From Calcutta with Love: The World War II Letters of Richard and Reva Beard
The saga of China, Burma, India—World War II’s forgotten theater—is as heroic as it is seldom told. CBI ground troops were charged with the Herculean task of carving a road from India to China through humid jungles where disease was as great a hazard as the Japanese, and pilots who “flew the Hump,” the treacherous flight route over the Himalayas, braved violent monsoon rains, deadly wind shifts, and mountainsides that suddenly loomed from the clouds. Richard Beard, an Army psychologist assigned to the 142nd General Hospital in Calcutta, dealt daily with emotional trauma. While American and British soldiers hacked their way through dense tropical forests to build the supply route, Beard immersed himself in the internal jungles of those he treated. A pillar to the men he served, Beard was an astute listener and observer, pleased to be playing his part. But his own pillar was his wife, Reva, teaching school half a world away in Findlay, Ohio. In daily letters to Reva, he poured out not only his observations of life in India but also his own longing and passions, and the unfolding drama of war, in painfully exquisite detail tempered with tenderness and humor. Reva’s return letters are filled with news of the home front and stories of her young students, but through them all courses a longing for Richard’s safe return. In these letters the couple’s devotion to each other in the face of separation and their willingness to see the war through to its end demonstrate once again the dedication of the World War II generation.
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A Letter from the Editor
The ChinaBurmaIndia Theater and My Father Richard
Part Three1946 Return to Home Wife and Love 253
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