Words of My Roaring

Ernest Finney, Author
Ernest Finney, Author Crown Publishers $23 (380p) ISBN 978-0-517-59107-9
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Finney ( Winterchill ) sets this tale of human tragedy and redemption against the backdrop of the larger events of WW II. San Bruno, a small coastal town in California, is designated as a naval training base for battle-bound recruits, and as a liberty town for 25,000 soldiers. Tanforan, the local racetrack, is transformed into an internment camp for Japanese Americans. Five people witness these changes: 10-year-old Mary Maureen, whose parents have moved from Tennessee to California to find work in the shipyards; her little sister, Ruthie; Avery, the boy living next door whose childhood was shattered by a family murder; Elaine Walker, the young schoolteacher; and Chuck Sweet, survivor of the Arizona , now the Navy petty officer Elaine loves. First-person accounts detail their everyday lives--listening to the radio for war news, the terrors of being called on in class, gas rationing, hoarding toilet paper, fights in the local taverns, looking for prostitutes, the silence of wounded men dying of exposure in the cold Pacific and acts of personal and private courage. Quirky and flawed, these characters reveal the fragility and toughness of the human spirit. Sharply evocative of the time, this story of homefront America is a good read. (July)
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