Sometimes, just by serendipity, you will find yourself reading several books in succession that end up being interconnected in unexpected ways. This happened recently to my husband as he first journeyed through the nonfiction bestseller Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. This book relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.
Remaining in the Pacific arena of World War II, my husband next ventured into Tears in the Darkness: the story of the Bataan Death March and its aftermath by Michael and Elizabeth Norman. Following the U.S. surrender to the Japanese on the peninsula of Bataan in 1942, 76,000 American and Filipino POWs began the infamous Death March. This gripping narrative, told in unsparing but sympathetic detail, focuses intermittently on American POW Ben Steele, whose sketches adorn the book, and the hell of Japanese prison and labor camps that introduced these captives to the starvation, dehydration and murderous Japanese brutality that would become routine for the next three years.
The final book in this trek through World War II was Neptune’s Inferno: the U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer. It draws on interviews with veterans and primary sources to present a narrative account of the pivotal World War II campaign, chronicling the three-month effort to gain control of Guadalcanal as a battle that taught the U.S. Navy and Marines new approaches to warfare.
When your guy is looking for something gritty and realistic to read after that certain college basketball tournament ends, wing these titles his way!