The Jersey Brothers
The extraordinary, real-life adventure of three brothers at the center of the most dramatic turning points of World War II and their mad race to change history—and save one of their own.They are three brothers, all Navy men, who end up coincidentally and extraordinarily at the epicenter of three of the war’s most crucial moments. Bill is picked by Roosevelt to run his first Map Room in Washington. Benny is the gunnery and anti-aircraft officer on the USS Enterprise, one of the only carriers to escape Pearl Harbor and by the end of 1942 the last one left in the Pacific to defend against the Japanese. Barton, the youngest and least distinguished of the three, is shuffled off to the Navy Supply Corps because his mother wants him out of harm’s way. But this protection plan backfires when Barton is sent to the Philippines and listed as missing-in-action after a Japanese attack. Now it is up to Bill and Benny to find and rescue him.Based on ten years of research drawn from archives around the world, interviews with fellow shipmates and POWs, and primary sources including diaries, unpublished memoirs, and letters half-forgotten in basements, The Jersey Brothers is a remarkable story of agony and triumph—from the home front to Roosevelt’s White House, and Pearl Harbor to Midway and Bataan. It is the story, written with intimate, novelistic detail, of an ordinary young man who shows extraordinary courage as the Japanese do everything short of killing him. And it is, above all, a story of brotherly love: of three men finding their loyalty to each other tested under the tortures of war—and knowing that their success or failure to save their youngest brother will shape their family forever.

The Jersey Brothers Details

TitleThe Jersey Brothers
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMay 9th, 2017
PublisherSimon Schuster
ISBN1501104144
ISBN-139781501104145
Number of pages608 pages
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, War, Historical, World War II, Adult, North American Hi..., American History, Military, Autobiography, Memoir

The Jersey Brothers Review

  • Steven Z.
    May 22, 2017
    Sally Mott Freeman’s first book, THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A MISSING NAVAL OFFICER IN THE PACIFIC AND HIS FAMILY’S QUEST TO BRING HIM HOME is an interesting study in family dynamics and how military strategy and policy was implemented during World War II. The somewhat dysfunctional family is made up of its matriarch Helen Cross, her second husband Arthur, and their three sons and one daughter. The story revolves around the experiences of the sons, the first two of which are children of Helen and her Sally Mott Freeman’s first book, THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A MISSING NAVAL OFFICER IN THE PACIFIC AND HIS FAMILY’S QUEST TO BRING HIM HOME is an interesting study in family dynamics and how military strategy and policy was implemented during World War II. The somewhat dysfunctional family is made up of its matriarch Helen Cross, her second husband Arthur, and their three sons and one daughter. The story revolves around the experiences of the sons, the first two of which are children of Helen and her first husband. The sons are Benny Mott, an officer on the USS Enterprise, a graduate of Annapolis, who witnessed a great deal of action during four years of combat duty in the Pacific; William (Bill) Mott, also a graduate of Annapolis, plagued by weak eye sight who winds up as the head of the White House Map Room where he observes and distributes war information to the Franklin D. Roosevelt and military leaders; lastly, Barton Cross, the son of Helen and Arthur who does not measure up to the Annapolis type, enlists and becomes a prisoner of war taken by the Japanese in the Philippines. By carefully examining the Mott/Cross family, Freeman is able to analyze its dynamic, in addition to the strategy pursued in the Pacific War. Her approach is unique and provides an alternative means of studying the plight of American POWs in the Pacific, the politics in Washington and General Douglas MacArthur’s command, how military decisions were reached, and the Anglo-American relationship. However important the war is, it is the family that dominates the story. Helen is an overprotective mother who obsesses over her third son, Barton who she views as evidence of a strong marriage after her first was a failure. Barton is the favorite, and the pressure from his mother at times is overbearing. Her other sons seek her love and attention and make do with how she parses it out. What is fascinating is that the two elder brothers do not seem to resent their younger brother and