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Safe Passage: The Civilian Evacuation From Hawaii After Pearl Harbor

James F. Lee

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ISBN 10: 1540568199 / ISBN 13: 9781540568199
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Safe Passage: The Civilian Evacuation From ...

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: New

About this title


SAFE PASSAGE is the first book to feature the dramatic story of the American civilians, trapped on the Hawaiian Islands after the horrifying surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, who were evacuated thousands of miles by ship across the Pacific and by train across the United States in mid-winter. The bombing attack that came early on a December Sunday morning in 1941 left thousands of civilians, many of them suddenly widowed women (including the author’s mother) and their young children, vulnerable and afraid, at least 3000 miles from home. Just as on 9/11, with the awful events of one morning, everything had changed. After a few panicked days spent in fear of another attack, the decision was made to evacuate as many as possible back to the mainland, along with the wounded servicemen who had survived. In an era in which plane flight was not yet common, evacuation would be by sea in armed convoys on civilian ships, including cruise ships commandeered from throughout the Pacific - an eight-to-ten-day crossing in crowded vessels stripped of any luxuries, in heavy winter seas, and under constant fear of further attacks by Japanese submarines. Based on interviews with evacuees and over ten years of research, SAFE PASSAGE: The Civilian Evacuation from Hawaii after Pearl Harbor tells the full true story for the first time. Detailing the bureaucratic infighting between the Army and Navy and the occasional heroism of desk officers suddenly tasked with implementing martial law on Hawaii and coordinating the evacuation, SAFE PASSAGE recounts evacuees’ tales of sacrifice and bravery - and some moments of cowardice. The ocean journey was just the first stage. The evacuees - including an entire college football team - landed in California, where they conveyed the first eyewitness accounts of the attack to waiting reporters. With the help of the Red Cross, they traveled by unheated trains and with little food back to their families throughout the US during the coldest and snowiest winter in years. Treated as heroes in their hometowns, the evacuated civilians were held up as examples of American toughness in the face of adversity as the US plunged into a World War. With an Appendix including full convoy ship lists, selected letters and memorandums and news articles. James F. Lee’s mother was widowed during the attack, and she and his half-sister were among the evacuees. His mother subsequently married Lee’s father. The cover photo, a personal photo taken in Hawaii of Lee's mother with his sister and some other children, was originally published in the Salem Evening News, Salem, MA, to accompany an article about his mother's Pearl Harbor experience. Lee found the photo in the Salem Evening News archives at the Salem Public Library while researching the book. Thanks is given to both the Salem Evening News and the Salem Public Library for the use of the photo in connection with SAFE PASSAGE.

About the Author:

James Lee is a freelance writer focusing on travel and history. His stories have appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, British Heritage, and Tidewater Traveler. Lee also taught journalism for many years at Bucknell University. He presently lives in Virginia Beach, Virgina. His first book, The Lady Footballers: Struggling to Play in Victorian Britain (Routledge, 2008) was a finalist for the 2008 Lord Aberdare Literary Prize, awarded by the British Society of Sports History. Safe Passage is his second book.

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