Bell Bottom Boys
The year is 1944. The United States has finally done what it must throw its full weight into the fight against evil then known as the Axis Powers. Gordon Brainerd is but 16 years old, too young to join the regular forces, but just old enough for the Merchant Marines. Dropping out of high school and leaving his small hometown for the first time, this is his coming-of-age story, wherein from the streets of New York City to the ports of South America and the Philippines, Gordon maintains his small town values while learning to become a man. His own man.
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A Wonderful Book!User Review - steno gal - Borders
"Bell Bottom Boys" is a compelling piece of historical fiction. The author has a remarkable way of blending elements of fiction with historical facts that keep the reader hooked, eager to read the ... Read full review
It has probably become a dim memory to those of us in our 70s and beyond. And to those born after the 1940s, it is only recorded history without a personal experiential baseline. But the war that encompassed our entire globe came to conclusion more than 60 years ago. Some of us regularly visit our national cemeteries which honor the heroes of World War II and other wars, but we may rarely think of the supporting backbone of our military forces that provided the hardware, transportation, food, and other supplies that enabled our military men and women to defend freedoms here and abroad.
One such supporting group of men and women is known as the Merchant Marines. Merchant Marines became “military personnel” during times of war by virtue of Merchant Marine Act of 1936. Then in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law granting veteran status to merchant mariners who served in war. Prior to such legislation, they were considered civilians and did not receive any of the veteran's benefits given to members of the U.S. armed forces.
The book “Bell Bottom Boys” by Gordon Brainerd provides a revealing perspective from the eyes of a 16 year old young man regarding what it meant to be a Merchant Marine in wartime. His experiences as summarized in this excellent book take us with him as he trains to become a mariner, his travel to various locations around the US in preparation for his service in the South Pacific, and then his return home loaded with memories of his adventure.
As we mature in life we all can think back about our own early formative years, and the excitement we experienced as we proceeded through that maturing process. In “Bell Bottom Boys” Gordon shares with us what was going through his mind in his “coming of age” process, and then he looks back on that experience from his current senior citizen perspective. In the world and culture of today where many young people are tending in the direction of self gratification, it is refreshing to read about a young man who was eager to step out of familiar societital moors and choose to serve his country as he continued through the maturing process.
This is a book that will perhaps inspire a young person that you know who is looking for life’s direction, or for the more mature individual as he or she looks back on those difficult years of the 1940s.