PBS NewsHour anchor Lehrer mixes baseball, WWII and romance in his 19th novel to mostly pleasant results. Even though Johnny Wrigley, from smalltown Lafayette, Md., is being scouted by the Detroit Tigers, he enlists in the Marines in April 1944 to "kill Japs for America." En route to deployment, Johnny meets Betsy, a striking but naïvely religious doughnut girl, falls instantly in love and seduces her. He vows he'll return for her, a quixotic obsession that sustains him through grittily rendered combat scenes in the Pacific. At the war's end, Johnny returns with marriage on his mind. But Betsy can't be found, and Johnny ends up in Baltimore with a menial bus company job and his big league dreams rekindled. But those, like his romantic fantasy, remain out of reach. Though Johnny's obsessive love for Betsy is a bit hard to swallow, his troubled postwar reintegration is nicely handled and gives readers insight into a Greatest Generation leatherneck. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Oh, Johnnyby Jim Lehrer
A talented athlete, Johnny Wrigley believes that someday he will play major league baseball. But his life unexpectedly takes a detour. In April 1944, Johnny is a newly minted marine on a troop train heading west for California, where he will be shipped overseas to fight in the Pacific Theater. At a brief stop in Wichita, Johnny gets off the train and falls in love
A talented athlete, Johnny Wrigley believes that someday he will play major league baseball. But his life unexpectedly takes a detour. In April 1944, Johnny is a newly minted marine on a troop train heading west for California, where he will be shipped overseas to fight in the Pacific Theater. At a brief stop in Wichita, Johnny gets off the train and falls in love with the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. In a storeroom at the station, they share an intimacy that Johnny will treasure for the next two years at war—and beyond.
In Peleliu and Okinawa, nothing prepares Johnny for the terrible events that will haunt him forever. During fierce combat, inspiring thoughts of Betsy Luck (the name Johnny has given his Kansas love) keep him safe. Two years later, Johnny is back in Wichita, searching for the girl he wants to marry. But fate has different plans for Johnny, his long-dreamed-of baseball career, and the girl whose memory helped him survive.
“[Oh, Johnny] bears many Lehrer trademarks. Relaxed storytelling, an eye for detail and his recurring themes of battles, bus rides and baseball.”—USA Today
“Lehrer mixes baseball, WWII and romance . . . [Oh, Johnny] gives readers insight into a Greatest Generation leatherneck.”—Publishers Weekly
“A profoundly sad and beautiful story.”—Booklist
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Oh, Johnny is Jim Lehrer’s nineteenth novel. He is also the author of two memoirs and three plays and is the executive editor and anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. He and his novelist wife, Kate, have three daughters.
- Washington, D.C.
- Date of Birth:
- May 19, 1934
- Place of Birth:
- Wichita, Kansas
- A.A., Victoria College; B.J., University of Missouri, 1956
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Jim Lehrer surprised me. As a veteran of Vietnam I, up unto the time of reading Oh, Johnny, had not read any works that fit into the category that Mr. Lehrer has chosen to address. His insight and understanding of the mental and conflicting moral state of some post war veterans impressed me. I say kudos Mr. Lehrer...keep em coming!
I ordered this book, but they sent another one . I sent it back, and asked for the one that I had ordered, but they just refunded my money, so I never got the book.