Passage to Pusan
Strong, big-hearted and Hollywood handsome, Vincent Healy carries the pride of his large Brisbane family on his muscular shoulders when he becomes a soldier and is sent to multiple war zones. His letters from Japan and the Korean front line keep his mother sane as she endures endless hardship to protect and provide for her other nine children during World War II and the Cold War years. After Vince is killed in action, his mother embarks on a harrowing journey of discovery. This fascinating non-fiction book explores untold stories from WWII and the Korean and Vietnam Wars and delves into working class life in the suburbs of Brisbane in a compassionate but unsentimental narrative. It describes the experiences of soldiers on the ground in Australia's Asian theatres of war and reveals how they viewed their role in these struggles. It stirringly reveals the sometimes troubled life of Vince Healy's family back home, and the harrowing journey his devastated mother takes to find his grave. Passage to Pusan fills a vacuum in our understanding of life experiences that were duplicated in many families across Australia during this volatile period of our history.
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This is a great read about an Australian mother's many challenges including the search for her son's grave after he's killed in the Korean War.
Set in Brisbane mostly from the 1940s through to the 1970s, it paints a terrific picture of an ordinary suburban life in Australia torn asunder by war.
And it follows hero Vince Healy's escapades across Australia, post World War two Japan, and the battlefields of Korea.
Thelma Healy's journey is amazing for a woman of those times: Taking a brutal husband to court for maintenance payments and somehow getting herself to Korea 10 years after the devastating war between north and south.
Another chapter that continues to haunt is author Louise Evans's graphic description of the Vietnam War fire-fight between the Australians and Viet Cong in Operation Hammersley which left Vince's younger brother Peter Healy barely alive.