It is and more. It is billed as a personal memoir. It is more an autobiography of a strong, accomplished, attractive woman. There are parts about WWII but from a woman's viewpoint including feminine humor and concerns about clothes being feminine while buzz bombs fly overhead. Or in London 1944 during a blackout . . . worried about hair. I loved it!

We have lost as a culture because writers like Muriel waited too long to start writing — maybe because of a little distraction like WWII. Imagine the wonderful books we would have had if, instead of working long hours in a tent hospital 54 miles from Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, she was writing her first books.

Her descriptions, especially individuals are superb. By the time

she finished telling us about Betty, I was saddened later — enough spoilers. She had a lifetime of interesting people. I feel like I have grown up and old with her. A wonderful read!

Reflections of Our Gentle Warriors

By Brad Hoopes

"When I have asked whether the veteran had ever been able to travel back to where he had served, I received an answer that is still seared in my brain: ‘Why should I? I'm there almost every night.' " Quote from the book.

Brad and I share a passion! We remember and want to help you share the clarity, humor, and horror of the war that shaped and focused their lives . . . and ours.

You may not think you know the people behind these stories but you do! They are your fathers, grandfathers, uncles, grand uncles, etc. These are their stories — they lived them and you can remember!

Brad does a masterful job of bringing you these stories straight from the mouths of those who lived them! I am reminded of this quotation from Christopher J. Anderson, Editor, World War II magazine: "For those of us who are fascinated by the events of 60 years ago, there is no better way of understanding what happened than by listening to an eye witness."

Christopher is right! Don't miss this one!

My Journey as a Combat Medic

Patrick Thibeault

Ok, OK, I know I rarely review (or even read) war books other than those about WWII and Korea — that is where my historic expertise (such as it is) resides. But, being a former active duty Marine, I have a soft spot in my head for corpsmen. Marine corpsmen are Navy, and like Patrick, they are superb - one of the raisers of the flag in the iconic Iwo Jima picture is a corpsman.

I was not disappointed. In this book, we go with Patrick from being a scared "wet-behind-the-ears medic" standing at the door of a jump plane to a seasoned Airborne Combat Corpsman. He describes helping people in need from "massive internal head damage" to a little girl who had been poisoned. He goes on to discuss Gulf War Syndrome as well as his own PTSD.

Patrick finishes with advice to new combat corpsmen. This advice is some that should be read by everyone about to go in to combat. Skip the direct medical advice and listen to the overall message. Learning your job, equipment, buddies, as well as the that of your noncoms', as well as your officers' duties as best you can. With this in mind, you are more likely to complete your mission and survive.

Thanks, Patrick. for a great read!

A Wartime House

by Brian Williams

LIFE IN a Wartime House is a brief, beautifully illustrated, documentation of everyday life continuing while bombs fell. There are several first hand stories from individuals who were there including our own Margaret Hofman (reprint.) This is a very interesting (if a bit pricey) read and real insight into life during those awful years. If you are interested in everyday Life "on the home front" instead of epics about Churchill or Montgomery, you will love this.

Broken Arrow
The military code word for a lost nuclear bomb

Book By Charles Richardson

Maybe, maybe, at last, the fear of an armed nuclear bomb being in the water off Tybee island near Savannah, Georgia will end. Every so often someone gets their 15 minutes of fame by bringing it up and searching for it. The news media always breathlessly reports it. We have had the true story directly from the B-47 pilot on for many years. Maybe this excellent historical novel will finally put it to rest. Charles Richardson uses his intimate knowledge of Air Force strategic flying and Air Traffic Control to weave a gripping true story of courage and great skill that is difficult to put down!

This is a great book! I will admit that I enjoyed the detail of flying a B-47 and F-86 because my background is similar to Richardson's except that Richardson goes on to become a fantastic writer. The details of start-up, air refueling and, simulated attacks

are absolutely absorbing. Even a near collision with a T-33 — could easily have been yours truly. Everyone will like this book especially those who flew during the height of the Cold War and those who wished they had.

America's Soldiers
Teen's Tales of Tribute

A wonderful group of stories by teens about family members who often told of their exploits while the writer was sitting in their knee. They are especially moving because they are often telling you of someone they love.

These essays are the result of the American Veteran Essay Project.

Read loving stories about our American Heroes from WWII to Afghanistan. You will Fly the Hump or escort bombers with the Tuskegee Airmen. Then From Korea to Viet Name and then to Iraq and Afghanistan for stories of heroes who may go back.

These essays are the result of the American Veteran Essay Project.

Read loving stories about our American Heroes from WWII to Aphganistan. You will Fly the Hump or escort bombers with the Tuskegee Airmen. Then From Korea to Viet Name and then to Iraq and Afghanistan for stories of heroes who may go back.



Photography by Stephan R. Brown
Introduction by Senator Robert Dole

Have you seen the WWII Memorial? Just because you went there (as I did) you haven't really experienced it until you see Stephan R. Brown's exquisite photographs of it. I went there determined to be enthralled and moved. I wasn't until I saw these.

Somehow Brown found the most beautiful and moving places on the memorial (except for Kilroy) and made them even more beautiful and moving.

What a wonderful experience! Don't miss it.

Click image for larger view

A DVD Production

The Role of the United States Coast Guard in the Normandy Invasion

William A. "Bill" Barnes (see: Adrift at Sea!)

This DVD is the result of a great deal of research and probably the best I've seen done like this. I started expecting just to learn about the role of the Coast Guard in D-Day but I was captured first by more than I knew about Operation Tiger (see Nazi Smart Bombs, The Bedford Boys, and The Search for Admiral Moon) then by for more details on both Operation Tiger and D-Day. The images and narration are done so well, it flows like a movie. I will have to watch many times to get all the details! WOW! This should be in the Library of Congress, Very professional throughout.

If you would like a copy, click here to contact Bill. Buy the DVD

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