The Wind Is Not a River
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The Wind Is Not a River

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,026 ratings  ·  214 reviews
A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife–separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil–fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands

Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Ecco (first published December 20th 2013)
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Will Byrnes
The Aleutian Archipelago: fourteen large and fifty-five small volcanic islands, strung over more than a thousand miles. Somewhere there, he’s alive. On good days, her faith overshadows doubt. And what is faith but belief independent of proof, a conviction that stands on its own. To this she knows John would roll his eyes. The thought makes her smile.
John Easley is missing. Shaken by the death of his RCAF brother over the English Channel, the 38-year-old writer determines to bring information to...more
Amy Warrick
well, here's a big resounding meh.

Mr. Payton has, as far as I know, cornered the market on WW2 novels set in the Aleutians. This seems to have been a far more poignant campaign than I ever knew, and the author, in an effort to educate me on ALL aspects of this piece of history, as well as write an ambitious survival/love/faith novel, crammed in as much as he could. There's a gay guy too, because Mr. Payton is nothing if not inclusive.

This was additionally burdened with an unlikable hero and a...more
Diane S.
3.5. In 1942, the Japanese invaded and gained control of Attu ands Kiska, two of the American Aleutian Islands. Immediately American censors ordered a black-out, all journalists were made to leave and the native people on the other islands were evacuated, their homes burned by American forces. Another historical incident that is little known but brought to light as part of this story.

This is a novel with a strong historical basis, but is also an adventure story, a survival story and a love story...more
Chihoe Ho
Toeing the line between historical fiction and romantic drama, "The Wind Is Not A River" is a mixed bag of surprising discoveries, promised deliveries, and soft disappointments. Breaking it down...

Surprising discoveries came mostly in the form of its historical context. Indeed, the war waged in Alaska in WWII, the Aleutians Islands Campaign, isn't something that is of the same recognition to everyone as, say, Pearl Harbour. Set mostly against a wintery backdrop of a terrain shrouded in mystic, "...more
Jessica Jeffers
This book is what might happen if Jack London decided to co-write a book with, I dunno, a Bronte sister. I know that sounds a little weird -- and I was a little skeptical when I first read the plot summary, but it was a freebie from Edelweiss expiring in three days so I figured What the hell?

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Very much worth the rush to get through it before the galley expired.

So John Easley is a journalist whose work with National Geographic has made him familiar with th...more
"The Wind is Not a River" is a pleasure to recommend to anyone interested in WWII, USO, love, sacrifice, and hope. It is set in the Aleutian Islands and Alaska during WWII. I knew little about the Japanese invasion of the islands. Easley is a journalist covering the area. He is refused access to the islands so he finds a way to embed himself on a mission. The trouble is, the plane goes down and he finds himself on an occupied island. Meanwhile, his wife, Helen, is beyond worried. She knows he is...more
In June of 1942 During WWII, the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands and through massive efforts of the United States Military were evicted the following May (1943). This arena of the war was mostly unknown as there were black outs of the media in Alaska. This is the setting of Brian Payton’s book The Wind is Not a River. John Easley, a reporter decides to honor his brother’s death in WWII by investigating the rumors of what is happening in the Aleutians. Meanwhile, his wife does not want him...more
I wouldn't have read this book on my own. War isn't my thing. But I'm glad I did pick it up because there is SO much to it. This is about survival, love, ethics, war, and family. John Easley is a reporter who generally writes about travel and landscape. But, while working in the Alaska's Aleutian Islands and he discovers a whole new area of war--the Japanese didn't just bomb Pearl Harbor, they invaded several of the Aleutian Islands and they were a brutal bunch (this is true, though not generall...more
As difficult as some of the passages were in this book, it was still a fabulous read. The word smithing is so well done - the words chosen made me hear the wind, feel the barren landscape and see the cold, cold frost. This was such an obscure part of the war, and made it an interesting backdrop to the main story. Be sure to listen to the sound cloud interview with the author, Brian Peyton, to understand more about why the Aleutian Islands part of the war is not well known.
In 1942, the Japanese military occupied two of the Aleutian Islands, Attu and Kiska, which were part of American territory. For more than a year, the American soldiers attempted to recapture the islands and defeat the enemy. An attempt to play down the crisis and large numbers of casualties, by forbidding journalists access to the battles zones, was instituted, in large part, successfully.
The book was very poignant. It was a story of love and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. The reade...more
Larry Hoffer
1943. The world is deep in the grip of World War II, and there are fears that the war may never end, that it might turn out to be another Hundred Years' War.

