A Bright and Blinding Sun, a Story from WWII by Marcus Brotherton

A Bright and Blinding Sun

by Marcus Brotherton

The Book

Joe Johnson Jr. ran away from home at the age of 12, hopping a freight train at the height of the Great Depression. He managed to talk his way into the U.S. Army two years later. Seeking freedom and adventure, he was sent to the Philippines.

Adrift in spirit, Joe visited a teenage prostitute, and they became unlikely allies. Yet when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941, their hopes of being together had to wait.

Joe and his fellow soldiers fought for four brutal months in Bataan and Corregidor, until they were forced to surrender. The boy endured years of horror as a prisoner of war, only dreaming about seeing again the girl he’d come to love.

This lyrically written and deeply encouraging saga will remind you that every life can be lifted, forgiveness is the patron of restoration, and redemption is available to all.

The Author

Marcus Brotherton is a New York Times bestselling author and coauthor dedicated to writing books that inspire heroics, promote empathy, and encourage noble living. Four of Marcus’ books are New York Times bestsellers, five are national bestsellers, four have been optioned for movies, two have received Booklist Starred Reviews, and one is an international bestseller. His books have also appeared on USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Wall Street Journal, and ECPA bestseller lists. Born in British Columbia, Marcus earned a bachelor’s degree from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon, and a master’s degree from Biola University in Los Angeles, where he graduated with high honors. He lives with his wife and their three children in the Pacific Northwest.

My Thoughts

What a powerful story, masterfully woven, about a too-young soldier who ends up in the Philippines nine months before WWII arrived. Joe spent five months fighting the Japanese on Bataan and Corregidor, 3 1/2 gruesome years as a POW. Bookending this important part of history is Joe’s relationship with a too-young prostitute, whom he manages to rescue, and how Joe eventually recognizes God’s work even during devastating months. A compelling redemption story. Highly recommended.

I’m always drawn to the backmatter of a book, whether nonfiction or historical nonfiction, where you learn the details about how the author discovered and utilized sources. The writing in A Bright and Blazing Sun is so well woven. It was a delight to learn that Joe Johnson, with only a 7th grade education, had written two versions of his memoirs, one in third person. Marcus Brotherton said that Joe wrote with lyricism, with “fresh twists on words and phrasing,” and that he came to appreciate Joe Johnson as a warrior-poet.


I didn’t realize that I’d featured several other books with Marcus Brotherton’s fingerprints on them. He contributed substance and line edits to Adam Makos’s A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II.

Marcus Brotherton also wrote Blaze of Light, about Gary Beikirch, a Green Beret Medic in Vietnam and recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Gary Beikirch (1947-2021) and Marcus Brotherton in 2019

Gary Sinise’s Grateful American was written with Brotherton’s expertise. What a rich legacy!

Marcus Brotherton and Gary Sinise

Also Marcus was a writing partner on Adam Makos’s incredibly poignant Korean War story, Devotion, which I read and reviewed (Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub). All of these books are so compelling.

Please check out Marcus Brotherton’s website. What a legacy of significant stories!


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