A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife-separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil-fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands
Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing war that claimed his own flesh and blood. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, after an argument they both regret, he heads north from Seattle to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.
While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the Birthplace of Winds." There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese.
Alone in their home three thousand miles to the south, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is-and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows.
A powerful, richly atmospheric story of life and death, commitment and sacrifice, The Wind Is Not a River illuminates the fragility of life and the fierce power of love.
"I wouldn't have read this book on my own. War isn't my thing. But I'm glad I did pick it up (thanks to a very eloquent rep) because there is SO much to it. This is about survival, love, ethics, war, and family. John Easley is a reporter who generally writes about travel and landscape. But, while working in the Alaska's Aleutian Islands and he discovers a whole new area of war--the Japanese didn't just bomb Pearl Harbor, they invaded several of the Aleutian Islands and they were a brutal bunch (this is true, though not generally known, which is unfortunate because thousands of soldier died in these islands). Though reporters were banned, Easley managed to talk his was in an airplane with some of the American soldiers. They were shot down over Attu island. John and one young soldier survived. They had to hide from the thousands of Japanese on the same small island, stealing what they could, eating raw shell fish to stay alive and searching for drift wood from the sea--Attu has no trees--the winds make that impossible.
The other part of this story is Helen, John's wife, who knows that her husband is up there, but no one else does. She finds a clever way to get up to Alaska, lying her way in to a traveling USO show. She searches every camp, hoping to find some word of her husband.
There are so many wonderful things going on in this book, though there is plenty of horrible things happening as well. The balance is well done, and the pages call out to you to read just a little more. I absolutely recommend this book for both men and women."