Cover image for As always, Jack : a wartime love story
As always, Jack : a wartime love story
Sweeney, Emma.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [2002]

Physical Description:
181 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
V62 .S94 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



At the end of World War II, a young navy pilot named Jack Sweeney fell crazy in love with a California girl named Beebe - just before he was shipped off to the Pacific with his squadron. From stations around the Pacific, he wooed her with letters full of teasing charm, hokey humour and sincere affection. When Jack returned to the States and asked her to marry him, Beebe said yes.

Author Notes

Emma Sweeney is a literary agent and garden book author. She divides her time between New York City and upstate New York.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

There's an ineffable tenderness to this book, for in it we glimpse a life absolutely lived and then snuffed out. Most of the text is a trove of letters Sweeney's father wrote to her mother. They had barely two weeks together in Coronado, California, during the holiday season of 1945-46 before the navy pilot shipped out to the Pacific, and when he came back in July of '46, they were married. These are wonderful letters: silly, thoughtful, loving, teasing--full of the energy of a very young man who is very much in love. They are peppered with the slang and intonations of the day: anyone who has listened to a World War II veteran will know these cadences. Jack and Beebe had five children together, and Beebe was pregnant with the author when Jack was lost in the Bermuda Triangle in 1956. Through these letters Sweeney meets and embraces her dad, and so do we. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

At the end of WWII, a 26-year-old navy pilot meets and falls in love with a beautiful California girl named Beebe. They have about two weeks together before he is shipped off to the South Pacific for six months. When he returns they marry, have four sons and 10 good years together before he, still in the military, is killed in a plane crash off Bermuda in 1956. At the time of his death, his wife was pregnant with a daughter. The daughter spends her life longing for information about the father she never knew. Years later, after her mother's death, the daughter finds a bundle of letters that her father wrote to her mother in the six months before their marriage. Those letters are presented along with a foreword and afterword by the daughter, Sweeney, now a New York literary agent and gardening book author. The letters portray a decent, kindhearted young man with a quirky sense of humor who is obviously in love. Aside from a few colloquialisms of the 1940s, they could have been written by any lovesick military man in history. They are often corny, sometimes boring (as they only partially open doors into the psyches driving this old-fashioned romantic correspondence) and never erotic (not even suggestive unless "Greetings, my scandalous Scandinavian" counts). While these letters are obviously very precious to the woman who discovered them, they don't offer much character development or anything unique. (Apr. 10) Forecast: While war correspondence is a crowded subgenre, this attractively packaged little book (5" 7") has a blurb from War Letters editor Andrew Carroll and a planned tour that includes a stop at Annapolis. With more than 1.5 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces, it has a ready audience alert to the perils of separation, along with many more sympathetic to that predicament. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This engaging compilation of love letters written in the early months of 1946 by a young navy pilot named Jack Sweeney can only be described as a sweet love story that captures the personality of an intelligent and fun-loving man. Emma Sweeney, an author and literary agent, has compiled these letters as an homage to the father she never knew (Jack was killed on duty in an airplane crash in 1956, leaving four sons and his unborn daughter). The preface and afterword are a heartfelt explanation of both her need to know her father and the results of her research. Unfortunately, the book does not hold as much in the way of historical value as such works as Since You Went Away: World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front and Miss You: The World War II Letters of Barbara Wooddall Taylor and Charles E. Taylor. Additionally, Emma's mother's letters do not survive to give us a fuller picture of this courtship. However, the memoir is charming and would be a welcome addition to larger public libraries or libraries with a large collection of wartime correspondence. Maria C. Bagshaw, Lake Erie Coll., Painesville, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.