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

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. “inherently fascinating read…deftly crafted…very highly recommended for community and academic library…collections” [Midwest Book Review, June 2015] “Hale Bradt relates a story that could resonate with the multitude of families who also sacrificed a father, a husband or son [to war].” [Foreword Reviews, Fall 2015]

Meet the Author

HALE BRADT is a Korean War veteran and an astrophysicist retired from M.I.T. who once searched for black holes, but turned to searching for family and wartime history. He has been intrigued by the Bradt family story for more than three decades, interviewing relatives, academic and military colleagues, and a Japanese officer against whom his father fought in the Solomon Islands. His discovery of his father’s letters from the Pacific gave him an unusual basis for exploring new aspects of World War II history, as he scoured the National Archives and even visited the Pacific battle sites where his father fought; there, he found the artifacts and people his father had known and written about. As a history buff and one who remembers WWII, Bradt is well qualified to provide a new context about a country at war. 

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