John Easley is a journalist, deeply in love with his young wife, Helen. Yet when his younger brother is killed in the war, he struggles with his grief and his desire to ensure his brother's death wasn't in vain. He is determined to tell the U.S. a story of the war, particularly the Japanese occupation of the Aleutian Islands, which no one se...more
Name Laurie
I was so intrigued by the book! I didn't know anything about the Aleutian Islands and World War II, so I was fascinated historically. The story is about survival and determination, as well as love and commitment. Once I got into the book, I couldn't put it down, and stayed up late one night to finish it!
Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read)
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

Well, what a story this was, bringing me to a time period where there is a lot written about and yet at the same time a part of this war that is relatively unknown (at least to me). What I really liked was that this was a story about someone who is working to reveal what is really happening during the war instead of someone fighting in it. There is so much power in Brian Payton's writing that makes you want to stay with these charact...more
I was fascinated about this period in our history, this war that took place on American soil that seemed to be kept out of my history books.

John Easley's on the ground on the island of Attu, after his plane was shot down. The Japanese are on the other side of the island, but the island is small, and resources are few. As the days go by, Easley's health fades, but he remains determined to do his best to survive and return home to his wife, Helen.

Helen, left at home with an ailing father feels d...more
Jane Granatino
The story is based on a true but little-known account of the Japanese invasion of some of the outlying Aleutian Islands of Alaska. This gateway onto American soil cost hundreds of American lives, both military and civilian. A young wife joins the USO in order to find her missing husband, a journalist said to have been in a plane downed by the Japanese, refusing to believe he's dead. An emotional story of survival and bravery amidst all odds.
I just would like to thank Mr. Payton for the beautiful storytelling, and ripping my heart out with this beautiful tale. May Helen find peace in all that she does.
Bob Mustin

Did you know that during World War II, the Japanese actually invaded the American mainland? Neither did I until I followed up on the history Payton’s story was built around. Actually “mainland” may be a bit misleading; the Japanese invaded the two westernmost islands, Attu and Kiska, in the Aleutian chain. This story was withheld from the American public so as not to worry them unduly about the state of the war in the Pacific theater.

The story: John Easley, a Canadian journalist, cons his way on...more
On June 6, 1942 the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska and occupied the islands of Adak and Kiska. This little known military encounter during WWII becomes the backdrop of Payton’s novel of devotion between a husband and wife and the human capacity to survive.

John Easley, a journalist whose articles about nature and wildlife have been published in National Geographic gets word that his brother was killed in battle in Europe. Although they were not that close this news...more
The Internet was built for hyperbole, and five-star reviews on seem to be one more outlet for irrational exuberance. If you've listened to the "How Did This Get Made" podcast, you know that Amazon reviewers have willingly bestowed five-star reviews on the worst artistic dreck imaginable. And so it is that I try to be sparing in my five-star reviews. (You also have to protect yourself - if you give away five-star reviews like penny candy and then come across something you truly love, h...more
Canadian journalist John Easley is despondent over the death of his younger brother in WWII. As a reporter, he thinks he can best pay tribute to the soldiers by covering the real news from the war front. He lives with his wife in Seattle and decides to report on the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands in 1943. Due to censorship issues and fear that Americans will be jittery about knowing how close the enemy troops are, no journalists are permitted anywhere near the Alaskan conflict. John p...more
The Wind is Not a River, by Brian Payton, presents the Battle of Attu from a different perspective than you have probably heard before. What, you have never heard of the Battle of Attu? Well, I think that is the point.

