Thursday, November 12, 2009

War in Pacific focus of author talk at Oshkosh Public Library

[We have received the following press release from the Oshkosh Public Library and are pleased to publish it on their behalf.]

The compelling tale of one World War II bombardment group and their experiences in the battle for the Pacific comes to life at a special event at the Oshkosh Public Library on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Menasha author Adrian Martin will visit the library to discuss and sign his latest book, Operation Plum, the Ill-fated 27th Bombardment Group and the Battle for the Western Pacific.

Operation Plum is both the true story of the 27th Bombardment Group and a cohesive overview of America’s early months of WWII in the Western Pacific. Martin co-authored the book with Larry W. Stephenson, M.D., a nephew of one of the book’s key figures.

The members of the Army Air Corps’ 27th Bombardment Group went in as confident young warriors. They came out as battle-scarred veterans, POW camp survivors . . . or worse. The 27th arrived in the Philippines in November 1941 with 1,209 men; one year later, only 20 returned to the United States.

Americans know a great deal about Pearl Harbor and subsequent battles across the Pacific as the troops fought their way to Japan. They know MacArthur left the Philippines and those left behind endured the infamous Bataan Death March. Yet they know almost nothing of the fighting by U.S. forces that raged in and around the Philippines, Java, Australia and New Guinea during those first months of the war. Operation Plum sheds light on these battles, in what one reviewer calls “ the most complete and compelling picture of the early Pacific air war ever likely to appear.”

Martin, a retired English teacher, also will talk about his first book, Brothers from Bataan. “These books have a lot in common,” he explains. “They both go through Bataan and deal with POW life and how these folks got into this situation in the first place.”

Martin’s uncle died while a POW in Bataan and years later Martin connected with veterans groups from that period, attending POW conventions and talking with them about their experiences. The stories they shared led him to write Brothers.

"A lot of these guys had been in early battles of the war, when we were losing, so they didn’t talk much about it when they got back,” he says. “They opened up to me in a way that some of them hadn’t even done with their own families.”

Many books about WWII focus on how the war was won, but Martin says his books focus on a story less told. “People don’t realize how unprepared we were to fight WWII,” he says. “When you look at troops and equipment and strategy, we were so far behind in the early part of the war and unfortunately, people paid with their lives.”

Copies of Operation Plum and Brothers from Bataan will be available for purchase at the event.

Find more information about the author visit at or call 236-5205.


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