will do anything to support him. The key element in the narrative is how family members react to the seizure of Barton by the Japanese and how they go about coping with wartime information that is directly related to his situation. The entire family is concerned with what Barton is going through and how they can assist him, and perhaps facilitate his quest for freedom.Helen’s psyche is on everyone’s mind throughout the book. Helen is the type of “helicopter” parent who will write the commandant of Annapolis as Barton withdraws from that institution, she will also write President Roosevelt, and military commanders. Further, when Bill learns of the treatment of the POWs from a number of escapees, he withholds the information from his mother as long as he can, not to upset her.The strength of the book is how Freeman alternates chapters taking the reader back and forth from the USS Enterprise through the experiences of Benny as it leaves Pearl Harbor, participates on the “Doolittle Raid” on Tokyo, finds itself in the midst of the Battle of Midway, the Battle of Guadalcanal, and the taking of Saipan. Next, we are taken inside the White House as Bill witnesses the decisions being made that effect the conduct of the war, or later when he becomes the Flag Officer aboard the USS Rocky Mount. The plight of American POWs is described in detail including the Bataan Death March, and a number of other forced marches as American soldiers are moved from one prison cite to the next. What is particularly disturbing is how unmarked Japanese ships transporting US POWs were sunk by American planes during the last year of the war. In addition, Freeman focuses on the inhuman treatment of the POWs and how they reacted, and why some survived. Another strength is her discussion of the planning and actual invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, two battles that did not go the way military authorities had hoped. Heavy casualties were predicted, but not to the level that eventually resulted. In part the problem was the Japanese use of Kamikaze pilots that invasion planners could find no solution to counteract.The major wartime personalities are integrated throughout. MacArthur is dealt with in detail. Admiral “Bull” Halsey, a man who was beloved by his men and was a strategic genius. President Roosevelt is presented as at times a warm and sympathetic leader, but also a harsh decision maker dealing with the realities of war. Other important characters include Admiral Richmond Kelley Turner who commanded the Joint Expeditionary Task Force, known as Operation Forager designed to defeat Japan in 1944, a command and strategy larger than and as complex as the Normandy invasion; Steve Mellnick and William Dyees who escaped the Davao Penal Colony and along with Filipino guerillas sought to launch a rescue mission of the 2000 POWs left behind, as well as a host of other major historical figures.Importantly, Freeman goes into depth in presenting the jurisdictional battles between the army and navy for control of the Pacific Theater which was rooted in the struggle between Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur. MacArthur does not fare well in the narrative as Freeman portrays the Pacific Army Commander as a self-serving egoist who only cared about his own place in history. This characterization is quite accurate especially when discussing the strategy to invade the Japanese home islands, which MacArthur favored, or employ a blockade and massive bombing to save the lives of American GIs. It seemed whenever anything did not go as planned, instead of accepting any responsibility, MacArthur blamed the Navy.What is clear throughout the book is that Bill did his utmost to try and learn the plight of his brother. He traveled, wrote letters, and pressed friends, all in an attempt to learn the truth. The author, Bill’s daughter makes excellent use of the memories of family members, in addition to diaries and other documents. She has mined a tremendous amount of material and it is reflected in her strong narrative. Her investigation into what happened to her uncle provides insights into how families were forced to deal with their missing sons, and for far too many the grief that followed. Overall the book paints a fascinating portrait of a family’s plight during World War II. It may get bogged down in family details at the outset, but once Freeman takes up the wartime experiences of Helen’s three sons the reader will become immersed in the detail and the heroic nature of what they experience and the actions they take. The Cross/Mott brothers, were truly “a band of brothers,” and Freeman’s efforts reflect a strong effort for a first book!
