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By admin | September 10th, 2013

Book chronicles WWII Marine cinematographer

REVIEW: My Brother’s Letters
Amazon Paperback:  $$11.59, Kindle:  $5.95
One of the interesting things about this Association is the historical data that turns up from unexpected sources.  Take “My Brother’s Letters,” a self-published paperback (and ebook) written by James Watson and chronicling the action of his Marine cinematographer brother during World War II.

Somewhat like Linda Keaton-Lima’s “War Is Not Just For Heroes,” the dispatches recorded by her dad, CC Red Canup, Watson’s brother, Robert described his training and his combat in letters sent to his family and collected by his mother.  Unlike Red, however, Robert was killed while filming combat action on Okinawa.

What is particularly interesting for our photo members  are Robert’s description of his photo and cinematography training at Quantico, the difficulties in obtaining equipment, and his ultimate rights of passage as a combat photographer. The book is filled with photos of many of the World War II Marine photographers that many of us knew.

Like Denig’s CC Demons, these photo warriors literally learned by doing.  Yes, Bob had excellent training under the tutelage of his legendary leader, Capt. Karl Thayer Soule, but, like Denig’s men (and many of us) plying their trade under fire was a whole ‘nother thing.

Bob describes what it was like using the old Bell and Howell Eyemo 35mm movie camera, having to stop and rewind after 20 or so seconds of filming, then remove the cartridge and replace it, all the while exposed to the tremendous noise of battle and the confusion and terror going on around him.

The book reflects a young man’s growth, his tremendous love of family and his courage in recording the history of the Pacific war.  This is a good read.

As a postscript, the author, James Watson has become an affiliate member of our band of brothers.

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