Writing about World War II

That’s a daunting task. What hasn’t been said about World War II? Anyone over the age of forty has lived with its ramifications from memoirs, relatives, books, movies, and personal accounts. While my 1920s manuscript is in the process of publication for a November release, I’m researching World War II for the third installment of my historical fiction series about the twentieth century. My goal is to create two characters who are experiencing it. I will focus on a few aspects of the war to follow that encapsulates the universal themes. Again, I scratch my head and ponder the possibilities. Acutely aware that armchair scholars and scholars alike have heard it all before. Well, I’m always up for a challenge.

Image result for ghost soldiers book images


I’m reading about an epic account I have never heard about before. Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides. It chronicles “121 hand-selected U.S. troops who slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March.”

I’m thinking one of my fictitious characters will be on that mission.

Image result for ted williams and how baseball in wwii won the war

The other character is female and experiencing the war on the homefront. Somehow, she will be connected to the baseball/pilot hero Ted Williams. Somehow, I’d like to include Navajo Code-Talkers, the Hiroshima Maidens, and the 422nd., the all-Nisei Regiment in the plot. Here’s an article about them from the History Channel:

Japanese-American patriots

What a tall order. How will I shape these stories into a novel? Feel free to give me advice.

29 Comments on “Writing about World War II

  1. I like the Ted Williams connection. Perhaps your female protagonist could be half Native American, hiding her ancestry as Ted Williams shied away from his own Mexican-American heritage…Perhaps that could be the impetus of their relationship…In any event, your premise is intriguing.

    • Thanks, Pam. Nice suggestion. That’s certainly an angle I was thinking about with the Japanese Americans who enlisted and fought bravely in WWII. AND to be asked to visit the internment camps to seek males for enlisting!
      Baseball is the national pastime and valued during the war, although the games/teams were limited. I don’t know about Ted Williams the pilot and his connection with the Cloudbuster 9, but I can’t wait to read the book and find out. 🙂

  2. You have excellent taste.
    Last year I went to Tropicana Field and saw their Ted Williams Museum – I can’t say enough about it – OUTSTANDING!!

  3. Great post 🙂 Your ideas for your book sound interesting 🙂 I have not read those two books, but now that you mentioned them, I must order them from Amazon.com or rent them from a library. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  4. My husband is an amateur WWII scholar. His grandfather fought in the war but talked to no one about it except Mr O. This lead to a fascination that has spanned endless reading and watching. He never tires of a new book or documentary which suggests that there is plenty still to be said.

    • I like the new voices that show the war in a different way. It is almost scary to think about trying to write such a monumental event.

  5. Even allowing for the fact Hollywood takes liberties some of the classics inspired by WWII show how brave soldiers were and the half has not been told of all that bravery. We need to be constantly reminded of sacrifices made and appreciate freedoms we have in this age because of their bravery.

  6. My Dad had a massive collection of literature on WWII. I used to look through a lot of it – mind boggling images and stories about what people went through.

    It’s almost incomprehensible what these guys went through and experienced. The grizzly truth combined with Heroic action and determination in combating people who behaved in a completely subhuman manner. Yet this is what they did.

  7. Cindy, I have a reader interested in post-war Japan and Europe in movies and books and he wants the older versions – feeling that newer ones would be too concerned with being politically correct. I immediately thought of you, especially for the movies. Any ideas? I could use some help here.

  8. This sounds terrific, Cindy. Pete is right, GP Cox will be your best resource. His expertise is in the Pacific.

  9. I thought this post would be appropriate for the info I tried to send you yesterday. If you care to see the images of the POW cards, I will return and give you the links. Here you can delete this info at your leisure, being as it is so far back.

    What I could locate yesterday ……

    The Swedish vessel, M.S. Gripsholm, made 3 voyages to South East Asia to exchange civilians, diplomats and carried mail to and from Civilian internees and POW’s. The first voyage by this vessel was in June 1942 and carried Japanese civilians which were to be exchanged for civilians of Allied nations, as well as Red Cross packages from Canada and the U.S. for their interned POW’s throughout Asia. No mail was carried on this voyage.

    The 2nd voyage of the Gripsholm was in September 1942 and carried an exchange of civilians, Red Cross packages from the U.S. and Canada and mail, to and from the Philippines.

    The 3rd voyage departed New York on 2 September 1943 carrying mail and relief supplies for the POW’s interned by the Japanese. After this, POW mail was flown by the army to Teheran for its 12,000 mile long trip to the receiving office in Tokyo.

    Garret Type 2a Prisoner of War card: Modified after printing with the addition of a straight-line handstamped inscription in French “Sce Des Prisonniers De Guerre”. The addition of the French Inscription signifies Japan’s belated recognition of the conditions of the Geneva Convention concerning POW mail through the International Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Garret Type 2a Prisoner of War card: Modified after printing with the addition of a straight-line handstamped inscription in French “Sce Des Prisonniers De Guerre”. The addition of the French Inscription signifies Japan’s belated recognition of the conditions of the Geneva Convention concerning POW mail through the International Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.

  10. Sorry about the double entry of Type 2a. If there is a way to do things wrong on the computer – I’m a champ at it!!
    This is what should have been there…..
    Garrett Type 3 “Furyu Yubin” Prisoner of War Card circulated for the exclusive use of prisoners of war incarcerated in the Philippines, printed on yellow card stock measuring 135 x 90 mm. The final version of the Philippine prisoner of war cards. The inscriptions on both sides were modified considerably. On the address side the French inscription, with the word “SERVICE” spelled out in full, impressed by handstamp in Type 2a, now appears printed at top center. Beneath it are the kanji “Furyo Yubin” arranged horizontally, reading left to right; only the kanji and hiragana “Yubin Hagaki” is displayed in the vertical plane

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