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An African American Artilleryman in World War II and Beyond
Emiel Owens served his country in the 777th Field Artillery, involved in actions from Omaha Beach to the occupation army in the Philippines. Like the rest of the U.S. Army at the time, the 777th was a segregated unit. Remarkably few memoirs by African Americans have been published from the World War II era, making Owens’s account especially valuable. Because he situates his military experience in the larger context of his life and the society in which he lived, his story also reveals much about the changing racial climate of the last several decades. A native Texan, Owens recounts his early experiences in a small, rural school outside Austin during the hard times of the Depression. In 1943, he was drafted into the army, landing in England in August 1944. Ten days later he was on Omaha Beach. By November 3 Owens and his unit were supporting the 30th Infantry Division as it attacked German towns and cities leading into the Ruhr Pocket and the Huertgen Forest. Owens starkly portrays the horror of the Kohlscheid Penetration. He was awarded a certificate of merit for his actions in that theater. With help from the G.I. bill, Owens returned to college and then to graduate school at Ohio State University, since universities in his home state were still closed to African Americans. He earned a Ph.D. in economics, which led to a productive academic and consulting career. This is a uniquely captivating story of an African American man’s journey from a segregated Texas town to the battlefields of Europe and on to postwar success in a world changed forever by the war Americans—black and white—had fought.
The Forgotten Campaign
" The 1943 invasion of Bougainville, largest and northernmost of the Solomon Islands, and the naval battles during the campaign for the island, contributed heavily to the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific War. Here Harry Gailey presents the definitive account of the long and bitter fighting that took place on that now all-but-forgotten island. A maze of swamps, rivers, and rugged hills overgrown with jungle, Bougainville afforded the Allies a strategic site for airbases from which to attack the Japanese bastion of Rabaul. By February of 1944 the Japanese air strength at Rabaul had indeed been wiped out and their other forces there had been isolated and rendered ineffective. The early stages of the campaign were unique in the degree of cooperation among Allied forces. The overall commander, American Admiral Halsey, marshaled land, air, and naval contingents representing the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Unlike the other island campaigns in the Pacific, the fighting on Bougainville was a protracted struggle lasting nearly two years. Although the initial plan was simply to seize enough area for three airbases and leave the rest in Japanese hands, the Australian commanders, who took over in November 1944, decided to occupy the entire island. The consequence was a series of hard-fought battles that were still going on when Japan's surrender finally brought them to an end. For the Americans, a notable aspect of the campaign was the first use of black troops. Although most of these troops did well, the poor performance of one black company was greatly exaggerated in reports and in the media, which led to black soldiers in the Pacific theater begin relegated to non-combat roles for the remainder of the war. Gailey brings again to life this long struggle for an island in the far Pacific and the story of the tens of thousands of men who fought and died there.
The Japanese Internment of American Civilians in the Philippines, 1941-1945
Supported by diaries, memoirs, war crimes transcripts, Japanese soldiers' accounts, medical data, and many other sources, Captured presents a detailed and moving chronicle of the internees' efforts to survive. Cogan compares living conditions within the internment camps with life in POW camps and with the living conditions of Japanese soldiers late in the war. An afterword discusses the experiences of internment survivors after the war, combining medical and legal statistics with personal anecdotes to create a testament to the thousands of Americans whose captivity haunted them long after the war ended.
The World War II Photographs of Captain Charlotte T. McGraw
The photographs taken by Charlotte T. McGraw, the official Women’s Army Corps photographer during World War II, offer the single most comprehensive visual record of the approximately 140,000 women who served in the U.S. Army during the war. This collection of 150 of McGraw’s photos includes pictures made in Africa, in England at the headquarters of the European Theater of Operations, in Asia and the Pacific, and in military hospitals in the United States.
Serving from July 1942 to August 1946, Captain McGraw provided more than 73,000 photographs to the War Department Bureau of Public Affairs. Her photographs were published in the New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, and used by the Associated Press and the United Press, as well as in recruiting posters, handouts and informational pamphlets, and in the most popular magazines of the era such as Time, Colliers, Women’s Home Companion, Parade, Saturday Evening Post, and Mademoiselle.
General Hap Arnold and the Defeat of Japan
In Cataclysm, Herman S. Wolk examines the thinking and leadership of General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces (AAF), during World War II. Specifically, Wolk concentrates on Arnold’s role in crafting the weapons, organization, and command of the strategic bombing offensive against Japan. The B-29 long-range bombing campaign against the Japanese home islands dictated unprecedented organization and command; hence, Arnold established the Twentieth Air Force, commanded by himself from Washington and reporting directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Arnold excelled in his command of the AAF, relieving a long-time colleague (Hansell) in favor of a hard-nosed operator (LeMay). This crucial move was a turning point in the Pacific War. In the spring and summer of 1945, Arnold was a driven leader, almost willing the B-29 campaign and the air and sea blockade to collapse Japan before the scheduled massive invasion of Kyushu on November 1st. Arnold agreed that politically the atomic bomb shocked the Japanese to capitulation, but as the architect of the bombing offensive, he emphasized that Japan was already defeated in the summer of 1945 by the bombing and blockade, and that it was not militarily necessary to drop the atomic bomb. Wolk brings out important rationales and connections in doctrine, organization, and command not previously published. He also mines sources not previously exploited, including the author’s interviews with General LeMay, Hansell, and Eaker; Arnold’s wartime correspondence; documentation from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library; and postwar interrogations of Japanese officials and civilians. Cataclysm will prove an important addition to the history of the Pacific War, airpower, and the debate over the use of the atomic bomb against Japan.
