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Southwest Passage

The Yanks in the Pacific

John Lardner

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 12/2013
Pages: 314
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9780803253292


At a time when few Americans had visited Australia, journalist John Lardner sailed down under with the U.S. armed forces as one of the first American war correspondents in the Pacific theater. With his excellent sense of humor and gift for narrative, Lardner penned vignettes of MacArthur’s arrival and his reception in Melbourne and a flight with the daring Dutch flier Capt. Hans Smits. More frequently, Lardner wrote about the ordinary day and the average person. Traveling throughout the country, in Southwest Passage Lardner offers a glimpse of Australia in the 1940s and generates warmth and admiration for World War II fighters in the Pacific, whether Australian, New Zealander, aboriginal, or American. For generations of readers who have learned about World War II with the benefit of hindsight, Lardner’s tone, style, and selected topics give more than just entertaining anecdotes about the military in the Pacific; they are a view into the culture and society of midcentury America.


John Lardner (1913–60), the eldest son of legendary American humorist Ring Lardner, was a frequent and much-honored contributor to the New Yorker, True, and Sport magazines and wrote three books. His work has been collected by editor John Schulian in The John Lardner Reader: A Press Box Legend’s Classic Sportswriting (Nebraska, 2010). Alex Belth is the author of Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players’ Rights.