What an incredible true story of two brothers and a step-brother during WWII that takes us from FDR’s White House map room to Japanese POW camps. It includes research into what happened to the POW by Sally Mott Freeman, the daughter of one of the brothers.
The Epilogue details the 2009 reopening the inquiry into her uncle’s death along with his personnel file, as well as more information which had come to light. The Afterword tells the relentless search she had made to learn what had happened. Extensive Notes are included for each chapter, as well as an Index.
The extraordinary, real-life adventure of three brothers at the center of the most dramatic turning points of World War II and their mad race to change history—and save one of their own.
They are three brothers, all Navy men, who end up coincidentally and extraordinarily at the epicenter of three of the war’s most crucial moments. Bill is picked by Roosevelt to run his first Map Room in Washington. Benny is the gunnery and anti-aircraft officer on the USS Enterprise, one of the only carriers to escape Pearl Harbor and by the end of 1942 the last one left in the Pacific to defend against the Japanese. Barton, the youngest and least distinguished of the three, is shuffled off to the Navy Supply Corps because his mother wants him out of harm’s way. But this protection plan backfires when Barton is sent to the Philippines and listed as missing-in-action after a Japanese attack. Now it is up to Bill and Benny to find and rescue him.
Based on ten years of research drawn from archives around the world, interviews with fellow shipmates and POWs, and primary sources including diaries, unpublished memoirs, and letters half-forgotten in basements, The Jersey Brothers is a remarkable story of agony and triumph—from the home front to Roosevelt’s White House, and Pearl Harbor to Midway and Bataan. It is the story, written with intimate, novelistic detail, of an ordinary young man who shows extraordinary courage as the Japanese do everything short of killing him. And it is, above all, a story of brotherly love: of three men finding their loyalty to each other tested under the tortures of war—and knowing that their success or failure to save their youngest brother will shape their family forever.
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Sally Mott Freeman was a speechwriter and PR executive for 25 years before launching her research for this book. After penning speeches for an FCC commissioner and later its chairman, she became the agency’s spokesperson and News Media Division Chief following the court-ordered breakup of AT&T, one of the most tumultuous periods in FCC history. Sally was also a VP at Fleishman Hillard, a global public relations firm, as well as Communications VP for two technology trade associations.
Sally is Board Chair Emerita of The Writer’s Center, the premier independent literary center in the mid-Atlantic. She graduated from St. Anne’s Belfield School in Charlottesville, which has honored her with its Distinguished Alumna Award, and received a degree in English Literature from Sweet Briar College, which also has honored her with its Distinguished Alumna award. She and her husband John have four children and five grandchildren.
What an incredible true story of two brothers and a step-brother during WWII that takes us from FDR’s White House map room to Japanese POW camps. It includes research into what happened to the POW by the daughter of one of the brothers.