The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home by Sally Mott Freeman

The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home

The extraordinary, real-life adventure of three brothers at the center of the most dramatic turning points of World War II and their mad race to change history—and save one of their own.They are three brothers, all Navy men, who end up coincidentally and extraordinarily at the epicenter of three of the war’s most crucial moments. Bill is picked by Roosevelt to run his firs...

Title:The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home
Author:
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ISBN:1501104144
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:589 pages

The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home Reviews

  • Yibbie
    Dec 15, 2016

    I didn’t get very far into this book. I quit before I figured out how they were able to put the private thoughts of the Uncle they never met down on paper. I quite for my usual reason: foul language.

    I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster.

  • Neil
    Jan 05, 2017

    I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

    A brilliant Memoir of three brothers and there journey through the Second World War.

    This is a real page turner that reads more like a novel than a Memoir of the three brothers and their parents.

    I cannot believe the research that must have been done by the author.

  • David V.
    Jan 24, 2017

    Received as an ARC from the publisher. Excellent, well-researched; reads like fiction but it's all so true. Written by the niece of the three brothers. This is apparently her first book, and she's got one heck of a career ahead of her as a non-fiction author. This book won't be out until May 2017, but I can't wait for her next project! Besides learning about her uncles' military careers, you also gain insight into other military and government leaders: FDR, Truman, Churchill, MacArthur,Nimitz, H

    Received as an ARC from the publisher. Excellent, well-researched; reads like fiction but it's all so true. Written by the niece of the three brothers. This is apparently her first book, and she's got one heck of a career ahead of her as a non-fiction author. This book won't be out until May 2017, but I can't wait for her next project! Besides learning about her uncles' military careers, you also gain insight into other military and government leaders: FDR, Truman, Churchill, MacArthur,Nimitz, Halsey, even Hirohito, and others. You learn about good military decisions and really bad ones. I learned about what was occurring on the South Pacific islands where my father was stationed during WWII because he seldom wanted to talk about any of it. And you learn about how ugly war can become.

  • Karen
    Feb 23, 2017

    THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home. BY SALLY MOTT FREEMAN

    This stunning accomplished memoir is written by the daughter Bill Mott, who was the middle brother that comprise who The Jersey Brothers are. The Jersey brother's are Benny Mott, Bill Mott and Arthur Barton Cross, Jr. This is the story of brotherly love, honor, the quest to bring Barton home. A memoir so epic in scope drawn on ten years of research culled from sources all ov

    THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home. BY SALLY MOTT FREEMAN

    This stunning accomplished memoir is written by the daughter Bill Mott, who was the middle brother that comprise who The Jersey Brothers are. The Jersey brother's are Benny Mott, Bill Mott and Arthur Barton Cross, Jr. This is the story of brotherly love, honor, the quest to bring Barton home. A memoir so epic in scope drawn on ten years of research culled from sources all over the world. It includes information from diaries, interviews with the brother's former shipmates, unpublished memoirs and personal letters. It's authenticity is breathtaking, accurately based on facts, but reads like a fast paced story of three brother's and their harrowing service to this country.

    Bill Mott, the author's father, was working at the Office of Navel Intelligence in Washington. He oversaw FDR's Map room located in the White House. FDR got the idea of having this room by a visit from Winston Churchill who had his own war room where he lived in his house. FDR emphasized with Bill over letters Bill had received inquiring over Barton's missing status. Bill was placed in charge of all top secret material that was received, circulated and stored among many other duties.

    What stands out for me is that in later years Bill Mott was consulted by President Truman to give an estimation over how many American lives would be lost if the United States invaded Japan. President Truman relied on Bill Mott's estimated 600,000 of U.S. lives lost in making his decision over whether he did the right thing over dropping the bomb over Japan. What also stands out to me is how cruel war is and this family's relentless quest to find Barton.

    What I didn't know was that as Barton lay injured from shrapnel wounds to his feet and legs that were not healing, is the circumstances of how Barton and other Navy wounded were left behind. According to this author the wounded were the only military still in Manilla. Even more shocking is that on late December 31, an order from General MacArthur came through that all ARMY wounded, but not NAVY wounded were immediately taken to Pier 7 and loaded onto a Red Cross ship. the SS Mactan and transported to Australia. What about the wounded Navy? Why couldn't they be transported to the ship and transported at the same time? Unluckily for Barton he was one of many of the wounded Navy abandoned. This happened before the Japanese invaded and took over Manilla.