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  • Karen
    February 23, 2017
    THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home. BY SALLY MOTT FREEMANThis stunning accomplished memoir is written by the daughter Bill Mott, who was the middle brother that comprise who The Jersey Brothers are. The Jersey brother's are Benny Mott, Bill Mott and Arthur Barton Cross, Jr. This is the story of brotherly love, honor, the quest to bring Barton home. A memoir so epic in scope drawn on ten years of research culled from sources all ov THE JERSEY BROTHERS: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home. BY SALLY MOTT FREEMANThis stunning accomplished memoir is written by the daughter Bill Mott, who was the middle brother that comprise who The Jersey Brothers are. The Jersey brother's are Benny Mott, Bill Mott and Arthur Barton Cross, Jr. This is the story of brotherly love, honor, the quest to bring Barton home. A memoir so epic in scope drawn on ten years of research culled from sources all over the world. It includes information from diaries, interviews with the brother's former shipmates, unpublished memoirs and personal letters. It's authenticity is breathtaking, accurately based on facts, but reads like a fast paced story of three brother's and their harrowing service to this country.Bill Mott, the author's father, was working at the Office of Navel Intelligence in Washington. He oversaw FDR's Map room located in the White House. FDR got the idea of having this room by a visit from Winston Churchill who had his own war room where he lived in his house. FDR emphasized with Bill over letters Bill had received inquiring over Barton's missing status. Bill was placed in charge of all top secret material that was received, circulated and stored among many other duties.What stands out for me is that in later years Bill Mott was consulted by President Truman to give an estimation over how many American lives would be lost if the United States invaded Japan. President Truman relied on Bill Mott's estimated 600,000 of U.S. lives lost in making his decision over whether he did the right thing over dropping the bomb over Japan. What also stands out to me is how cruel war is and this family's relentless quest to find Barton.What I didn't know was that as Barton lay injured from shrapnel wounds to his feet and legs that were not healing, is the circumstances of how Barton and other Navy wounded were left behind. According to this author the wounded were the only military still in Manilla. Even more shocking is that on late December 31, an order from General MacArthur came through that all ARMY wounded, but not NAVY wounded were immediately taken to Pier 7 and loaded onto a Red Cross ship. the SS Mactan and transported to Australia. What about the wounded Navy? Why couldn't they be transported to the ship and transported at the same time? Unluckily for Barton he was one of many of the wounded Navy abandoned. This happened before the Japanese invaded and took over Manilla.Back on December 8, Benny a gunnery and anti-aircraft carrier arrived in Pearl Harbor to see the death and destruction. Benny was on the USS Enterprise an aircraft carrier that was to witness trapped men in a capsized ship that were trapped and couldn't get out.Sally Mott Freeman has written a haunting quest to find out what happened to Barton. Her writing is descriptive and spare and she doesn't leave out any details. This work was at times heartbreaking to read, but it also triumphs and shines with the brotherly love of the Jersey Boys. I hope this book reaches the wide audience that it deserves. For a debut memoir and writer Sally Mott Freeman has written a BRILLIANT historical portrait. It is a POWERFUL Family saga and she should be very proud of her family heritage. This book, I hope joins the ranks with "Saving Private Ryan."
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  • Neil
    January 5, 2017
    I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.A brilliant Memoir of three brothers and there journey through the Second World War.This is a real page turner that reads more like a novel than a Memoir of the three brothers and their parents.I cannot believe the research that must have been done by the author.
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  • Alicia
    May 23, 2017
    If you like non-fiction written like a novel this book may appeal to you. I love learning history through storytelling and the author gave me great insight into the events in the Pacific during WW2 whilst she unfolded the poignant story of her relatives wartime experiences and the consequences of their actions. The book deserves a wide audience and is crying out to be made into a netflix-type series or hollywood blockbuster.
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  • David V.
    January 24, 2017
    Received as an ARC from the publisher. Excellent, well-researched; reads like fiction but it's all so true. Written by the niece of the three brothers. This is apparently her first book, and she's got one heck of a career ahead of her as a non-fiction author. This book won't be out until May 2017, but I can't wait for her next project! Besides learning about her uncles' military careers, you also gain insight into other military and government leaders: FDR, Truman, Churchill, MacArthur,Nimitz, H Received as an ARC from the publisher. Excellent, well-researched; reads like fiction but it's all so true. Written by the niece of the three brothers. This is apparently her first book, and she's got one heck of a career ahead of her as a non-fiction author. This book won't be out until May 2017, but I can't wait for her next project! Besides learning about her uncles' military careers, you also gain insight into other military and government leaders: FDR, Truman, Churchill, MacArthur,Nimitz, Halsey, even Hirohito, and others. You learn about good military decisions and really bad ones. I learned about what was occurring on the South Pacific islands where my father was stationed during WWII because he seldom wanted to talk about any of it. And you learn about how ugly war can become.
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  • Yibbie
    December 15, 2016
    I didn’t get very far into this book. I quit before I figured out how they were able to put the private thoughts of the Uncle they never met down on paper. I quite for my usual reason: foul language. I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    May 19, 2017
    I received a free Kindle copy of The Jersey Brothers by Sally Mott Freeman courtesy of Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a great deal about the World War II and the description presented something that I had not read about. This is t I received a free Kindle copy of The Jersey Brothers by Sally Mott Freeman courtesy of Net Galley and Simon and Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a great deal about the World War II and the description presented something that I had not read about. This is the first book by Sally Mott Freeman that I have read.This book is well researched as I would expect with the daughter of one of the three main indiviudals as the author. It is also well written, engaging and reads at a fairly quick pace. The storyline is about the three Mott brothers , one a prisoner of war in the Phillipines, one on the aircraft carrier Enterprise and the other in Washington D.C., and their mother. The book revolves around trying to find out if the captured brother is alive and exactly where he is.One of the side stories that I found particuarly interesting was the development of Franklin Roosevelt's map room which the author's father maintained during a good portion of the war. As with many other books on this time period, it points out that Douglas McArthur was a vainglorious, self centered individual.I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in World War II and in particular novels about the individuals involved in the war who were not necessarily leaders in the conflict.
