web site hit counter Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II

Availability: Ready to download

The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one, all five sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son re-enli The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one, all five sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son re-enlisted in the Navy. The younger three became U.S. Army Air Force pilots. As the family optimist, Leora wrote hundreds of letters, among all her regular chores, dispensing news and keeping up the morale of the whole family, which included the brothers’ two sisters. Her fondest wishes were to have a home of her own and family nearby. Leora’s Letters is the compelling true account of a woman whose most tender hopes were disrupted by great losses. Yet she lived out four more decades with hope and resilience.


Compare

The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one, all five sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son re-enli The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one, all five sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son re-enlisted in the Navy. The younger three became U.S. Army Air Force pilots. As the family optimist, Leora wrote hundreds of letters, among all her regular chores, dispensing news and keeping up the morale of the whole family, which included the brothers’ two sisters. Her fondest wishes were to have a home of her own and family nearby. Leora’s Letters is the compelling true account of a woman whose most tender hopes were disrupted by great losses. Yet she lived out four more decades with hope and resilience.

30 review for Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II

  1. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Castle

    Last week I experienced an emotional interior life as I read Joy Neal Kidney’s nonfiction book Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II. I first met Joy through her blog attached to her website: https://joynealkidney.com/ Gradually, I realized that her family story was quite remarkable, and that Joy had put it into book form. Since Joy is a joy to communicate with on her blog and mine (articulate and kind), I decided to read her book, which was written in Last week I experienced an emotional interior life as I read Joy Neal Kidney’s nonfiction book Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II. I first met Joy through her blog attached to her website: https://joynealkidney.com/ Gradually, I realized that her family story was quite remarkable, and that Joy had put it into book form. Since Joy is a joy to communicate with on her blog and mine (articulate and kind), I decided to read her book, which was written in conjunction with Robin Grunder, although WWII is not really “my area.” Before I started the book, I already knew the gut punch of the book; it’s not a secret that one finds out only by reading. The horrifying reality is shared in the book’s blurb. Joy’s mother Doris had five brothers. All five young men entered the war on behalf of the United States. Only two brothers came home at the end. Although it might seem counter to know this fact up front, it actually heightened the suspense because I was reading carefully for the details of their lives as the war began and then continued, luring one by one of the brothers into the war. I wasn’t sure who would survive and who wouldn’t—or what would happen to them before they died and how they would die. What a page turner! I was captivated by the life of these Iowa farmers from the beginning. Hard working and smart, they also were satisfied with so little—simple, healthy food; satisfying work to perform; family togetherness; and aspirations for the future. I fell in love with each one of these brothers as they shared their hearts and lives through letters to family members, especially their mother Leora. They were not small-minded or selfish, but operated out of honor and a humble pride. During the last section of the book, I was reading in the doctor’s waiting room because I couldn’t put the book down except when I absolutely had to. I read something so really small, but so powerful, that I burst into tears right there in front of the other patients. That’s a warning to you if you read the book in public. This book is not a novel. It doesn’t have the frills of one. Joy curated the letters and wove the story around the letters in a very graceful way. I was so impressed with the powerful and understated writing skills that went into crafting the book. The editing job was also well done. Now I have much more feel for what my father-in-law went through in WWII. And for that entire generation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jedlicka Humston

    The style Joy Neal Kidney uses in telling this amazing true story is very effective and immediately draws the reader in. She adeptly weaves the letters into her family's history and makes us feel like we "know" her relatives by the many letters that passed between them during WW II. I thank Neal Kidney for allowing us the privilege to read and feel the emotions and love her family experienced. I highly recommend this well-researched book. The style Joy Neal Kidney uses in telling this amazing true story is very effective and immediately draws the reader in. She adeptly weaves the letters into her family's history and makes us feel like we "know" her relatives by the many letters that passed between them during WW II. I thank Neal Kidney for allowing us the privilege to read and feel the emotions and love her family experienced. I highly recommend this well-researched book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Briggs

