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Dearest Letty

The World War II Love Letters of Sgt. Leland Duvall

Leland Duvall

Leland Duvall was a now-and-again farm worker with a grade-school education when he received his World War II draft notice at his father’s farm near Moreland, Arkansas, in March 1942. He departed for training in California, where he began to write to Letty Jones, a Pottsville girl he’d had a crush on for several years. From the first correspondence through the end of the war, Leland sent Letty a torrent of letters, hundreds of careful and undeniably heartfelt missives—utterly tender but never sentimental, reliably charming and gently humorous—written daily from desert sands, pup tents, hospital beds, armored cars, and bombed-out buildings. That Duvall’s writing is a tour de force of wit, elegance, and erudition is all the more poignant because he was a man who was almost entirely self-taught. The letters, discovered by Duvall’s daughter after his death, are here enriched by his longtime friend and colleague Ernie Dumas, who provides facts about where Duvall was and the perils he endured while penning his epistles, information that was often missing in dispatches that were necessarily censored and always guided by Duvall’s effort not to bore or worry his “dearest Letty.” Duvall’s lively intelligence and obvious joy in writing come through on every page, joining the patina of the era and the bright shine of a timeless love affai.

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Defending Whose Country?

Indigenous Soldiers in the Pacific War

Noah Riseman

In the campaign against Japan in the Pacific during the Second World War, the armed forces of the United States, Australia, and the Australian colonies of Papua and New Guinea made use of indigenous peoples in new capacities. The United States had long used American Indians as soldiers and scouts in frontier conflicts and in wars with other nations. With the advent of the Navajo Code Talkers in the Pacific theater, Native servicemen were now being employed for contributions that were unique to their Native cultures. In contrast, Australia, Papua, and New Guinea had long attempted to keep indigenous peoples out of the armed forces altogether. With the threat of Japanese invasion, however, they began to bring indigenous peoples into the military as guerilla patrollers, coastwatchers, and regular soldiers.


Defending Whose Country? is a comparative study of the military participation of Papua New Guineans, Yolngu, and Navajos in the Pacific War. In examining the decisions of state and military leaders to bring indigenous peoples into military service, as well as the decisions of indigenous individuals to serve in the armed forces, Noah Riseman reconsiders the impact of the largely forgotten contributions of indigenous soldiers in the Second World War.
 

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Defining the Peace

World War II Veterans, Race, and the Remaking of Southern Political Tradition

Jennifer E. Brooks

In the aftermath of World War II, Georgia's veterans--black, white, liberal, reactionary, pro-union, and anti-union--all found that service in the war enhanced their sense of male, political, and racial identity, but often in contradictory ways. In ###Defining the Peace#, Jennifer E. Brooks shows how veterans competed in a protracted and sometimes violent struggle to determine the complex character of Georgia's postwar future. Brooks finds that veterans shaped the key events of the era, including the gubernatorial campaigns of both Eugene Talmadge and Herman Talmadge, the defeat of entrenched political machines in Augusta and Savannah, the terrorism perpetrated against black citizens, the CIO's drive to organize the textile South, and the controversies that dominated the 1947 Georgia General Assembly. Progressive black and white veterans forged new grassroots networks to mobilize voters against racial and economic conservatives who opposed their vision of a democratic South. Most white veterans, however, opted to support candidates who favored a conservative program of modernization that aimed to alter the state's economic landscape while sustaining its anti-union and racial traditions. As Brooks demonstrates, World War II veterans played a pivotal role in shaping the war's political impact on the South, generating a politics of race, anti-unionism, and modernization that stood as the war's most lasting political legacy. Brooks studies the competing efforts of black and white WW II veterans in Georgia, as they worked to shape postwar politics. Black veterans forged new grassroots networks to mobilize against candidates who opposed their vision of racial equality; reactionary white veterans, in turn, organized to support candidates who curbed openings toward greater equality in favor of a conservative, economically driven vision of modernization in the South. Brooks looks specifically at the campaign of 1946 (the first time black Georgians could participate in the primaries); the 1947 term of the Georgia General Assembly (in which Governor Ellis Arnall was forced out of office by Herman Talmadge [Eugene's son]); and Herman Talmadge's successful 1948 campaign to retake the governor's office on an overtly white supremacist platform. Brooks studies the competing efforts of black and white WW II veterans in Georgia, as they worked to shape postwar politics. Black veterans forged new grassroots networks to mobilize against candidates who opposed their vision of racial equality; reactionary white veterans, in turn, organized to support candidates who curbed openings toward greater equality in favor of a conservative, economically driven vision of modernization in the South. In the aftermath of World War II, Georgia's veterans--black, white, liberal, reactionary, pro-union, and anti-union--all found that service in the war enhanced their sense of male, political, and racial identity, but often in contradictory ways. In ###Defining the Peace#, Jennifer E. Brooks shows how veterans competed in a protracted and sometimes violent struggle to determine the complex character of Georgia's postwar future. Brooks finds that veterans shaped the key events of the era, including the gubernatorial campaigns of both Eugene Talmadge and Herman Talmadge, the defeat of entrenched political machines in Augusta and Savannah, the terrorism perpetrated against black citizens, the CIO's drive to organize the textile South, and the controversies that dominated the 1947 Georgia General Assembly. Progressive black and white veterans forged new grassroots networks to mobilize voters against racial and economic conservatives who opposed their vision of a democratic South. Most white veterans, however, opted to support candidates who favored a conservative program of modernization that aimed to alter the state's economic landscape while sustaining its anti-union and racial traditions. As Brooks demonstrates, World War II veterans played a pivotal role in shaping the war's political impact on the South, generating a politics of race, anti-unionism, and modernization that stood as the war's most lasting political legacy.