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  • Andrew Cutler
    December 15, 2016
    Advance Reading Copy,Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.Those of us in the generation born to veterans of WW II-Baby Boomers-heard from the source stories of battles won and lost,bickering over favorite generals,pain,suffering and loss. Sally Mott Freeman's " The Jersy Brothers" is similar to that in that it is centered on her father and his two brothers. Exceptionally well written and meticulously researched, Freeman tells the tale of the brothers-all Navy men, well connected and fast risers du Advance Reading Copy,Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.Those of us in the generation born to veterans of WW II-Baby Boomers-heard from the source stories of battles won and lost,bickering over favorite generals,pain,suffering and loss. Sally Mott Freeman's " The Jersy Brothers" is similar to that in that it is centered on her father and his two brothers. Exceptionally well written and meticulously researched, Freeman tells the tale of the brothers-all Navy men, well connected and fast risers during the chaos of the war years. Benny, the oldest was a gunnery officer on USS Enterprise, Bill, the author's father, was a liaison officer in the White House for the first years of the war and became familiar and friends with FDR,Mrs. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The third brother, Barton, a half brother to the elder two, was a supply officer in Manila and was captured by the Japanese when the city fell.The central theme of the book is set when Barton is captured as his brothers and mother frantically try to find out where he is. Along with this narrative, Freeman adds a lot of detail of the rivalry between the Army and the Navy, the Navy mostly trying to keep MacArthur under control and to keep his meddling fingers from gaining control of Navy ships.While the brothers are looking for Barton, the reader gets a very comprehensive study of the horrific treatment of American POW's.The Japanese saw surrender as dishonorable, and so tortured and killed prisoners at will .The author paints an extraordinarily detailed and nuanced narrative of naval battles and the workings and role of carriers in the Pacific. Overall, the book is well paced,tight and riveting-it's hard to put down and should be a huge best seller.
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  • Dan Radovich
    February 17, 2017
    World War II is a favorite era for me; print or film. There are many wonderful authors bringing true and fictionalized tales of WWII to life. Mott Freeman joins the crowd with this debut work. To coin a phrase, she has a horse in this race seeing the three brothers are her family members. This is a big book, and it is well researched; but it reads more like fiction than a history text. That is what makes it stand out to me. Conversations, points of view, assumed opinions of the people in the sto World War II is a favorite era for me; print or film. There are many wonderful authors bringing true and fictionalized tales of WWII to life. Mott Freeman joins the crowd with this debut work. To coin a phrase, she has a horse in this race seeing the three brothers are her family members. This is a big book, and it is well researched; but it reads more like fiction than a history text. That is what makes it stand out to me. Conversations, points of view, assumed opinions of the people in the story are believable. Three brothers, all Navy, are working in different aspects of the Pacific Theater. The family story becomes 'Saving Private Ryan-esque' when one is found to be missing-in-action in the Philippines. Her writing flows along smoothly, and the story is filled with a lot of facts and history. For fans of military history, this is a must read; her details of conflicts in the Pacific are great reading. The family saga storyline is powerful. Mott Freeman has a winner here, and should be very proud of her family heritage as well as her writing ability.
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  • Angela Street
    May 1, 2017
    This is a real life story of three brothers who played important roles in World War II and their attempts to save their youngest brother who became a P.O.W. This was a very eye-opening book that gave me unknown insight into events that occurred during W.W. II. It was interesting reading about the growth in character of the youngest brother during his incarceration and the way he became a role model to his other fellow P.O.W. friends. The mistakes made during the war that led to his incarceration This is a real life story of three brothers who played important roles in World War II and their attempts to save their youngest brother who became a P.O.W. This was a very eye-opening book that gave me unknown insight into events that occurred during W.W. II. It was interesting reading about the growth in character of the youngest brother during his incarceration and the way he became a role model to his other fellow P.O.W. friends. The mistakes made during the war that led to his incarceration were appalling. The love that the siblings had for the youngest brother was heart-warming and the way that they did everything in their power to rescue him was touching. If you want new insight into this war and events that shaped the men who fought in it then you will enjoy this book.
