Hale Bradt

Wil­ber’s War (abridged) An Amer­i­can Fam­ily’s Jour­ney through World War II

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction -

Van Dorn Books • 978-0-9966939-0-5 • www.wilber­swar.com There is a re­newed in­ter­est in World War II mem­oirs these days. Why do you think that is?

World War II was a war that most still agree was a nec­es­sary con­flict. Also, the sur­viv­ing sol­diers and sailors are be­com­ing few and far be­tween, as are those, like my­self, who re­mem­ber those days as young chil­dren. When I re­dis­cov­ered all my father’s wartime let­ters in 1980, I re­al­ized I was uniquely able to pro­vide the con­text for them be­cause I re­mem­ber many of the events and peo­ple from those days.

How and why did you de­cide to abridge the orig­i­nal tril­ogy? Does it con­tain the full story?

Yes it does. The tril­ogy was it­self a dis­til­la­tion, by 50 per­cent, of my dad’s out­put of highly lit­er­ate wartime let­ters. It con­tains a wealth of de­scrip­tions, events, and anec­dotes that flesh out army life in the Pa­cific War, in and out of com­bat. It is also a beau­ti­fully pro­duced set of hard­cover books, a col­lec­tor’s item. How­ever at 1,112 pages, it is a bit much for many read­ers. Ac­cord­ingly, for the abridged soft­cover ver­sion, I trimmed it down to the es­sen­tials that carry the story for­ward. Still, at 358 pages and 95 il­lus­tra­tions, in­clud­ing 21 maps, it is rich in lo­cal color, com­bat events, and in­sight into the ef­fects of war, in com­bat and on the home front. Like the tril­ogy, it con­sists of about half my dad’s words and half mine.

Did you fi­nally come to un­der­stand the cause of your father’s sui­cide?

His sui­cide shortly af­ter re­turn­ing home was a great shock to us. He had sur­vived three years over­seas, two wounds, and a num­ber of “close calls,” like the 500-lb bomb that landed just eight feet from him and those that led to three Sil­ver Stars. PTSD was surely a fac­tor. Through his let­ters and my in­ves­ti­ga­tions, I learned of other pos­si­bil­i­ties, such as his re­la­tion­ship with my mother, whom he adored. Her story is a rich sub­plot of the book.

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