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Book Review: “Torpedoes On The Beach: Boyhood Adventures in Galveston in the Midst of World WarII” by Louis James Frey


By Gini Rainey

Let me begin by saying that while there actually was a torpedo discovered on the Galveston beach in the early 1940s during WWII, that war definitely is not the central theme of this book. Rather, it is the retelling of the adventures of a young boy, his dog, and his friends.  That’s not to say the war didn’t play an important part in the atmosphere of life in Galveston, but it wasn’t the central focus of the book as I had assumed.

Although not presented as an autobiography by the author, I can’t help but think the antics of the main character Otis might bear a strong resemblance to those of the author. In his writings, Mr. Frey takes the reader back to a simpler time when grade school children could leave home on their bikes in the morning and not be expected back home until dinner time – and no one worried about them! It was a time when sometimes you and your friends could get into a pile of trouble, get back out of it, and swear to never tell your parents. It was a time when sometimes your best friend turned out to be your pet dog and your heart broke when that best friend died.

I also learned a lot from this book.  I hadn’t been aware there had been military installations (Fort Crockett, Fort Travis, and Fort San Jacinto) nor a POW camp on Galveston Island. I also didn’t realize that there were times when POWs were treated to movies at the local theaters. While not necessarily focused on the war itself, the war does provide an interesting backdrop for Otis and his pals as they manage to escape by the skin of their teeth from several misguided escapades in a much simpler day and time.

Well written and definitely absorbing, Mr. Frey does a great job of sharing vignettes of a young boy’s life and also painting a picture of what it was like living on Galveston Island during one of the most trying times of our nations.

5 of 5

Copyright 2020 – Independently Published


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