    Leore's Letters is a must-read! This true story is packed with so much knowledge and understanding of the time period and how it touched the lives of those who lived through it. Through well-preserved family letters and outstanding research, Joy Neal Kidney lets you experience the close-knit family and how their lives were affected by the war. Loved it! Leore's Letters is a must-read! This true story is packed with so much knowledge and understanding of the time period and how it touched the lives of those who lived through it. Through well-preserved family letters and outstanding research, Joy Neal Kidney lets you experience the close-knit family and how their lives were affected by the war. Loved it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Gauffreau

    Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family in World War II opens with a description of a family ritual: going to the local cemetery on Memorial Day to place flowers on the graves of three brothers killed in World War II. Many families across the United States engage in this ritual to honor the sacrifices of their loved ones, gaining some small measure of comfort in being with them at their final resting places--but in the case of the Wilson family, two of the three graves are Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family in World War II opens with a description of a family ritual: going to the local cemetery on Memorial Day to place flowers on the graves of three brothers killed in World War II. Many families across the United States engage in this ritual to honor the sacrifices of their loved ones, gaining some small measure of comfort in being with them at their final resting places--but in the case of the Wilson family, two of the three graves are empty. Joy Neal Kidney, the author of Leora’s Letters, is the niece of those three brothers; Leora was her grandmother. Kidney took on what was truly a labor of love to find out what exactly happened to her uncles and how these events impacted the family at home on the Iowa farm. The stories of her two uncles who survived the war are also included, as well as the perspectives of their two sisters, their father, and, of course, their mother Leora. This was a family. Kidney tells the story of her family’s experience in World War II with a skillful integration of carefully curated primary sources (the letters Leora saved and family photographs), historical research to provide clarity and context for the events, and creative nonfiction to bring the family members to life. The structure of the book is equally impressive: it follows the Iowa farming seasons. In addition to providing unity and cohesion for the book as a whole, the details of the work on the farm each season of the year also provide a good history of the role of the family farm in World War II. As a reader, I was greatly moved by the story of the Wilson family, a testament to the time, care, and love that went into the development of the book. In writing Leora’s Letters, Joy Neal Kidney has ensured that the memories of her family members who sacrificed so much for their country are honored and preserved. Equally important, the book serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t take these sacrifices or the human costs of war for granted, as World War II and the Greatest Generation slowly slip into the mists of history. Delbert, Donald, Danny, Dale, and Junior: we won’t forget you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Denzil Walton

    “Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” is a gripping, well-written and genuinely moving book. At times I felt I was sitting on a rocking chair on Leora’s front porch in Iowa reading these fascinating family letters. The book is based around the Wilson family on their farm in Iowa. Mum, Dad, two girls and five boys. As the 1940s progresses, the boys decide to serve their country during World War Two. Two join the Navy; three sign up for the Army Air Co “Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” is a gripping, well-written and genuinely moving book. At times I felt I was sitting on a rocking chair on Leora’s front porch in Iowa reading these fascinating family letters. The book is based around the Wilson family on their farm in Iowa. Mum, Dad, two girls and five boys. As the 1940s progresses, the boys decide to serve their country during World War Two. Two join the Navy; three sign up for the Army Air Corps. But they don’t go all at once, they go one by one. And this is what makes the story almost unbearable. The tension and apprehension mount as one by one the sons leave the family fold to join up. First to their training camps. Then to the front lines of Europe, the Atlantic and the Pacific. And with each one departing, the work mounts up for those left at home to run the large farm. It’s manageable with five boys, but then there are four left, then three, then two. Surely Junior will stay? But no. All five go to serve their country. The letters written by Leora and her two daughters to their sons, but also between the five boys, mount up. And so does the tension. The long waits between letters. The silence that is barely endurable. Read this exceptional book and be moved. I am sure you will then join me with my sincere congratulations both to Joy Neal Kidney and Robin Grunder. They fully deserve as wide an audience as possible.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Perry

    I absolutely loved everything about this book!! As a military spouse & native Iowan I was drawn into this heroic Iowa family from page one! I have a better appreciation for those brave men & women that served during WWII as well as their loved ones that stayed back to keep the home front running! We all need to reflect on the importance of simpler times, family bonds & the sacrifices of our military men & women!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Excellent true story about a family during WWII. The story is about a family who lived just 11 miles from where I live. The Dallas County, IA Freedom Rock features pictures of the sons of Leora. Highly recommend this book!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jorja Dogic

    love the history, true story, and family bond that this book portrays. It is a must read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    D.C. Gilbert

