When Wars Were
A First Novel
ISBN 1-882521-02-1, 270 pages, Softcover
List price $16.00
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Read an Excerpt
After forty years,
Arnold, a professor of English, returns to the Philippines yearning for
unity, spirit and optimism he knew as a 19-year-old member of a Seabee
in the South Pacific theater during World War II. Trying to recapture
experience, he writes this story, vividly portraying members of the
who impacted his life.
Two in particular - Barry Fortune, an irrepressible entrepreneur, and
"Billiard Ball" Billiard, a philosphical, cynical college professor
opposite poles in their attitudes toward life and their feelings toward
their country. They are Hal's mentors, and despite their faults, his heroes.
being an American, yet disillusioned with most of his compatriots whose
are often less than admirable in winning the war, Hal searches for his
identity. He finds it in the warm, rich culture of a small Filipino
where love and dignity thrive among a people who have suffered under the
"This powerfully poignant and sensitive novel reveals the loss of
innocence and coming of age of our youth in the Pacific theater of World
Strong imagery, forceful narrative and colorfully believable characters
to grip the reader through war's uncertainty, humor and stark reality.
Not a war
novel; rather it is a tribute to the men and women who endure war...a
emotional story of friendship, love, despair and triumph of the spirit.
such a compelling story that, once read, you will want it to be
William D. Bushnell, Reviewer for
"Like a virtuoso jazz soloist, when the author is building a
lets you know it. His interpretation of language and situation proves
humorous, horrifying by turns, each confrontation - with character or
circumstance - played out to its absurd effect, grotesque conclusion, or
romantic climax. Irony abounds..episodic in sweep, compelling in detail,
well nigh inexhaustible in variety. Writing a review for a book like
is inclined to put on everything except the brakes, because superlatives
easily. It is a great dramatic story of a man's desperate yearnings,
aspirations, and bitter frustrations in the throes of a world's calamity
Someone should mark the intensity level in this book, because its
rivers run so deep that the reader experiences the bends coming out of
Ramon de Rosas, English Department Chair,
for Maine in Print
Comments from Readers:
When Wars Were Won very much, especially your colorful
and way of imbuing a scene with vivid description and energy...it's very
and easy to "see" as a film...definitely a literary treat.
Marisa D'Vari, Boston, MA
I have just completed When Wars Were Won, and I must say it
of the most interesting and exciting books I have ever read.
Milton McCord, Seabee, Dallas,
I found it difficult to lay the book down.
Edward J. Goss, Seabee, Amston,
I wish to let you know how much my entire family enjoyed both
from the Good War and When Wars Were Won. I especially
novel. Not only was it a pleasure to read, but since I passed it along
three generations of family, I had the added enjoyment of discussing it
them. I've learned there's a Barry Fortune in every outfit and got to
Navy stories I'd never heard before. I didn't think that was possible.
very moving and it was because of your books. Thank you for that.
Coleen Marsh, Belfast, ME
Just read your book When Wars Were Won. Congratulations. I
put the book down. You were very descriptive, a captivating way of
wanted to read chapter after chapter with riveted attention as one's
increased. You brought out so many truths, some good, some bad like it
Thankyou for giving me the opportunity to enjoy a GOOD book. So many
erudition and interest. I do hope you'll write more novels and give a
pleasure to many readers.
Oleg Tupine, Falls Church,
I would probably never have picked up When Wars Were Won
reading time is limited and neither the Seabees nor the South Pacific
WWII were included in my "must read" topics/interests. Therefore, I must
that I was surprised when I didn't want to put down WWWW as the
got late each evening. Of course, you are a wonderfully sensitive
therefore the setting, the war, the era are less important than the
bring to life and the details of their relationships that you share with
reader. In spite of myself, I did become interested in the role of the
and I did come to appreciate the impact of the war on peoples all around
world...Hal Arnold is a memorable young man and you should be very proud
Alice Dashiell, Clinton, MD
Hugh Aaron's When Wars Were Won, a novel to put alongside the
sellers on the subject of World War II, a book sometimes hauntingly
its pictures. This is no glorification of a time now gilded by memory,
postcard from the past...it remembers for us whose generations it
warts and all.
Marilis Hornidge, The
Hugh Aaron has written a World War II novel so realistic that it
like fact than fiction. Drawing upon his own 30 months of service in the
Seabees, the author composed a wartime tale that will strike a
with any man or woman who ever wore an American uniform. Unlike the
military novels, which for the most part feature gallant heroes leading
troops into action, When Wars Were Won tells it like it is -
True, there is action, there are fatalities, there is suffering and
heroes, but there are also the tedious, monotonous routine, the
sexual encounters, the inedible food and incredible orders that veterans
remember as dominating their time in service.
Add When Wars Were Won to the list of must-read books and be
it was written by a former Cape Codder.
Zel Levin, The Cape Codder, Orleans,
From the Author:
stark contrast to the Vietnam experience. It portrays a world where
rational and men had a sense of mission. It recaptures how life used to
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