When Sy Kahn set off to serve in the Pacific during World War II, he was a bookish, naive nineteen-year-old, the youngest in his company. Convinced he would not survive the war, Kahn kept a meticulous record of his experiences as his "foxhole of the mind," even though keeping such a journal was forbidden by military regulations. His secret diary--one soldier's "mark against oblivion"--is a rare ground-level account of the war.
Often writing in tents by candlelight, in foxholes, or on board ships, Kahn documents life during four campaigns and over three hundred air attacks. He describes the 244th Port Company's backbreaking work of loading and unloading ships, the suffocating heat, the debilitating tropical diseases, and the relentless, sometimes terrifying bombings, accidents, casualties, and deaths.
His wartime odyssey also includes encounters with civilians in Australia, in the Philippines, and, as among the earliest occupation troops, in Japan. A detailed record of the daily cost of war, Kahn's journal reflects his increasing maturity and his personal coming of age, representative of thousands of young Americans who served in World War II.
Brendan Leary, assigned to an Air Force photo squadron an hour from L.A., thinks he has it made. But when the U.S. invades Cambodia and he joins his buddies who march in protest, he is shipped off to an obscure air base in upcountry Thailand. There, he finds himself flying at night over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in a secret war that turns the mountains of Laos into a napalm-scorched moonscape. As the emotional vise tightens, his moral fiber crumbles and he sinks ever deeper into a netherworld of drugs, sex, and booze.
When a visit by Nixon looms, Brendan dreams up an all-squadron bicycle race to build morale, win hearts and minds in rural Thailand, and make him and his underpaid buddies a pile of money. The Big Buddha Bicycle Race is a last gasp of hope that turns into a unifying adventure—until the stakes turn out to be far higher than anyone imagined.
The Big Buddha Bicycle Race is a new take on the Vietnam War. A caper on the surface, it is also a tribute to the complex culture and history of Southeast Asia and a sober remembrance of those groups who have been erased from American history—the brash active-duty soldiers who risked prison by taking part in the GI antiwar movement, the gutsy air commandos who risked death night after night flying over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and the people of Laos, whose lives and land were devastated in ways that have yet to be fully acknowledged in Western accounts of the war.
Johnnie Wickersham was fourteen when he ran away from his Missouri home to fight for the Confederacy. Fifty years after the war, he wrote his memoir at the request of family and friends and distributed it privately in 1915. Boy Soldier of the Confederacy: The Memoir of Johnnie Wickersham offers not only a rare look into the Civil War through the eyes of a child but also a coming-of-age story.
Edited by Kathleen Gorman, the volume presents a new introduction and annotations that explain how the war was glorified over time, the harsh realities suppressed in the nation’ s collective memory. Gorman describes a man who nostalgically remembers the boy he once was. She maintains that the older Wickersham who put pen to paper decades later likely glorified and embellished the experience, accepting a polished interpretation of his own past.
Wickersham recounts that during his first skirmish he was "wild with the ecstasy of it all" and notes that he was "too young to appreciate the danger." The memoir traces his participation in an October 1861 Confederate charge against Springfield, Missouri; his fight at the battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862; his stay at a plantation he calls Fairyland; and the battle of Corinth.
The volume details Wickersham’ s assignment as an orderly for General Sterling Price, his capture at Vicksburg in 1863, his parole, and later his service with General John Bell Hood for the 1864 fighting around Atlanta. Wickersham also describes the Confederate surrender in New Orleans, the reconciliation of the North and the South, and his own return and reunification with his family.
While Gorman’ s incisive introduction and annotations allow readers to consider how memories can be affected by the passage of time, Wickersham’ s boy-turned-soldier tale offers readers an engaging narrative, detailing the perceptions of a child on the cusp of adulthood during a turbulent period in our nation’ s history.
"An immensely valuable and substantial addition to 10th Mountain literature and to the history of skiing in the United States."
- International Ski History Association
The Boys of Winter tells the true story of three young American ski champions and their brutal, heroic, and fateful transformation from athletes to infantrymen with the 10th Mountain Division. Charles J. Sanders's fast-paced narrative draws on dozens of interviews and extensive research to trace these boys' lives from childhood to championships and from training at Mount Rainier and in the Colorado Rockies to battles against the Nazis.