    In Leora's Letters, Joy Neal Kidney provides her readers with a genuine and heartfelt glimpse into the life of an American family during one of our nation's most trying times. Five Wilson brothers leave their family farm in Iowa to serve their country during WW II, two in the Navy, and three in the Army Air Corps. Through a well-crafted combination of letters, photographs, and narratives, Joy Neal Kidney draws you in and makes you feel like a member of the family. I found myself caught up in the In Leora's Letters, Joy Neal Kidney provides her readers with a genuine and heartfelt glimpse into the life of an American family during one of our nation's most trying times. Five Wilson brothers leave their family farm in Iowa to serve their country during WW II, two in the Navy, and three in the Army Air Corps. Through a well-crafted combination of letters, photographs, and narratives, Joy Neal Kidney draws you in and makes you feel like a member of the family. I found myself caught up in the daily experiences of all five young men and hoping each of them made it home safely. Unfortunately, war is never that kind. Leora's Letters is more than a story about one family's sacrifice. It is a story about America and the kind of people who helped to forge this great nation. Our nation owes Clabe and Leora Wilson and their family a debt it can never repay. However, in reading this incredible story, perhaps we can regain a sense of what kind of people Americans were, and hopefully again, will be. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shreedevi Gurumurty

    A powerful story of family, brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and loss. The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson's postman brought a telegram to their acreage in Perry,Iowa. One son, Donald was already in the US Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Their other four sons worked with their father,tenant farmers near Minburn in Dallas county until, one by one, all 5 sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son, Delbert, re-enlisted in the Navy. The yo A powerful story of family, brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and loss. The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson's postman brought a telegram to their acreage in Perry,Iowa. One son, Donald was already in the US Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Their other four sons worked with their father,tenant farmers near Minburn in Dallas county until, one by one, all 5 sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son, Delbert, re-enlisted in the Navy. The younger three: Dale, Danny and Junior Wilson, all served in the US Army Air Force. Their sisters, Doris Neal who is the author's mother and Darlene Scar, the author's aunt were both farmers wives living their lives on the Home Front and taking care of their family members and having their own. As the family optimist and matriarch at the heart of it all, Leora wrote hundreds of letters,among all her regular chores,dispensing news and keeping up the morale of the whole family, including her daughters. Her fondest wishes were to have a home of her own and family nearby. This is the compelling true account of a woman whose most tender hopes were disrupted by great losses. Yet she lived out 4 more decades with hope and resilience. I've learnt a lot of valuable lessons from the Wilson family such as brains matter, but so does hard work. And this is what the younger Wilson brothers knew as well in their journey to becoming qualified pilots. Yes you do need to have brains to figure things out, but once the thinking is done, there is real hard work to do. A handshake and your word are as important as a contract. Everyone's reputations are governed more by their actions. In small communities, people live and die by their word and the trust that is built. Measure your success through your determination and commitment to your purpose driven mission. There's a lot to learn about self suffiency from this Iowa farming family. Everyone pitched in and did their part. The sense of duty- to family, community, and country. Then there's the understanding that everyone was in the same boat in hard economic times and in wartime.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence W.