Attu is one of the Aleutian Islands that was occupied by the Japanese during WWII. The occupation was significant because there was concern that the Japanese could use Attu as a base from which to attack shipping lanes to Seattle. The battle was significant because of its size (bi...more
Excellent. Even as a history major, I don't think I've ever been told about the American/Japanese conflicts on the Aleutian Islands and the author did an amazing job bringing that part of the world-the landscape, desolation, isolation-to vision. I would recommend this to any WWII historical fiction fan.

John Easley, a writer driven by the death of his younger brother in England, sneaks his way to the Aleutian Islands to tell an untold story. He knows facts and conflicts are being glazed over and...more
On the Alaskan war front
BookPage® Review by Melissa Brown

Losing a loved one to the chaos of war would be devastating enough, but lingering doubt as to whether a husband were alive or dead could slowly consume a wife. Especially if her last words to him were an ultimatum: Choose his reporting work, or her. In The Wind Is Not a River, Helen and John Easley find themselves caught in the upheaval of World War II, separated emotionally and physically by the lengths to which he will go for a story.

Virginia Campbell
War. Such a small word for something of such immense power and such staggering, unending consequences. "The Wind is Not a River", is a poignant World War II tale which encompasses the many facets of battle between human beings and the everlasting effects on the world around them. Author Brian Payton's setting of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands adds great depth to this story of survival, loss and redemption, and a love that defied all odds. This wartime death of his brother will propel journalist Jo...more
Shonna Froebel
This novel is set during World War II. John Easley is a Canadian journalist, fighting to tell the story of the US forces fighting the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands. The US Government has been keeping the fighting here out of the news and they don't want journalists in the area. John has tried twice and been caught and sent out twice. The death of his younger brother in Europe seems to change him and make him more determined than ever to tell the story of this aspect of the war.
John is also ne...more
Andrea Larson
In 1943 journalist John Easley travels to the Aleutian Islands to expose the U.S. government’s cover-up of the Japanese invasion there and to somehow come to grips with the loss of his brother, who was killed earlier in World War II. Easley’s plane is shot down over the island of Attu, and for six weeks, he fights cold and starvation in the bleak, brooding landscape of the isolated island with a Japanese camp a short way away. In the meantime, his wife, Helen, is determined to find her missing h...more
I really was into this book. Loved that it was about the Aleutian Islands in WWII. The story switched views between a journalist and his wife while they are separated by his involvement in the war. The journalist is not in the military and is not a soldier, but for reasons you will have to read about sneaks onto a military plane dropping soldiers from the sky (he does this allegedly so he can write a story about he war in the Aleutian Islands -which the military doesn't want told) and when the p...more
On June 3, 1942 the Japanese Imperial Navy bombed Dutch Harbor in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Four days later, an invasion force of nearly 2500 Japanese combat troops seized and held the islands of Attu and Kiska.
The war in the Aleutians was relatively small in the context of the global conflict, and yet some five hundred thousand people took part. Dozens of ships, hundreds of plans, and an estimated ten thousand lives were lost. Journalists were ordered out of the region, military censorship was...more
This book. Oh, did I love this book. Based around a real event that I have never heard of - the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands during WWII - it tells the story of a man who is stranded on those islands and his wife who is in the States with no knowledge of her husband's whereabouts.

It's a love story. It's a war story. It's a survival story. It's a character revealing story. It's a wonderful story. I feel like writing the author a thank you note for sharing it.
I really loved this. I love a WWII novel that is not focused on Europe. This one was about the Japanese invasion of the Aleutians in Alaska. But it is also a beautiful, heartbreaking love story.
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“that he has returned to Alaska, but even she won’t have imagined he’s made it all the way back to the Aleutians. Easley” 0 likes
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