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Detroit And The "Good War"

The World War II Letters of Mayor Edward Jeffries and Friends

edited by Dominic J. Capeci, Jr.

Edward J. Jeffries Jr., was elected mayor of Detroit in 1937 and for a decade led the city through a period of race riots, union turmoil, and unprecedented growth. Jeffries's circle of friends was made up primarily of newspaper reporters who shared his interests and lifestyle. Devoted to family, they nevertheless worked long hours, smoked heavily, drank moderately, and gambled often in their running card games of gin and poker.

After Pearl Harbor, Jeffries watched his closest friends, most twelve to fourteen years his junior, enlist in the armed forces. Voracious letter writers, over the next four years they shared with one another their innermost hopes and fears. They told stories about Gen. George S. Patton, the surrender of Japan, of commanding African American soldiers during the Normandy invasion, and the battles on the home front in the heart of Detroit, the "Arsenal of Democracy."

These letters present a candid portrait of the intellectual and political leadership of Detroit -- and America. These men were confident in their values, aware of their responsibilities, and logical in their actions as they helped forge the weapons that turned back the fascist threat to democracy. Their letters also reveal a level and kind of male camaraderie seemingly lost in the depersonalized, technocratic society of the postwar era. As such, this work provides a more complete understanding of how Americans reacted to -- and were changed by -- the "Good War."

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Diary of a Disaster

British Aid to Greece, 1940-1941

Robin Higham

On October 28, 1940, the Italian army under Benito Mussolini invaded Greece. The British had insisted on guaranteeing Greek and Turkish neutrality, despite the fact that Greece was never more than a limited campaign in an unlimited war as far as they were concerned. The British, however, were never quite sure that Greece was not their last foothold in Europe, and they harbored dreams of holding on to this last bastion of civilization and of protecting it with a diplomatic and military alliance -- a Balkan bloc. These dreams bore little relation to military and economic realities, and so the stage was set for tragedy.

In Diary of a Disaster, Robin Higham details the unfolding events from the invasion, though the Italian defeat and the subsequent German invasion, until the British evacuation at the end of April 1941. The Greek army, while tough, was small and based largely upon reserves. They were also largely equipped with obsolete French, Polish, and Czech arms for which there was now no other source than captured Italian materiel. Transportation was also lacking as Greece lacked all-weather roads over much of the country, had no all-weather airport, and only one rail line connecting Athens with Salonika and Florina in the north.

Added to the woes of the Greek military, the British commander-in-chief for the Middle East, Sir Archibald Wavell, faced huge logistical challenges as well. Based in Cairo, he was responsible for a huge theatre of operation, from hostile Vichy French forces in Syria to the Boers in South Africa nearly six thousand miles away. His air force was comprised of only a handful of modern aircraft with biplanes and outdated, early monoplanes making up the bulk of his force. Radar was also unavailable to him. His navy was woefully short on destroyers and often incommunicado while at sea. While Wavell had roughly 500,000 men under his command, he was severely limited in how he could use them. The South Africans could only be deployed in East Africa and the Austrians and New Zealanders could not be employed without the consent of their home governments. In short, Churchill had instructed Wavell to offer support that he did not really have and could not afford to give to the Greeks.