    Leora Wilson was a busy woman. You would think raising a farm family in Iowa during the Great Depression after giving birth to 10 children was challenging enough, but that was just practice for the trials that lay ahead as the fires of World War II raged across the globe. By the time the war was over, all five of Leora’s adult sons had served in their nation’s military, leaving their 50-something parents scrambling to eke out a living on their 80-acre Iowa farm. Still, Leora found time to faithful Leora Wilson was a busy woman. You would think raising a farm family in Iowa during the Great Depression after giving birth to 10 children was challenging enough, but that was just practice for the trials that lay ahead as the fires of World War II raged across the globe. By the time the war was over, all five of Leora’s adult sons had served in their nation’s military, leaving their 50-something parents scrambling to eke out a living on their 80-acre Iowa farm. Still, Leora found time to faithfully keep in touch with her boys, via postcards, letters, telegrams and rare visits home. Fortunately, Leora saved much of her war correspondence. Her eldest granddaughter, acclaimed writer and blogger Joy Neal Kidney, has taken Leora’s letters and weaved them into a sprightly narrative that gives an up close and personal account of the devastating impact of war, especially on rural families, in the mid-Twentieth Century. While the Wilsons were in many ways typical of farm families of that era, their contributions to the war effort were extraordinary, as the book details in exquisite detail. Kidney’s superb writing skills and attention to detail make this a fascinating – and easy – read. The book is thoughtfully designed and leads the reader seamlessly through the messiness of a war that brought sacrifice, deprivation and duty to virtually all of America. Thanks to Leora Wilson and Joy Neal Kidney, revisiting that America is now available to us all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carole Duff

    December 3, 1943. “The secretary of war desires me to express his regret that your son has been reported missing in action…” Joy Neal Kidney’s grandparents Clabe and Leora Wilson received two telegrams like this and a third—the death of yet another child. In Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family during World War II, Kidney stitches their stories together. Of her grandparents’ seven children, two girls and five boys, all five sons served either on ships in the navy or as p December 3, 1943. “The secretary of war desires me to express his regret that your son has been reported missing in action…” Joy Neal Kidney’s grandparents Clabe and Leora Wilson received two telegrams like this and a third—the death of yet another child. In Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family during World War II, Kidney stitches their stories together. Of her grandparents’ seven children, two girls and five boys, all five sons served either on ships in the navy or as pilots. Kidney’s aunt was married to a farmer who stayed on the farm to support the war effort. And though Kidney’s mother considered joining the WAVES, she instead married a flight instructor who would have seen action had the war not ended. My grandparents never received heartbreaking telegrams like the Wilsons did. Yet as I read Kidney’s book, particularly the family letters, I marveled at our families’ similarities. Our grandparents lived on farms with no running water or electricity though both had telephones on shared “party” lines. Long-short-long was the Wilson family ring. Both her grandmother and mine kept chickens and sold eggs. And they worried about their children who served in the war, hoping for the best. Among the effects of one the Wilson sons killed in action was his copy of the New Testament given to him by the Gideons. In it he inscribed, “I give everything for the country it stands for.” May we remember the sacrifice.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Pillars

    Once I started this book, I picked it up whenever I had a spare minute or two. The story of this family during WWII nestled in my heart from page one. The letters between family members provided the perfect way to illustrate their devotion to each other, love for their country, and the closeness they developed as they worked together on the family farm. This true story resonated with me as the daughter of a WWII veteran. My dad and his four brothers all served during the war. I grew up on an Iow Once I started this book, I picked it up whenever I had a spare minute or two. The story of this family during WWII nestled in my heart from page one. The letters between family members provided the perfect way to illustrate their devotion to each other, love for their country, and the closeness they developed as they worked together on the family farm. This true story resonated with me as the daughter of a WWII veteran. My dad and his four brothers all served during the war. I grew up on an Iowa farm so I felt so many of the emotions as I read. I could imagine my grandparent's anxiety as they awaited letters and news from their sons abroad. The recorded history in Joy Neal Kidney's outstanding book is a treasure planted deep within me. I recommend this book to everyone interested in true family sagas and/or WWII history. Visiting the Freedom Rock in Dallas County, Iowa that honors the brothers and the family's sacrifices now on my bucket list.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kayleen Reusser

