On Thursday, November 2nd, the acclaimed novelist and historian Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, and Conversations with the Enemy, joins Ed Tracy for a one-on-one interview on his career and recent books including 1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls and Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans.
Winston Groom is the author of fourteen books, including Forrest Gump, Better Times Than These, the prizewinning Shrouds of Glory, and Conversations with the Enemy, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He lives in Point Clear, Alabama, and Cashiers, North Carolina.
On Thursday, November 2, the acclaimed novelist and historian Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, joins Ed Tracy for a one-on-one interview on his career and latest work 1942: The Year that Tried Men's Souls .
To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War was the defining event of the twentieth century, and the defining events of that war were played out in the year 1942.
It was a time when unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare with a ruthless enemy. Soon after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, German U-boats were sinking hundreds of U.S. merchant ships, some right off the American coast. In the Pacific, Japan's army and navy far outmatched those of the United States and was threatening the American mainland from Alaska to the Panama Canal. The beginning of 1942 was a relentless cataract of defeats. The Japanese annihilated MacArthur's 130,000-man army in the Philippines and set into motion the infamous "Death March" on Bataan. Hong Kong fell, followed by Malaya, with its vast natural resources, and then Singapore itself. By May, it appeared to many that the entire Western Pacific, including Australia, would be in Japanese hands.
Then, in June, the tide began to turn. Off Midway Island, aided by new technologies in code cracking, Admiral Chester Nimitz commanded his outnumbered fleet to victory in one of the most decisive sea battles in naval history. In August, the United States landed the first marine division on the desolate island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where by the end of the year, despite devastating naval setbacks and lack of material, they would finally destroy the enemy army and pave the way for the famous island-hopping strategy to recapture the Philippines. In the West, the British defeated Rommel's panzer divisions at El Alamein and the U.S. Army landed in Algeria and Morocco to begin the push to force the Germans out of North Africa. Though it would take another three years to run the Axis beast to the ground, a year that began in a pall of uncertainty would end with the hope and vision of victory.
In this riveting account, acclaimed novelist and historian Winston Groom relates the story of 1942 as it has never been told before, with an accomplished storyteller's eye for the time's fascinating tales and characters-from the great leaders of the twentieth century to war heroes such as General Jimmy Doolittle, who led a daring revenge raid on Tokyo, to lesser known but equally fascinating characters such as Claire "High Pockets" Phillips, an attractive actress and dancer who, after her husband was killed while a prisoner of war, used the nightclub she ran in Manila to front a spy-and-supply ring that got desperately needed items into the POW camps and probed Japanese intelligence officers for vital information.
Allowing us into the admirals' strategy rooms, onto the battle fronts, and into the heart of a nation at war, 1942 tells the story of America's most critical hour-a year of perseverance, courage, and ingenuity in the face of great odds, during which America rose against adversity and displayed the qualities that have made her what she is to this day.
From the author of best-selling works of history and fiction, a fast-paced, enthralling retelling of one of the greatest battles fought on the North American continent, and of the two men who-against all expectations and odds-joined forces to repel the British invasion of New Orleans in December 1814.
It has all the ingredients of a high-flying adventure story. Unbeknownst to the combatants, the War of l812 has ended, but Andrew Jackson, a brave, charismatic American general-sick with dysentery and commanding a beleaguered garrison-leads a desperate struggle to hold on to the city of New Orleans and to thwart the army that defeated Napoleon. Helping him is a devilish French pirate, Jean Laffite, who rebuffs a substantial bribe from the British and together with his erstwhile enemy saves the city from invasion . . . much to the grateful chagrin of New Orleanians shocked to find themselves on the same side as the brazen buccaneer. Winston Groom brings his considerable storytelling gifts to the re-creation of this remarkable battle and to the portrayal of its main players. Against the richly evocative backdrop of French New Orleans, he illuminates Jackson 's brilliant strategy and tactics, as well as the antics and cutthroat fighting prowess of Laffite and his men.
Patriotic Fire brings this extraordinary military achievement vividly to life
DVD 2006-11-2:Winston Groom
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