Cover image for The Jersey brothers : a missing naval officer in the Pacific and his family's quest to bring him home
Title:
The Jersey brothers : a missing naval officer in the Pacific and his family's quest to bring him home
Author:
Freeman, Sally Mott, author.
Edition:
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2017]
Physical Description:
xiv, 588 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
Documents the extraordinary story of three brothers in World War II, describing the rescue mission launched by the elder two when their youngest brother was declared missing in action in the Philippines.
Language:
English
Contents:
April 1942, Luzon, the Philippines -- Benny -- Helen -- Bill -- Cabanatuan, Spring 1942 -- White House Map Room, April 1942 -- "This force is bound for Tokyo" -- Barton, 1930-1941 -- The perils of escape-and a little baseball -- A brother's burden: the search -- Midway -- Under siege: JN-25 -- To Davao: en avant! -- And then there was one: USS Enterprise vs. Japan -- The other war: Army-Navy football -- Happy days at the penal colony -- Winter's grief -- Escape: crime and punishment -- Farewell to the White House -- A tale of atrocities -- August 1943: Allied War Summit, Quebec, Canada -- Revenge on the innocent and a covert plan -- Secrets inside the oxygen tent -- Hero of Bataan vs. the War Department -- Bad tidings -- Politics in Brisbane -- "Proceed to Kwajalein" -- The best-laid plans -- Initiation at Saipan -- Decampment -- September 1944, Lilac Hedges -- Hopes dashed -- Setbacks -- Through a prism: MacArthur's return -- What Benny knew -- The Oryoko Maru -- End game in the Pacific -- A sailor's nightmare -- In the end, a question of casualties -- and sea power -- No peace at Lilac Hedges -- Final hours -- Epilogue -- Afterword.
ISBN:
9781501104145

9781501104169
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

The extraordinary, real-life adventure of three brothers at the center of the most dramatic turning points of World War II and their mad race to change history--and save one of their own.

They are three brothers, all Navy men, who end up coincidentally and extraordinarily at the epicenter of three of the war's most crucial moments. Bill is picked by Roosevelt to run his first Map Room in Washington. Benny is the gunnery and anti-aircraft officer on the USS Enterprise , one of the only carriers to escape Pearl Harbor and by the end of 1942 the last one left in the Pacific to defend against the Japanese. Barton, the youngest and least distinguished of the three, is shuffled off to the Navy Supply Corps because his mother wants him out of harm's way. But this protection plan backfires when Barton is sent to the Philippines and listed as missing-in-action after a Japanese attack. Now it is up to Bill and Benny to find and rescue him.

Based on ten years of research drawn from archives around the world, interviews with fellow shipmates and POWs, and primary sources including diaries, unpublished memoirs, and letters half-forgotten in basements, The Jersey Brothers is a remarkable story of agony and triumph--from the home front to Roosevelt's White House, and Pearl Harbor to Midway and Bataan. It is the story, written with intimate, novelistic detail, of an ordinary young man who shows extraordinary courage as the Japanese do everything short of killing him. And it is, above all, a story of brotherly love: of three men finding their loyalty to each other tested under the tortures of war--and knowing that their success or failure to save their youngest brother will shape their family forever.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Intending to write a family history focusing on her uncle, Arthur Bertram Cross Jr., a U.S. WWII naval officer and prisoner of the Japanese, Freeman found herself researching deeply into the POW archives. Cross had two older half-brothers, also naval officers. One, William Mott (the author's father), was well-positioned to pursue leads, first as an assistant to President Roosevelt responsible for the maps on which FDR tracked the war and later as a staff officer involved in amphibious landings. The other half-brother served on the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Both men's involvement in air-sea battles allowed Freeman to connect the family's private anguish about Cross' safety to the wider course of the Pacific War. By late 1944, battles resumed in the Philippines, and the Japanese decided to ship their POWs to Japan. Freeman relies on postwar revelations and interviews with surviving prisoners who knew Cross to depict the transfer operation in its brutal inhumanity and finally discover her uncle's fate. Freeman proves to be a strongly motivated researcher, who poignantly conveys a sorrowful experience encountered by thousands of American families in WWII.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2017 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Freeman's (board chair, the Writer's Ctr.) latest book is an investigation into her uncle's fate. Barton and his brothers Benny and Bill were navy officers during World War II. While serving in the Pacific theater, Barton was captured during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The primary theme is the family's attempts to determine Barton's whereabouts during and after the war, with the conflict in the Pacific as the backdrop. The narrative provides insights into Japanese treatment of POWs and the daily life of these prisoners. Some chapters are nearly documentary histories, with transcribed correspondence among family members. Some flaws hinder the book's value, including its length and that many conversations are not cited. Interviews conducted more than 60 year after World War II form the basis for much of the content. VERDICT A touching story that would have been better in abbreviated form. Recommended for readers looking for personal accounts of World War II, instead of a history.-Matthew Wayman, Pennsylvania State Univ. Lib., Schuylkill Haven © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Jersey Brothers Preface I have a clear memory of that moment when our innocence was fractured, perhaps because it was in such contrast to our blissful cousin-play. It was a midsummer night in the 1960s, and we were playing badminton on the south lawn of Lilac Hedges, our grandmother's home in New Jersey. The highlight of those summer visits was seeing our cousin there, whom we adored and rarely saw otherwise. I know it was dusk because that was when the bats started dive-bombing the birdie, our favorite part of the evening. The adults--my father, mother, aunt, and grandmother--were having their cocktails on the front porch. Suddenly we heard Aunt Rosemary's voice rise up over the rest, after which she burst into tears. Then we heard a glass break, which is when we stopped our play, got dead quiet, and strained our ears. When I say break, I don't mean fall-off-the-table break; I mean throw-against-the-wall break. Then we heard our mother try to say something, and then she started crying. My father was an admiral, and at the time serving as the navy's judge advocate general (JAG). He usually held the attention of the people around him--at work and at home. But his attempts to restore calm were in vain that evening, as apparently were my mother's attempts to assist him. We couldn't hear much, but without a doubt, the ever-charged topic was our mysterious Uncle Barton, a naval ensign who had been wounded and taken prisoner by the Japanese long before any of us was born. We kids had never met Uncle Barton, but my siblings, cousin, and I all knew what he looked like. There were photos of him on every wall of every room at Lilac Hedges. You would hardly have known that our grandmother had three other children. I especially remember Barton's imposing oil portrait on the facing wall at the turn near the top of the front stairs. I was sure his smiling green eyes followed my every step as I walked up. We joked that he was winking at us, but whenever I reached that landing, I took those last two steps in a leap of terror, as though fleeing a ghost. We left Lilac Hedges abruptly the next morning for the drive back to Washington, DC. A flimsy explanation for the early departure was offered as four glum kids took turns hugging our cousin, promising him unconvincingly that we'd be back, and then piling into our old Chevy wagon. I don't remember what reason was offered, just that none of us believed it. One thing was certain: there was always tension when this Uncle Barton's name came up. Each time, I felt a familiar tingling at the back of my neck and then braced myself. Here we go again. What was going on here? As children, and then teens, and then young adults, we analyzed every syllable whenever the topic sprang from its dark corner, hoping to elicit conclusive details. But the mystery persisted long into our adulthood. Speculation on what had happened to him--and when--became a sort of a parlor game for us, and it never ended satisfactorily. When I set out to unravel this family mystery, my objective was to uncover the facts that led to the anguished outburst that night--and which ended our traditional summer visits to Lilac Hedges. I was determined to learn more about this Uncle Barton, but what I uncovered would have stunned the adults on that porch. Excerpted from The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home by Sally Mott Freeman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.