Higham walks readers through these events as they unfold like a modern Greek tragedy. Using the format of a diary, he recounts day-by-day the British efforts though the failure of Operation Lustre, which no one outside of London thought had any chance of stemming the Nazi tide in Greece.

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The Diary of Prisoner 17326

A Boy's Life in a Japanese Labor Camp

John Stutterheim

In this moving memoir a young man comes of age in an age of violence, brutality, and war. Recounting his experiences during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, this account brings to life the shocking day-to-day conditions in a Japanese labor camp and provides an intimate look at the collapse of Dutch colonial rule.As a boy growing up on the island of Java, John Stutterheim spent hours exploring his exotic surroundings, taking walks with his younger brother and dachshund along winding jungle roads. His father, a government accountant, would grumble at the pro-German newspaper and from time to time entertain the family with his singing. It was a fairly typical life for a colonial family in the Dutch East Indies, and a peaceful and happy childhood for young John. But at the age of 14 it would all be irrevocably shattered by the Japanese invasion.With the surrender of Java in 1942, John's father was taken prisoner. For over three years the family would not know if he was alive or dead. Soon thereafter, John, his younger brother, and his mother were imprisoned. A year later he and his brother were moved to a forced labor camp for boys, where they toiled under the fierce sun while disease and starvation slowly took their toll, all the while suspecting they would soon be killed.Throughout all of these travails, John kept a secret diary hidden in his handmade mattress, and his memories now offer a unique perspective on an often overlooked episode of World War II. What emerges is a compelling story of a young man caught up in the machinations of a global war-struggling to survive in the face of horrible brutality, struggling to care for his disease-wracked brother, and struggling to put his family back together. It is a story that must not be forgotten.

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Dick Cole's War

Doolittle Raider, Hump Pilot, Air Commando

Dennis R. Okerstrom

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Displaced Person

A Girl's Life in Russia, Germany, and America

In her moving and deeply personal memoir, Ella E. Schneider Hilton chronicles her remarkable childhood—one that took her from the purges of Stalinist Russia to the refugee camps of Nazi and postwar Germany to the cotton fields of Jim Crow Mississippi before granting her access to the American dream. Despite her hard life as a refugee, Ella finds solace in others and retains her indomitably inquisitive spirit. Throughout her ordeals, she never relinquishes hope or sight of her goal of education. Poignantly and freshly rendered, this is a tale of determination. It is the story of a girl caught up first in the maelstrom of World War II and then in the complexities of American southern culture, adjusting to events beyond her control with resiliency as she searches for faith, knowledge, and a place in the world.

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Divided Lenses

Screen Memories of War in East Asia

Edited by Michael Berry and Chiho Sawada

Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia is the first attempt to explore how the tumultuous years between 1931 and 1953 have been recreated and renegotiated in cinema. This period saw traumatic conflicts such as the Sino-Japanese War, the Pacific War, and the Korean War, and pivotal events such as the Rape of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all of which left a lasting imprint on East Asia and the world. By bringing together a variety of specialists in the cinemas of East Asia and offering divergent yet complementary perspectives, the book explores how the legacies of war have been reimagined through the lens of film.


This turbulent era opened with the Mukden Incident of 1931, which signaled a new page in Japanese militaristic aggression in East Asia, and culminated with the Korean War (1950–1953), a protracted conflict that broke out in the wake of Japan's post–World War II withdrawal from Korea. Divided Lenses explores the ways in which events of the intervening decades have continued to shape politics and popular culture throughout East Asia and the world. The essays in part I examine historical trends at work in various "national" cinemas, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the United States. Those in part 2 focus on specific themes present in the cinema portraying this period—such as comfort women in Chinese film, the Nanjing Massacre, or nationalism—and how they have been depicted or renegotiated in contemporary films. Of particular interest are contributions drawing from other forms of screen culture, such as television and video games.


Divided Lenses builds on the growing interest in East Asian cinema by examining how these historic conflicts have been imagined, framed, and revisited through the lens of cinema and screen culture. It will interest later generations living in the shadow of these events, as well as students and scholars in the fields of cinema studies, cultural studies, cold war studies, and World War II history.

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