It was a book. A paperback book. Sitting in a used book store in one of the “rougher” sections of Modesto, CA. I wandered the rows seeking something cheap that might interest me.
Around 1982, I believe. Seeking non-fiction; the genre I preferred.
Heark!!! A 25-center and the cover stated the contents were about Marines in Guadalcanal. That’s where Uncle Jim had first engaged in combat, having enlisted around six-months before Pearl Harbor.
Grasping the yellowed well-used beast I noticed it was printed in the 1950s and had a title I had never seen before.
Interesting…. reputedly non-fiction but i had never heard of the written-about topic; Marines who had planned and commenced preparations to sail away to freedom… intending to desert and living the good life in Australia after a lengthy sea trek. Caught and tried on the island the plotters were led off and executed by musketry as discretely as possible.
Golly. I had NEVER read nor heard of any such event.
I read then re-read the book but it seemed implausible yet some of Uncle Jim’s shared tales of Guadalcanal events I had also never read in print but that was understandable. Some events are simply not shared nor written about or, IF shared… there is a certain “code of silence” among veterans.
I can attest to some events as recent as the 1970s when “veterans” of Olongapo quietly share stores of certain “things” there but is it good manners or the lack of believability among those who did not personally experience those events that taught many to most of us to remain mum?
Nowadays, 35 years later, I notice that fellow “Olongapoers” never bring the “dirty past” up in conversation and neither do I.
Similarly, certain events and occurrences aboard warships are not mentioned. No!!! no sexual deviancy so avast ye landlubbers and your Village People references.
It is just too difficult to describe life aboard a warship and the near-insane environment that existed there that apparently is a relic of the past due to the “new Navy” awash with political correctness and with females aboard ships.
Back to Guadalcanal. Written and labeled as non-fiction I asked every person I met who had served there their opinion and none said they had ever heard of such an event and they believe the story was fabricated but labeled as non-fiction.
Yet that is not PROOF!!!
When the Web came strutting upon the stage I used it to search for a reference to the book or event.
1995… nothing. As the years passed and the Web grew then grew some more with oodles and globules of new content regularly added I kept searching.
Nothing. Not even a peep of the event or the book that I had sold or given away years earlier.
I did not recall the title but the search terms and words used were such to assist in reducing search engine hits and ease my search.
My current search remains futile. Interesting. Not a single hit.
That leads me to believe the book must have had an incredibly small printing “run.”
I have only seen that one copy though I have made innumerable visits to various outlets for used books. From thrift stores to used book stores of all types I have seen only that one copy.