The Journey of Captain Michael J. Daly, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient
A privileged, hell-raising youth who had greatly embarrassed his family—and especially his war-hero father—by being dismissed from West Point, Michael J. Daly would go on to display selfless courage and heroic leadership on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. Starting as an enlisted man and rising through the ranks to become a captain and company commander, Daly’s devotion to his men and his determination to live up to the ideals taught to him by his father led him to extraordinary acts of bravery on behalf of others, resulting in three Silver Stars, a Bronze Star with “V” attachment for valor, two Purple Hearts, and finally, the Medal of Honor. Historian Stephen J. Ochs mined archives and special collections and conducted numerous personal interviews with Daly, his family and friends, and the men whom he commanded and with whom he served. The result is a carefully constructed, in-depth portrait of a warrior-hero who found his life’s deepest purpose, both during and after the war, in selfless service to others. After a period of post-war drift, Daly finally escaped the “hero’s cage” and found renewed purpose through family and service. He became a board member at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he again assumed the role of defender and guardian by championing the cause of the indigent poor and the terminally ill, earning the sobriquet, “conscience of the hospital.” A Cause Greater than Self: The Journey of Captain Michael J. Daly, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient is at once a unique, father-son wartime saga, a coming-of-age narrative, and the tale of a heroic man’s struggle to forge a new and meaningful postwar life. Daly’s story also highlights the crucial role played by platoon and company infantry officers in winning both major battles like those on D-Day and in lesser-known campaigns such as those of the Colmar Pocket and in south-central Germany, further reinforcing the debt that Americans owe to them—especially those whose selfless courage merited the Medal of Honor.
Good and Evil in a War Hospital, 1943-1945
As chaplain for the US Army's 102nd Evacuation Hospital in the European Theater, Renwick C. Kennedy--"Ren" to those who knew him--witnessed great courage, extreme talent, and many lives snatched from the precipice of death, all under the most trying conditions. He also observed drug and alcohol abuse, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, and chronic depression. What he saw, he chronicled in his journal, and what he wrote, he processed with an intellectual and ethical rigor born of his remarkably sophisticated worldview and his deeply held Christian faith. With Kennedy's war diaries and postwar articles published in Christian Century and Time magazines in front of him, historian Tennant McWilliams spent a year retracing every step, every turn, every location of the 102nd in wartime France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany, compiling rich detail on this episode in Kennedy's life. McWilliams's interviews with citizens of France and Luxembourg who recall the 102nd further revealed local people's reactions to the army hospital that illuminated both Kennedy's severe criticism and his enduring praise for evac life. The result is a candid view of what went on in the World War II evac hospitals. With a nuanced and gritty style, The Chaplain's Conflict shatters the self-interested and sometimes sentimental images of evacs held by some among the medical community. This complex and compelling observation of doctors practicing war-zone medicine in World War II will hold great appeal for readers of military and medical history, as well as those interested in the socio-cultural, ethical, and religious implications of war and military service.
A Memoir of a Father, Gone to War
When literary biographer and memoirist Louise DeSalvo embarked upon a journey to learn why her father came home from World War II a changed man, she didn’t realize her quest would take ten years, and that it would yield more revelations about the man—and herself—and the effect of his military service upon their family than she’d ever imagined. During his last years, as he told her about his life, DeSalvo began to understand that her obsession with war novels and military history wasn’t merely academic but rooted in her desire to understand this complex father whom she both adored and reviled because of his mistreatment of her. Although she at first believes she wants to uncover his story, the story of a man who was no hero but who was nonetheless adversely affected by the his military service, she learns that what she really wants is to recover the man that he was before he went away.As DeSalvo and her father uncover his past piece-by-piece, bit-by-bit, she learns about the dreams of a working-class man who entered the military in the late 1930s during peacetime to better himself, a man who wanted to become a pilot. She learns about what it was like for him to participate in war games in the Pacific prior to the war, and its devastating toll. She learns about what it was like for her parents to fall in love, set up house, marry, and have children during this cataclysmic time. And as the pieces of her father’s life fall into place as works to piece together the puzzle of everything she’s learned about this time, she finds herself finally able to understand him.Chasing Ghosts is an original contribution to the understanding of working-class World War II veterans who did not conventionally distinguish themselves through “heroic” actions and whose lives were not until recently considered worthy of historical or cultural attention. It personalizes the history of those sailors who served in the Navy aboard aircraft carriers and on islands in the Pacific prior to, and during World War II and contributes to the current vital conversation about the often-unrecognized effects of war and its traumas upon those men and their families. It reveals the lifelong devastating consequences of military service on those men and women who fell in love, married, and set up house. And it reveals the complexity of what it is like to be the daughter of a father who has gone to war.