    Back on December 8, Benny a gunnery and anti-aircraft carrier arrived in Pearl Harbor to see the death and destruction. Benny was on the USS Enterprise an aircraft carrier that was to witness trapped men in a capsized ship that were trapped and couldn't get out.

    Sally Mott Freeman has written a haunting quest to find out what happened to Barton. Her writing is descriptive and spare and she doesn't leave out any details. This work was at times heartbreaking to read, but it also triumphs and shines with the brotherly love of the Jersey Boys. I hope this book reaches the wide audience that it deserves. For a debut memoir and writer Sally Mott Freeman has written a BRILLIANT historical portrait. It is a POWERFUL Family saga and she should be very proud of her family heritage. This book, I hope joins the ranks with "Saving Private Ryan."

  • Casey Wheeler
    May 19, 2017

    I received a free Kindle copy of The Jersey Brothers by Sally Mott Freeman courtesy of Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

    I requested this book as I have read a great deal about the World War II and the description presented something that I had not read about. This is t

    I received a free Kindle copy of The Jersey Brothers by Sally Mott Freeman courtesy of Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

    I requested this book as I have read a great deal about the World War II and the description presented something that I had not read about. This is the first book by Sally Mott Freeman that I have read.

    This book is well researched as I would expect with the daughter of one of the three main indiviudals as the author. It is also well written, engaging and reads at a fairly quick pace. The storyline is about the three Mott brothers , one a prisoner of war in the Phillipines, one on the aircraft carrier Enterprise and the other in Washington D.C., and their mother. The book revolves around trying to find out if the captured brother is alive and exactly where he is.

    One of the side stories that I found particuarly interesting was the development of Franklin Roosevelt's map room which the author's father maintained during a good portion of the war. As with many other books on this time period, it points out that Douglas McArthur was a vainglorious, self centered individual.

    I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in World War II and in particular novels about the individuals involved in the war who were not necessarily leaders in the conflict.

  • Steven Z.
    May 22, 2017

    Sally Mott Freeman’s first book, THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A MISSING NAVAL OFFICER IN THE PACIFIC AND HIS FAMILY’S QUEST TO BRING HIM HOME is an interesting study in family dynamics and how military strategy and policy was implemented during World War II. The somewhat dysfunctional family is made up of its matriarch Helen Cross, her second husband Arthur, and their three sons and one daughter. The story revolves around the experiences of the sons, the first two of which are children of Helen and her

    Sally Mott Freeman’s first book, THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A MISSING NAVAL OFFICER IN THE PACIFIC AND HIS FAMILY’S QUEST TO BRING HIM HOME is an interesting study in family dynamics and how military strategy and policy was implemented during World War II. The somewhat dysfunctional family is made up of its matriarch Helen Cross, her second husband Arthur, and their three sons and one daughter. The story revolves around the experiences of the sons, the first two of which are children of Helen and her first husband. The sons are Benny Mott, an officer on the USS Enterprise, a graduate of Annapolis, who witnessed a great deal of action during four years of combat duty in the Pacific; William (Bill) Mott, also a graduate of Annapolis, plagued by weak eye sight who winds up as the head of the White House Map Room where he observes and distributes war information to the Franklin D. Roosevelt and military leaders; lastly, Barton Cross, the son of Helen and Arthur who does not measure up to the Annapolis type, enlists and becomes a prisoner of war taken by the Japanese in the Philippines.

    By carefully examining the Mott/Cross family, Freeman is able to analyze its dynamic, in addition to the strategy pursued in the Pacific War. Her approach is unique and provides an alternative means of studying the plight of American POWs in the Pacific, the politics in Washington and General Douglas MacArthur’s command, how military decisions were reached, and the Anglo-American relationship. However important the war is, it is the family that dominates the story. Helen is an overprotective mother who obsesses over her third son, Barton who she views as evidence of a strong marriage after her first was a failure. Barton is the favorite, and the pressure from his mother at times is overbearing. Her other sons seek her love and attention and make do with how she parses it out. What is fascinating is that the two elder brothers do not seem to resent their younger brother and will do anything to support him. The key element in the narrative is how family members react to the seizure of Barton by the Japanese and how they go about coping with wartime information that is directly related to his situation. The entire family is concerned with what Barton is going through and how they can assist him, and perhaps facilitate his quest for freedom.

    Helen’s psyche is on everyone’s mind throughout the book. Helen is the type of “helicopter” parent who will write the commandant of Annapolis as Barton withdraws from that institution, she will also write President Roosevelt, and military commanders. Further, when Bill learns of the treatment of the POWs from a number of escapees, he withholds the information from his mother as long as he can, not to upset her.

