Southwest Passage


Southwest Passage

The Yanks in the Pacific

John Lardner
Introduction by Alex Belth

314 pages
1 map, 1 glossary


June 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
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December 2013


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About the Book

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.

Author Bio

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.


“John Lardner, inheriting his father’s large gift for narrative as well as his sense of humor, has vividly related his impressions of Australia from the point of view of an American war correspondent. . . . Will enlighten and amuse readers who want details about the troops fighting ‘down under.’”—Pacific Affairs

“When a good sports reporter goes from Jacobs’ Alley into the biggest fight in the world, he has a good background for sizing up the people and places involved. John Lardner was one of the first correspondents to go to the Pacific theatre with the U.S. armed forces, and his account . . . gives readers a speaking acquaintance with their allies down under.”—Nancy Wilder, Far Eastern Survey

“Mr. Lardner has the happy faculty of taking the war seriously without taking himself seriously. He does not go in for military master-minding or chest-thumping hysterics. He is content to be pleasantly entertaining.”—New York Times

Table of Contents

I. The Unready
II. Westward (Censored) Ho!
III. Convoy
IV. All Ashore
V. The Shirtsleeve Baedeker
VI. The Last Bastion
VII. MacArthur and MacArthuriana
VIII. Road Company
IX. Darwin
X. Japs, Mostly Dead
XI. The Planes We Fight With
XII. Dakota in the Red Dust
XIII. As the Dutchman Flies
XIV. City Life
XV. Log of the Firecracker
XVI. Port of Bombs and Butterflies
XVII. Between Zeros
XVIII. Seven Deadly Young Men
XIX. Coral Sea
XX. Diggers at Work
XXI. Behind the Lines
XXII. The Tasman Bumps
XXIII. Homeward: The Odd Pace

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