Ten Knights in a Bar Room: Missing in Action in the Southwest Pacific, 1943

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9780813817361: Ten Knights in a Bar Room: Missing in Action in the Southwest Pacific, 1943
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Ten KNits in a Bar Room describes the 1970 discovery of an American B-24, lost since December 1, 1943, in New Guinea. Author Michael J. Cundiff tells of the recovery and indentification of the plane's ten-member crew in the Southwest Pacific, but his main interest is the ten men themselves- their lives before and after they joined the army, the mission they were flying when lost, and the stories of their loved ones back home. "The crewmen of the B-24 dubbed the Ten Knights in a Bar Room were not only knights," Cundiff writes. "they were also sons and brothers and friends and lovers- they were human beings. For the most party, because there were neither famous nor notorious, the record of their lives is preserved only in the memories of those who knew them and in the snapshots that are the portaiture of everyday life." Ten Knites in a Bar Room is a story about World War II and about ten families that felt its tragic impact. Using military records, newspaper clippings, and family letters and photographs, Cundiff has pieced togethter a remarkable collective biography of the men who flew Ten Knights in a Bar Room for the 90th bomb Group. In addition to the documentary evidence, Cundiff has drawn on extensive interviews with surviving members of the 90th and with relatives of Ten Knights crew members. All are quite candid in sharing their personal views of the American military effort against the Japanese and how the war affected them. Some still meet in yearly reunions to reminisce and to pay tribute- and Cundiff has joined them there, to listen and to learn. And while his book deals with just a single M.I.A. incident, its victims and their survivors, Cundiff addresses the human tragedy that is any war. The author's diligence and skill in retracing the steps of the Ten Knights crew and the stories of their families provides a gripping close-up of the emotional resonance of military heroism-and the particular tragedy of the serviceman missing in action while defending his nation.

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Michael J. Cundiff
Published by Iowa State Press (1990)
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Michael J. Cundiff
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