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In Afteryears…
The Faces of War


In October 1941, my wife, Frances Ann, gave birth to our first son, Martin. After the outbreak of the war, and while the campaign in the Philippines was still going on, I wrote, from sources in this country, Men on Bataan. In the summer of 1942, Time sent me out as a correspondent in the Pacific, where I spent several months aboard the first Hornet and a short time on Guadalcanal. There, besides observing the Marines, I participated in two air accidents on successive flights, and one of them, the capsizing on landing of a two-seater, open-cockpit, air-sea rescue plane, qualified me for membership in the now rapidly expanding association known as The Enemies of Modern Aviation. I returned to the United States in the autumn, resumed work for Time, wrote Into the Valley, and stood by while our second son, John, was born.

“In Moscow’s Metropole Hotel in June of 1944, I learned by cable of the birth of our daughter.”

Next I went to North Africa and Sicily, where I covered air and infantry phases of the invasion and again took unwilling part in two airplane accidents; again they were on successive flights; and again one of them, the entanglement of a C-47 with a barrage balloon cable and the plane’s consequent crash landing, gave me considerable prestige among The Enemies. In September 1943, I came home, left all my notes from the Mediterranean trip in a taxicab in excitement over seeing my family again, learned that a kind colonel named Austin had taken them from the taxi and then lost them in excitement over seeing his wife, and finally recovered them from the lost-and-found department of the Pennsylvania Hotel. I then went to the mountains of North Carolina where I wrote A Bell for Adano. In the winter of 1943 to 1944, Life sent me on a short trip to Mexico.

In June of 1944, I went to Russia, and there, I covered the war from Room 475 in the Metropole Hotel in Moscow. I learned by cable, also in that room, of the birth of our daughter, Ann Baird. I made trips to Leningrad, Estonia, and Poland, but I spent most of my time in Moscow covering Russian theatre, writing, music, and art.

Back in the States in 1945 for another breather, I wrote articles for Life and The New Yorker. In November, I went to China and corresponded from there with the same two magazines; spent six weeks in a small Chinese village near Peiping, rode through the Yangtze gorges on an old launch, accompanied Chinese troops on a trip from Shanghai to Manchuria on an LST, and visited Kalgan, which was then Communist-held. Afterwards I flew to Japan and did research for Hiroshima, which I wrote after my return to the United States. At present I am living in the country, writing and enjoying getting acquainted with my family.  the end


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