Sally Mott Freeman’s The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family’s Quest to Bring Him Home is a gripping tale of the bond between three brothers and how two of them do everything they possibly can to rescue the other one.
It surprised me to learn that The Jersey Brothers was Freeman’s first book. It is surprising because it is so well written and researched. Although she has a background in writing (speech writing and public relations), it is still an excellent first work.
Freeman writes in a hybrid style of history. It is well-cited, but reads like a popular history.
Despite the complex stories of the three brothers, she expertly intertwines them into an engaging, seamless story. Each of the brother’s have different experiences and yet Freeman connects them all in the search for Barton.
Fortunate for her and the reader, Freeman is the daughter of Bill. As a result, she has a wealth of primary sources (her grandmother’s letters, letters between Bill, and Benny, and other documents) to draw from for the story. The letters from her grandmother (Bill, Benny, and Barton’s mother) capture the anguish and anger of a mother trying to find out the fate of her beloved son.
The book is not only an excellent story, but also a fine tribute to the bond of brothers at war.