Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Wilber's War by Hale Bradt

A father's odyssey. A mother's strength. A son's story. The trilogy, Wilber's War, chronicles the story of two ordinary Americans, Wilber and Norma Bradt, during an extraordinary time, World War II. It offers fresh insight-on a deeply personal level-into the historic conflict as it was fought by the U.S. Army in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and The Philippines and by a family on the home front. It is an epic tale of duty, heroism, love, and human frailty. The story is told in large part in Wilber's own words in a sensitive editing of his some 700 richly detailed wartime letters. The work spotlights the ways in which individuals shaped, and were shaped by, World War II. It offers a nuanced view into the complexities faced by one family and by U.S. society as a whole when it ships soldiers off to war and asks loved ones to forge new lives on the home front. Author Hale Bradt, Wilber and Norma's son, shares his parents' stories with insight, compassion, and a wealth of carefully selected images that bring their experiences to life. Visiting in the 1980s the battlefields where his father fought, he adds another uniquely American voice to this rich story: that of a son seeking to unravel the tangled threads of his family's legacy. Beautifully produced, three hardcover books n a slipcase, a collector's item.

Received for review

This truly massive set of three books is remarkably engaging and readable. You might think that a set that could break your toe if you drop it on your foot would be dry and boring but this really isn't.

I really liked that this was mainly a collection of letters written by Wilber and his family along with many personal photographs. It adds a dimension to the story that makes it even more easy to get lost in. I also liked that this back and forth correspondence illustrated what the war was like not only for Wilber as a soldier, but his family as civilians as well.

Overall, while I may not agree with all of Wilber's life choices this is a genuinely interesting and well presented read and I certainly highly recommend it to anyone interested in the time period. It would also make a lovely gift.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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