Washington Independent Review of Books

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Paul Hendrickson — Fighting the Night: Iwo Jima, World War II, and a Flyer’s Life - with David Maraniss — at Conn Ave

Location 5015 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20008
Date Monday, May 6, 2024 at 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Duration   1 hours
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Repeats? No

In the fall of 1944, Joe Paul Hendrickson, the author's father, kissed his twenty-one-year-old wife and two baby children goodbye as the twenty-five-year-old first lieutenant, pilot of a famed P-61 Black Widow, left for the war. He and his night fighter squadron were sent to Iwo Jima, where, for the last five and a half months of World War II, he flew approximately seventy-five missions, largely in pitch-black conditions. His wife would wait out the war at the home of her small-town Ohio parents, one of the countless numbers of American family members shouldering the burden of being left behind. Joe Paul, the son of a Depression-poor Kentucky sharecropper, was fresh out of high school in 1937 when he enlisted in mechanic school in the peacetime Army Air Corps. Eventually, he was able to qualify for flight school. After marriage, and with the war on, the young officer and his bride crisscrossed the country, airfield to airfield, base to base, before he volunteered for night fighters and the newly arrived and almost mythic Black Widow. As Paul Hendrickson tracks his parents' journey, together and separate, both stateside and overseas, he creates a vivid portrait of a hard-to-know father whose time in the war, he comes to understand, was something truly heroic, but never without its hidden and unhidden psychic costs. Bringing to life an iconic moment of American history, and the tragedy of all wars, "Fighting the Night" is an intense and powerful story of violence and love, forgiveness, and loss. It is a tribute to those who got plunged into service, in the best years of their lives, and the sacrifices they and their loved ones made, then and thereafter. The event will feature a conversation between Paul Hendrickson and acclaimed author David Maraniss, providing a unique opportunity for attendees to gain insights into this captivating historical narrative and the experiences of those who served during World War II. This event is free and open to the public, with first-come, first-served seating. It promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging evening, shedding light on a lesser-known aspect of the war and the profound impact it had on individuals and families. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a fan of Hendrickson's or Maraniss' work, or simply interested in exploring the human stories behind the events of World War II, this event is not to be missed.

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