I recently completed two books which shared an historical connection Flyboys: A True Story Of Courage by James D. Bradley and The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan. The first is non-fiction and the second, fiction, but both take place during World War Two in Asia. One in Japan and the other in China.
Flyboys is a remarkable book about the courageous men who took to the skies in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Their ultimate target: Japan.
Tan’s novel is about a young woman in China who marries a brutal man who abuses her beyond words. The Nanking Massacre perpetrated by the Japanese, occurs in this story. Although the main characters are not present during it, they are fortunate not to have been. The plot is mainly about unequal cultural norms in China with regards to men and women, but the ongoing war with Japan figures heavily in the story.
Flyboys is the true story of pilots and their crews who were captured and murdered most horrifically while in captivity on small islands inhabited by Japanese military personnel. Truly, this book is not for the faint hearted. Cultural beliefs figure prominently and as an American, I was sickened. My heart broke for our POW’s and their families who anxiously awaited news of their beloved sons.
In both books we experience the horror of World War Two in the Pacific. We also learn about ideological differences among nations, their leaders and the people they govern. That, I think, is most important if we are ever to live in harmony and peace on this great planet we share.
I highly recommend Flyboys because it is well-written and researched. As stated earlier, it is not an easy book to read because of war atrocities graphically described in it. Until I read this book, I thought the dropping of two atom bomb’s ended World War II in the Pacific, but came to discover the US continued to drop napalm bombs on Japan even after the atomic ones.
The Kitchen God’s Wife is a good fictional novel by an author whose work I enjoy and recommend.
I come away from both books with increased knowledge and understanding and I am grateful.