    This is a beautiful book. Much of it is spent giving us a background of a loving Iowan farm family who struggled through the Depression to raise five sons and two daughters. Through hard work and a strong religious belief, they made it to the 1940s. Then World War II hit and five sons went to war. What a challenge it would have been for that family to give five sons to an unknown destiny. And as it happens with tragic results. Though the topic is dire, the author handles it with gentleness and hon This is a beautiful book. Much of it is spent giving us a background of a loving Iowan farm family who struggled through the Depression to raise five sons and two daughters. Through hard work and a strong religious belief, they made it to the 1940s. Then World War II hit and five sons went to war. What a challenge it would have been for that family to give five sons to an unknown destiny. And as it happens with tragic results. Though the topic is dire, the author handles it with gentleness and honesty. The letters that flew between family members during the war -- even from sons on the battlefield and at sea -- reveal how much they cared for and supported each other during grief. War is never lovely. But it can bring out the best part of people if allowed. The stamina and fortitude of this family is something we can all learn from in 2020.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    It's hard to fathom the price that some families paid for the Allied victory in WWII. Leora's Letters recalls one Iowa farm family's experience. Five sons served; only two returned. Joy Neal Kidney, Leora's granddaughter, preserved the letters that went back and forth between the familiy members. Leora's grief is chronicled, not only for her sons, but also for the loss of her own dreams--that all her family would return safely to farm the land they prized so much. Although those dreams did not m It's hard to fathom the price that some families paid for the Allied victory in WWII. Leora's Letters recalls one Iowa farm family's experience. Five sons served; only two returned. Joy Neal Kidney, Leora's granddaughter, preserved the letters that went back and forth between the familiy members. Leora's grief is chronicled, not only for her sons, but also for the loss of her own dreams--that all her family would return safely to farm the land they prized so much. Although those dreams did not materialize, one senses no bitterness and a strong determination to carry on. Letter writing is mostly a lost art today. And not all the letters were newsworthy, but they illustrate the value of a written record of events and our responses to them.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Judy Johannesen

    Joy Neal Kidney did an incredible job of weaving the sad story of her family's life during WWII when letters were the only way to communicate. . . the hopes and prayers. . . the farming that had to continue no matter what. I knew the basic premise: that five would enter the service and only two would come home, but would find myself holding my breath as I read the letters and the details in chronological order. I have been to Danny's grave site in St. Alvord, where he is buried with 10,000 other Joy Neal Kidney did an incredible job of weaving the sad story of her family's life during WWII when letters were the only way to communicate. . . the hopes and prayers. . . the farming that had to continue no matter what. I knew the basic premise: that five would enter the service and only two would come home, but would find myself holding my breath as I read the letters and the details in chronological order. I have been to Danny's grave site in St. Alvord, where he is buried with 10,000 other Americans. So this made it all the more intriguing and real to me. Amazing book. A story of true grit.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen Irwin

    Having grown up near the area where Leora and her family lived I was anxjous to read Joy's book. I received the book on Friday and finished it on Monday and found it hard to put down each night. Joy's story telling mingled with the letters from Leora, her sons and other members of her family paint a picture of an Iowa family who worked hard and loved each other deeply. The sacrifice that the family endured was heartbreaking. A definite must read! Having grown up near the area where Leora and her family lived I was anxjous to read Joy's book. I received the book on Friday and finished it on Monday and found it hard to put down each night. Joy's story telling mingled with the letters from Leora, her sons and other members of her family paint a picture of an Iowa family who worked hard and loved each other deeply. The sacrifice that the family endured was heartbreaking. A definite must read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Val Plagge

    A great historical novel that tells the story of an Iowa family whose sons all go off to serve the United States during WWII. I loved how the story of the family is told through letters between family members. It was an easy read that I couldn't put down! A great historical novel that tells the story of an Iowa family whose sons all go off to serve the United States during WWII. I loved how the story of the family is told through letters between family members. It was an easy read that I couldn't put down!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Kenyon

    What a wonderful book! I can't even imagine the loss experienced by this Iowa family during World War II! Joy certainly did her research, and it shows in this gripping story. What a wonderful book! I can't even imagine the loss experienced by this Iowa family during World War II! Joy certainly did her research, and it shows in this gripping story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helen Welsh

    Great patriotic story of a war time family A great read for our younger generation who do not remember WWII or are not taught about it in school.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Richard J.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joy Kidney

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ritter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  26. 4 out of 5

    judith knight

  27. 4 out of 5

    J David Newsum

  28. 4 out of 5

    Johanna Rahbusch

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deb Thom

  30. 5 out of 5

    James Reed

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.