The Bridges at Toko-Ri
James A. Michener
G.K. Hall & Co., 1953, 130 PP
The planes and ships of U.S. Navy Task Force 77 have a mission and that is to destroy the bridges at Toko-Ri in North Korea thereby slowing the flow of men and material to the communist forces in the south. But the bridges are located in a narrow valley between steep mountains and the air route in and out of the valley is heavily fortified.
Lieutenant Harry Brubaker is one of the best fliers in the carrier group but he is a reluctant warrior. A veteran naval aviator of World War II, he has a promising legal career in Denver plus a wife and two young daughters that he loves dearly. But for this war the government has decided to selectively call up reserves. While the rest of America goes about their business without giving the war in Korea a second thought, Harry has to leave family and career to fight it.
For Admiral George Tarrant, Commander of Task Force 77, this war was also personally difficult. A battle hardened veteran, he had lost two sons in World War II and a wife who, in her grief, had become a alcoholic. Since Brubaker was about the same age and rank as his oldest son would have been if he had not been killed fighting the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Tarrant had taken a special liking to him.
In addition to the communist enemy that they fly against daily in Korea, both Brubaker and Tarrant struggle with their personal problems in this lonely and largely forgotten war. For Brubaker it is the struggle between duty and the family and career he has been pulled away from. For Tarrant it is the memories of a lost family and the loneliness This is a tense, action packed book loaded with both physical and emotional drama.
This report prepared by Chuck Nugent