Peter Richmond was only seven when his dad was killed in an accident, but he knew that his father had been a war hero. Richmond, a sports writer and author of Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream
, set out to discover the story behind that two-word description. He researched official war histories, and his dad's letters, interviewed those who knew his dad in the Marines, and visited the sites of the three major battles his father fought in the Pacific, at Guadalcanal, New Britain and Peleliu. Included too are his own childhood memories of his dad at home in Westchester County. A cogent and informative memoir.
From Publishers Weekly
This intensely personal account of three WWII battles in the Pacific as reconstructed by the son of a Marine captain who fought in them is less about war than about a boy's memories-however fleeting-of a long-gone father. Richmond (a sports writer and author of Ballpark) was seven in 1960, when his father, a paper company executive, was killed in an airplane crash in Brooklyn. One of the most important things the boy knew about him was that he was a war hero. Here, based on official histories, old letters, conversations with his father's former buddies and actual (often rather comic, if macabre) visits to present-day Guadalcanal, New Britain and Peleliu, Richmond comes to know the man his father was when he was a 26-year-old commander of G Company, Second Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. Other memories include home life in Westchester County, N.Y., (which Richmond calls "Cheeverish") and visits to the family farm, where the senior Richmond could pursue his passion for collecting snakes (an idiosyncrasy remembered by just about everyone Peter interviewed). The strongest chapter deals with Peleliu, a senseless slaughter-on both sides-that Richmond feels has been purposefully forgotten by Marine historians. Though clearly heartfelt, this memoir ends up being more informative than moving.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.