Wilber’s War: An American Family’s Journey through World War II

Wilber's War

Title: Wilber’s War: An American Family’s Journey through World War II

Author:  Hale Bradt

Genre: History

Publisher:  Van Dorn Books

Source:  Smith Publicity, Inc.

Format:  3 Volume Hardcover Set

Release date:  August 14, 2015

Pages:  946

Buy Links:  Amazon/Wilber’s War


In the three-book set, Wilber’s WarAn American Family’s Journey through World War II, Bradt reproduces much of his father’s intimate narrative from the Pacific front and recounts his painful return home after a three-year deployment. The accounts reveal not only on-the-ground details of Pacific combat, but the tangled web of a mother’s heartbreaking sacrifice, a tragic suicide, and a family that was reshaped forever.

The wartime letters also offer a picture of Norma, Wilber’s wife, as a complex, if not uncontroversial, heroine. A military spouse plagued by her husband’s lengthy deployment, she faced immense personal struggles on the home front while attending to the needs of her family. How she chose to handle these challenges becomes a distinctive and irrevocable element in the Bradt family saga.

My Thoughts:

Wilber’s War: An American Family’s Journey through World War II was a long, but enjoyable read.  Being a former history  teacher, I enjoy history books.  I love learning about the past and Wilber’s War definitely satisfied that passion. I learned a lot about World War II that I did not know.  Most information that is taught about WWII focuses on the war in Europe.  We learn little about the  war in the Pacific and about the life of citizen’s back home.  Wilber’s War gives insight into WWII in the Pacific and into the lives of the American family.

Wilber’s War is a trilogy.  In the trilogy, we followed Wilber Bradt, his wife Norma, and his children Hale and Valerie through the events before, after, and during WWII.   The first book is called Citizen Soldier.  In this book we learn about the Wilber’s family history.  We meet his parents and brothers and sisters.  We also learn about how he and his wife met and follow his family as it grows.  We also learn about Wilber’s sense of duty and citizenship to serve. We follow him on his journey into the service and being sent overseas to fight in the Pacific

Book two is called Combat and New life.  In this  book we learn more about the war in the Pacific. We get to see how the war was fought and how the military worked during WWII, through Wilber’s eyes.  We also get to see more about what life was like in America during the war.  Letters from Norma, Hale, and Valarie give insight into the personal aspects and hardships of having a man fighting during WWII.

Book three is called Victory & Homecoming. Wilber and the fighting moves from the south Pacific to the Philippines and eventually Japan.  After the end of the war we watch as Wilber comes home to his family.  We learn about how he tries to return to a normal life.  This book is wrapped up with his death and the aftermath of it.

There were several things that I enjoyed about Wilber’s War.  Even though this is a history book, it is not dry like most.  The story is mainly told through letters written by Wilber and his family, with narration by Wilber’s son Hale.  I like that we are given background information about the family before we jump into the story of the war.  The author also did a very good job at getting the reader hooked. He started his book with the death of Wilber.  He gave just enough information and left out just the right amount to make the reader want to keep reading to find out what happened and why.  Then he goes back and tells the story from the beginning. I enjoyed the fact that he provided information about life on the war front, as well as at home in the States.  Very few history books include what life was like on the home front.

I also like the fact that the author gives the facts about Wilber’s and Norma’s choices and then lets the reader decide how to judge them.  The author was proud of both of his parents and does not speak about them negatively. Both Wilber and Norma had to make difficult choices and they may not have been the best, but they tried their best to do what they thought was right.  I enjoyed learning more about WWII in the Pacific and the life on the home front.  I was engaged in the story and wrapped up in the lives of the Bradt’s.

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% my own.

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  1. Of all the wars, I follow WW II the most. I was hooked on the old TV series Combat! and 12 O’Clock High, that really brought it to life for me. I still watch the reruns today! I would probably like Book Two the most, since I like learning how they fought the war and strategies they used. I’ll have to wishlist this one on Amazon.

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