Max Brand, one of America's most popular and prolific novelists and author of such enduring works as Destry Rides Again and the Doctor Kildare stories, died on the Italian front in 1944 without having published his one work of nonfiction. Now after more than fifty years and a string of fortunate coincidences, Brand's stirring account of the 212th Marine Fighter Squadron's operations at Guadalcanal in 1942 has been set in print.
One of the very first examples of oral history, this treasure trove of personal and historical detail was the result of hundreds of hours of interviews with the pilots and ground crew of the 212th, as well as with Marine infantrymen and Navy personnel, conducted soon after the events took place. Stories of thrilling, yet deadly, air-to-air combat are recounted in the words of the men who were there - who also share their innermost thoughts about fear, courage, and their resolve to defeat the Japanese.
Lost when Brand was killed while covering the Italian campaign for Harper's magazine, this unique and important find would never have appeared in print except for a meeting of squadron veterans and the author's daughter. Graced with the poetic spirit and descriptive power of his well-loved novels, Brand's account deserves a place among the classics of World War II literature for both its literary merit and its rich legacy of personal insights into one of the pivotal campaigns of the Pacific War.