    The strength of the book is how Freeman alternates chapters taking the reader back and forth from the USS Enterprise through the experiences of Benny as it leaves Pearl Harbor, participates on the “Doolittle Raid” on Tokyo, finds itself in the midst of the Battle of Midway, the Battle of Guadalcanal, and the taking of Saipan. Next, we are taken inside the White House as Bill witnesses the decisions being made that effect the conduct of the war, or later when he becomes the Flag Officer aboard the USS Rocky Mount. The plight of American POWs is described in detail including the Bataan Death March, and a number of other forced marches as American soldiers are moved from one prison cite to the next. What is particularly disturbing is how unmarked Japanese ships transporting US POWs were sunk by American planes during the last year of the war. In addition, Freeman focuses on the inhuman treatment of the POWs and how they reacted, and why some survived. Another strength is her discussion of the planning and actual invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, two battles that did not go the way military authorities had hoped. Heavy casualties were predicted, but not to the level that eventually resulted. In part the problem was the Japanese use of Kamikaze pilots that invasion planners could find no solution to counteract.

    The major wartime personalities are integrated throughout. MacArthur is dealt with in detail. Admiral “Bull” Halsey, a man who was beloved by his men and was a strategic genius. President Roosevelt is presented as at times a warm and sympathetic leader, but also a harsh decision maker dealing with the realities of war. Other important characters include Admiral Richmond Kelley Turner who commanded the Joint Expeditionary Task Force, known as Operation Forager designed to defeat Japan in 1944, a command and strategy larger than and as complex as the Normandy invasion; Steve Mellnick and William Dyees who escaped the Davao Penal Colony and along with Filipino guerillas sought to launch a rescue mission of the 2000 POWs left behind, as well as a host of other major historical figures.

    Importantly, Freeman goes into depth in presenting the jurisdictional battles between the army and navy for control of the Pacific Theater which was rooted in the struggle between Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur. MacArthur does not fare well in the narrative as Freeman portrays the Pacific Army Commander as a self-serving egoist who only cared about his own place in history. This characterization is quite accurate especially when discussing the strategy to invade the Japanese home islands, which MacArthur favored, or employ a blockade and massive bombing to save the lives of American GIs. It seemed whenever anything did not go as planned, instead of accepting any responsibility, MacArthur blamed the Navy.

    What is clear throughout the book is that Bill did his utmost to try and learn the plight of his brother. He traveled, wrote letters, and pressed friends, all in an attempt to learn the truth. The author, Bill’s daughter makes excellent use of the memories of family members, in addition to diaries and other documents. She has mined a tremendous amount of material and it is reflected in her strong narrative. Her investigation into what happened to her uncle provides insights into how families were forced to deal with their missing sons, and for far too many the grief that followed. Overall the book paints a fascinating portrait of a family’s plight during World War II. It may get bogged down in family details at the outset, but once Freeman takes up the wartime experiences of Helen’s three sons the reader will become immersed in the detail and the heroic nature of what they experience and the actions they take. The Cross/Mott brothers, were truly “a band of brothers,” and Freeman’s efforts reflect a strong effort for a first book!

  • Alicia
    May 23, 2017

    If you like non-fiction written like a novel this book may appeal to you. I love learning history through storytelling and the author gave me great insight into the events in the Pacific during WW2 whilst she unfolded the poignant story of her relatives wartime experiences and the consequences of their actions. The book deserves a wide audience and is crying out to be made into a netflix-type series or hollywood blockbuster.

  • Sarah Clement
    Jun 04, 2017

    Thrilling, wrenching, riveting story set in the Pacific theater of WWII and FDR's map room told by the daughter and niece of the three Jersey brothers of the title. The sufferings of the youngest brother, captured by the Japanese in the Philippines at the outset of the war, are difficult to read about, but the author has insured that her young uncle will never be forgotten. I read parts of the book several times, the writing was so good and the tale so moving. I also enjoyed the end notes docume

    Thrilling, wrenching, riveting story set in the Pacific theater of WWII and FDR's map room told by the daughter and niece of the three Jersey brothers of the title. The sufferings of the youngest brother, captured by the Japanese in the Philippines at the outset of the war, are difficult to read about, but the author has insured that her young uncle will never be forgotten. I read parts of the book several times, the writing was so good and the tale so moving. I also enjoyed the end notes documenting just how thoroughly researched and convincingly recreated this family history was.

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