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  • Steve
    May 11, 2017
    An outstanding book, One of the men in the book is the author's uncle. This book tells the story of three brothers that served in the United States Navy in the Pacific during World War II. One of them served in the White House Map Room under President Franklin Roosevelt. The other is an gunnery and antiaircraft officer aboard the USS Enterprise. The youngest served in the Navy Supply corps in the Philippines. However, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines and captured Bataan. The youngest wa An outstanding book, One of the men in the book is the author's uncle. This book tells the story of three brothers that served in the United States Navy in the Pacific during World War II. One of them served in the White House Map Room under President Franklin Roosevelt. The other is an gunnery and antiaircraft officer aboard the USS Enterprise. The youngest served in the Navy Supply corps in the Philippines. However, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines and captured Bataan. The youngest was missing in action and a couple of years later, was discovered that he died from a disease after surviving brutal treatment at a POW camp and aboard a hell ship transporting prisoners to Japan.
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  • Jody
    May 13, 2017
    Beautiful, brilliant, deeply researched and factual memoir. Very powerful description of WW 11 events.
  • Erik Weber
    May 15, 2017
    A powerful account that arrested many hours from the moment purchased here on the Jersey Shore; it tells a tale I will remember at quiet moments in coming months and years.
  • Dlmrose
    October 29, 2016
    ARC
  • Ann Cardwell
    June 1, 2017
    Reminded me of UNBROKEN.
  • Laurie
    April 29, 2017
    If you like stories of familial love and loyalty, were gripped by Unbroken and/or Flags of Our Fathers, and are a passionate lover of WWII tales, then this book is for you. The three Mott brothers, Bill, Benny, and Barton grow up on the Jersey shore with an 'interesting' mother, a deep love for the Navy, and equally challenging childhoods and youths. When WWII hits, Benny's Naval years place him as head gunner on the storied Enterprise carrier, Bill becomes the head of the map room in FDR's Whit If you like stories of familial love and loyalty, were gripped by Unbroken and/or Flags of Our Fathers, and are a passionate lover of WWII tales, then this book is for you. The three Mott brothers, Bill, Benny, and Barton grow up on the Jersey shore with an 'interesting' mother, a deep love for the Navy, and equally challenging childhoods and youths. When WWII hits, Benny's Naval years place him as head gunner on the storied Enterprise carrier, Bill becomes the head of the map room in FDR's White House, and Barton is encouraged to go to the Philippines with the Navy Supply Corps where he will be 'safe.' Yep, you know where this true story is headed. Barton is taken prisoner right after Pearl Harbor, and his two older brothers who always protected and cared for him, are frantic to find him. Interspersed amongst the three stories of the brothers, this narrative follows the many battles of the Pacific, learning details of the shocking human toll at the battles of Saipan and Okinawa, the horrific treatment and movements of the POWs, and the interchange amongst the big boys in the White House. At times a bit long with more specifics than I needed, I still read voraciously, feeling well-educated at the end and quite in awe of the bravery of not only the Mott brothers, but of their Naval brothers in arms. A first book, well-researched and written by the niece of the Jersey brothers, I do hope this is not her last outing.
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  • Scottsdale Public Library
    May 8, 2017
    What a remarkable story of "The Greatest Generation". There are three brothers who all go into the U.S. Navy at the start of WW II. It is a non-fiction story of a family's tenacity and duty that makes this a larger than life memoir and you become caught up in this magnificent tale. Bill is picked by FDR to run the first Map Room. Benny is the gunnery officer on the USS Enterprise: the last carrier to stand up against the Japanese. The youngest brother, Barton is in the Navy Supply Corps, and is What a remarkable story of "The Greatest Generation". There are three brothers who all go into the U.S. Navy at the start of WW II. It is a non-fiction story of a family's tenacity and duty that makes this a larger than life memoir and you become caught up in this magnificent tale. Bill is picked by FDR to run the first Map Room. Benny is the gunnery officer on the USS Enterprise: the last carrier to stand up against the Japanese. The youngest brother, Barton is in the Navy Supply Corps, and is captured by the Japanese shortly after the war starts. Fortunately, by being eighty years old, I remember the history of the Pacific Theatre in WW II. It makes for a terrific read of a family with courage, persistence, and love. -Bob K.
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