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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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by by Anthony Weller
and George Weller
Three Rivers Press  2010
Paperback
656 pages
Index, photos
ISBN: 0307342034
Cover Price: $18.00
Language: English

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Weller's War
A Legendary Foreign Correspondent's Saga of World War II on Five Continents

In 2009 Crown Publishers released what may be one of twhe most remarkable WW II histories of an individual to become available in recent memory. “Weller's war: a Legendary Foreign Correspondent's Saga of World War II on Five Continents” is the extraordinary collection of Chicago Daily News reporter George Weller’s many adventures throughout that conflict’s widespread war zones. His eloquent testimonials begin with coverage of refugee and espionage filled Lisbon in Jan. 1941, his riding along on RAF open cockpit dive-bombing missions against Italian targets in Ethiopia, and more all before arriving at Singapore for Christmas 1941. George Weller’s war ended nearly five years later with visits to American POW camps near Hiroshima in September 1945 a month after Japan’s unconditional surrender and beginnings of U. S. occupation. At a hefty 633 pages this plump and meaty book offers a revealing, sometimes fresh look at historic actions, battles, combatants, personalities and events often familiar though occasionally ones that were inadequately covered previously or not at all in some cases.

Edited by Anthony Weller, the Pulitzer award winning correspondent’s son, readers are rewarded on nearly very page with details rich in weight, volume and color about the war that we thought we knew now to learn about more fully. Readers will meet Hailie Selassie in Ethiopia, and Charles DeGaulle in Brazaville, but more importantly one meets the truly amazing P-40 pilots of the U. S. 17th Pursuit Sqdn. who defended Java against incredible odds. Who knew that they stopped adding nose art to their well-worn Curtiss fighters because of a pattern of loss for those so graced earlier? Who knew about the Graves Registration troops who were all licensed morticians and all sergeants some of whom were killed while searching the pestilence filled swamps of New Guinea or while burying comrades already fallen themselves?

Mr. Weller was a brilliant wordsmith from whose wartime-published books much of this recently released text was drawn. They cover his witnessing the launch of the Nazi airborne assault on Crete, the Fall of Singapore then Java, and “Defense of Australia”. Weller spent months describing the daunting campaigns on New Guinea, while later he rode along on flak shattered B-17 missions over Bologna, Italy. He experienced first hand the Liberation of Greece, and the intrigues of the always-volatile, sometimes pro-Nazi Middle East. By mid-1945 he had moved on through India, China and Burma as Imperial forces were pushed back as he finally witnessed the capitulation of Japan.

The amazing Mr. Weller lay in soggy, mosquito-plagued foxholes around Buna and Sanananda, New Guinea while reporting that most hellish of battlefronts. He survived malaria there so he could later join the Jingpaw Ranger’s guerrilla raids behind Japanese lines in Burma then drive the treacherous Stillwell Road for yet another story. All this and much more is packed between these covers including many other exploits of a daring newspaperman without equal who also had much to say about his ongoing personal bouts with military censors. If this book has a fault, it would be a paucity of images and maps. There are few of both but this detracts only modestly because of the sheer volume of rich, varied, and precious information presented throughout.

Review by Mel Brown Austin, Texas

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Last Updated
January 27, 2018


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