Black Glasses Like Clark Kent: A GI's Secret from Postwar Japan
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After her Uncle's suicide, Terese Svoboda investigates his stunning claim that MPs may have executed their own men during the occupation of Japan after World war II
[Our captain] commended us for being good soldiers and doing our job well and having a minimum of problems. Then he dropped a bomb. He said the prison was getting overcrowded, terribly overcrowded.
As a child Terese Svoboda thought of her uncle as Superman, with "Black Clark Kent glasses, grapefruit-sized biceps." At eighty, he could still boast a washboard stomach, but in March 2004, he became seriously depressed. Svoboda investigates his terrifying story of what happened during his time as an MP, interviewing dozens of elderly ex-GIs and visiting Japan to try to discover the truth.
In Black Glasses Like Clark Kent, winner of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, Svoboda offers a striking and carefully wrought personal account of an often painful search for information. She intersperses excerpts of her uncle's recordings and letters to his wife with her own research, and shows how the vagaries of military justice can allow the worst to happen and then be buried by time and protocol
It’ll be worth it to you.” It was a beautiful day so I decided to walk several more miles out into the country. I came across a large orchard, perhaps an apple orchard. About a hundred airplanes were hidden underneath the leaf canopy. Most of them looked like they were general aviation planes and some old military planes. They were parked in nice neat rows. I wandered over to several of them. I’ve always been interested in old planes. They were poorly equipped with what I’d call makeshift
there and get into their law school.” “You can do that?” I ask. “Remember, I lived in Canada during the Vietnam era and it wasn’t so easy even then.” “I saw how to do it on the web.” “What site?” “The Canadian site, what do you think? And if I don’t want to take the test for law school, I can just go to graduate school there.” “You’re sure about that? And what about your girlfriend?” “She can go too. It’s easier for a girl.” Deflecting the conversation with my own experience is so
interview conducted by the Eastern Oklahoma Historical Society. However, the historical society is reluctant to allow me to contact him directly; they will only release his wife’s email, not his telephone number. His wife says she’s undergoing surgery and doesn’t have time to write things down. She says Billy doesn’t hear very well, so talking to him on the phone won’t work. She suggests that I stop by. She is put off when I tell her I live in New York City. I wait until her surgery is over and
Lloyd Wright. When he had the commission for Fallingwater, he procrastinated. Finally his client called and said he was coming to look at the plans. Wright knew he was at least four hours away, in some remote part of—where? Pennsylvania? By the time the client arrived, he had the sketches all drawn out.” “I’ll bet it took him months to deliver the plans and a year or more to build the house.” “I’m just trying to understand how you work.” I’m flattered, I should have said. Dad’s never taken an
Prisoners” A1–149; 8th Army Stockade 1946; General Correspondence, 1946–1951; Provost Marshal Section, Far East Command, Department of Defense, Record Group 554; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. April report: Monthly Occupation Historical Reports; File 108-DE (4)-.0.2; Central Records Depot; March 1946–June 1946. Record Group 407; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. 720 MP unit: Historical Report for Month of September; 720th MP Battalion Historical