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Weller's War: A Legendary Foreign Correspondent's Saga of World War II on Five Continents
     

Weller's War: A Legendary Foreign Correspondent's Saga of World War II on Five Continents

by George Weller, Anthony Weller
 

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Walter Cronkite called him “one of our best war correspondents.” His stories from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific during World War II won him the Pulitzer Prize. Now, George Weller is immortalized in a collection of fearless, intrepid dispatches that crisscross a shattered globe. Edited by his son, Weller’s War provides an eyewitness look

Overview

Walter Cronkite called him “one of our best war correspondents.” His stories from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific during World War II won him the Pulitzer Prize. Now, George Weller is immortalized in a collection of fearless, intrepid dispatches that crisscross a shattered globe. Edited by his son, Weller’s War provides an eyewitness look at modern history’s greatest upheaval, and also contains never-published reporting alongside excerpts from three books. From battlefront to beachhead, Weller incisively chronicles the heroism and humanity that still managed to triumph amid horrific events.

Following the Nazi seizure of Eastern Europe and his own “quarantine” in Greece by the Gestapo, George Weller accompanies Congolese troops freeing Ethiopia for Haile Selassie. He remains in doomed Singapore until the colony falls. On Java, he watches brave American fighter pilots delay the island’s collapse. Strafed by Japanese planes, he escapes by small boat to Australia. He covers the Pacific, from the Solomon Islands to the jungle hell of New Guinea. Back in Europe he sees a liberated Greece beset by civil war, then crosses the Middle East. In Burma, he risks guerrilla raids behind enemy lines. At the war’s close, he hurries from China to a defeated but uncowed Japan, where new horrors await.

And he struggles throughout against a tireless adversary—censorship. Vivid and heart-stopping, the dispatches of World War II reporter George Weller are as intimate, memorable, and relevant today as they were nearly seventy years ago—and demonstrate what it meant to be a foreign correspondent long before the era of satellite phones and the Internet.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Reporting on WWII for the Chicago Daily News from 1941 to 1945, George Weller (1907-2002) filed stories from every theater. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for a story on an emergency appendectomy performed with kitchen utensils on a submarine in Japanese waters. He was strafed and shelled, contracted recurrent malaria, trained as a paratrooper, flew a mission over Italy on a B-17 with two engines down. He was the first outside observer at nuclear-devastated Nagasaki. He reported it all in an urbane, understated style that never palls. Weller had no sense of himself as a Great Journalist-which perhaps is why he was one. Weller's 1944 presentation of "the worldwide American" stands out as a model of brevity and insight: "His foreign policy represents an attempt to become popular by being benevolent, rather than to be respected by being reasonable." Weller has been obscured by better known personalities like Ernie Pyle. This anthology, edited by his son, should give him the recognition his work merits. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

George Weller wrote for the Chicago Daily News for 35 years, achieving fame for his widely ranging dispatches from the many fronts of World War II. He was captured by the Gestapo in Greece, escaped from Java on a boat strafed by Japanese fighters, marched with Belgian colonial troops fighting Italian colonial troops in Ethiopia, and slogged through swamps with Americans and Australians locked in grim struggles in New Guinea. Weller's war reporting won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1943. Here, his son assembles many of his dispatches, which add tremendously to our understanding of the war at ground level, the people's war. His aim was to tell the people back home what their heroes were doing. Anthony Weller previously edited First into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War, a book of his father's unpublished dispatches from post-surrender Japan. Anyone interested in World War II will want to read both volumes.
—Edwin B. Burgess

Kirkus Reviews
An adventurous correspondent's World War II dispatches reanimate the great cataclysm of the 20th century. Journalist/novelist Anthony Weller discovered a cache of his father George's dispatches, which had been presumed lost, following the latter's death in 2002. First Into Nagasaki (2006) collected George's revealing stories from defeated Japan, censored by order of General MacArthur. Here, Anthony has compiled and edited a much larger selection consisting primarily of pieces written for the Chicago Daily News, supplemented by a half-dozen longer magazine articles and abridged versions of his father's three wartime books: Singapore Is Silent, "Luck to the Fighters" and Bases Overseas. The material details events beginning in 1940 and ranging from Greece and the Balkans to Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In all those locales, the reporter often struggled to get his dispatches through not only enemy lines but also "friendly" censors. Readers will be immediately struck by the profound difference between Weller's coverage of armed conflict and the sort typically seen on television today. The cultured, cosmopolitan, multilingual journalist strove to present not just the images and events of a world war but the political machinations behind its gruesome twists and turns. He reveled in the irony, for example, of entire Nazi battalions on their way to invade Greece strolling through Bulgaria, whose government was supposedly neutral, as "tourists" in civilian attire. In Africa, he sensed the heroic significance of Belgian officers marching their Congolese troops 2,500 miles across jungle and desert to participate in the eventual defeat of the Italians in Ethiopia,the first retaliatory blow of a victim nation against the Axis powers. Also included here is the famous story gleaned from a U.S. submarine crew of an emergency appendectomy performed by a pharmacists' mate while submerged in enemy waters. It earned Weller a 1943 Pulitzer, and was cribbed twice without credit by Hollywood. Adds scope, analysis and emotional immediacy to a critical body of history. Author events in Boston, Chicago, New York City

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307452245
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
656
Sales rank:
392,000
File size:
8 MB

Meet the Author

George Weller was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard in 1929. As an admired but penniless young novelist, he began reporting on Greece and the Balkans for the New York Times in the 1930s, then made his name covering World War II for the Chicago Daily News. He won a 1943 Pulitzer Prize for his story of an emergency appendectomy on a submarine in enemy waters. Throughout his long career Weller reported from five continents; he was a Nieman Fellow in 1947 and also won a 1954 George Polk Award. His work includes two highly praised WWII books, Singapore Is Silent and Bases Overseas. He died at his home in Italy at the age of 95.

Anthony Weller is the author of three novels—The Garden of the Peacocks, The Polish Lover, and The Siege of Salt Cove—and a memoir of India and Pakistan called Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road. He has traveled widely for numerous magazines and is also a much-recorded jazz and classical guitarist.

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