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Pacific World War II Book Review  

by James A. McMurria
Honoribus Press  2003
192 pages
photos, epilogue
ISBN: 1-885354-24-X

Language: English

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Fight For Survival!
An American Bomber Pilot's 1,000 Days as a P.O.W. of the Japanese

This book is the autobiography of 1st Lt. James Austin McMurria, B-24 pilot with the 90th Bombardment Group, 321st Bombardment Squadron, published after his death. This book begins with an introduction by Ed. Y. Hall who reprints MicMurria's book Trial and Triumph verbatim as an expanded edition with epilogues and news articles about McMurria.

The book begins on February 20, 1942 with McMurria's graduation from flying school, when he began keeping a diary. The diary covers his deployment overseas ferrying a B-24 across the Pacific and operations from Mareeba Airfield and Iron Range Airfield in Queensland, Australia.

His diary also includes notes on his first combat missions, a Japanese air raid against Port Moresby during late November 1942 and "Tokyo Rose" radio broadcasts. The diary ends prior to the January 20, 1943 mission when he and his crew were lost aboard B-24D Liberator 41-24101 over Wewak. The first section of the book ends with a moving letter written by Squadron mate Haviland Smith to McMurria's mother, reporting him lost.

The remainder of the book is written in narrative form, covering the January 20, 1943 mission when their B-24 ditched and the experiences of the eight surviving crew members aboard a single life raft that made landfall on a small island off the coast of New Guinea.

Aided by friendly natives, the crew were fed and sheltered then able to plan their next move. Opting to make their way eastward by canoe, they departed and reached the mouth of the Sepik River. Sleeping on on the beach at night, they were betrayed by a native and captured by a Japanese Army patrol.

Review by Justin Taylan

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Last Updated
May 23, 2017

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