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The Wind Is Not a River

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,068 Ratings  ·  531 Reviews
The Wind Is Not a River is Brian Payton's 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 lo
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Ecco (first published December 20th 2013)
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Beth as I recall, her husband and cousins

Community Reviews

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Will Byrnes
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 t
During World War II the Japanese occupied Attu and Kiska, two of the islands in the Aleutians which stretch westward from mainland Alaska. The captured American citizens on those islands, mostly native Aleuts, were taken to labor camps in Japan. The US government relocated the Aleut people from the other islands to the Alaskan panhandle. In an effort to prevent panic from the American people who might fear that the Japanese soldiers would invade mainland Alaska and work their way down the west c ...more
Amy Warrick
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Diane S ☔
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-exploration
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
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Her chain of islands that dares to separate the North Pacific from the Bering Sea. A chain through which the wind whips into some of the world's most fearsome storms. One minute it's a hurricane, the next a breeze. But rivers! Rivers flow throughout the season - under bright summer sun, plates of winter ice - morning, noon, and night. Wind rises up and fades away, but a river flows endlessly.

And our suffering? This too shall pass. The wind is not a river.
I rarely read books with an Alaskan setti
Chihoe Ho
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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, "
Diane Lynn
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good story with the Aleutians and Seattle during WWII in 1942 as the setting. The Japanese sent invading forces to the rock piles of Attu and Kiska and an air raid to Dutch Harbor. There is a lot of information presented about this small part of WWII and in particular the treatment of the Aleuts. This book has our Canadian hero and an American shot down over Attu. They must survive with scant resources while trying to evade capture by the Japanese. The USO is in the picture as well.
✰☽✰  Unsolved Mystery ✰☾✰

I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
Thank you so much. =)
Canadian Journalist John Easley and American Army First Class Karl Bitburg are the only survivors in a plane crash.
They have to work together to survive in the Alaskan wilderness.
They have to find food, keep warm on cold nights and hide from Japanese fighters from a nearby camp.

John's wife Helen doesn't believe he is dead.
She does everything she ca
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc-egalley
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
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The beauty of historical fiction is its ability to shed light on historic events unknown by its readers. Like so many others, I had no idea that a WWII battle took place on American soil in Alaska. (The fact that I have been to Sitka – an area mentioned a few times – added to my intrigue).

This is a love story at its heart, and to me, love stories are often tricky. The reader wants a particular ending, yet doesn’t necessarily want it to be too easy. Or contrived. It’s the ups and downs that creat
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Powerful read about a WWII-era journalist stranded on the Aleutian Islands after a plane crash and his wife's attempts to discover what's happened to him. The survival narrative part of the story includes more than one scene that made me actually cringe due to its vivid, brutal details, but the book also qualifies as one of the most romantic historical fiction titles I've read in some time. Payton does a brilliant job balancing John's story and Helen's story so that they complement one another, ...more
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
"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
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER is a perfect combination of fact and fiction. While presenting actual “events [that] are forgotten footnotes in the history of the Second World War,” Brian Payton tells a story of two people who might have been caught up in them.

In this excellent, unputdownable novel, John Easley is a journalist who was in the Territory of Alaska when the Japanese bombed a naval base and an army base on islands there. Although the U.S. government orders all press corps out of Alaska, ens
I have often mentioned before that one of the things I enjoy about historical fiction is the opportunity it provides for me to learn about something that I wouldn’t have otherwise. When I came upon the synopsis for The Wind Is Not A River by Brian Payton, it provided that opportunity to learn about a little known aspect of WWII in a part of the U.S. that we don’t often think about.

Before this book, I had no idea what and where the Aleutian Islands were. I had no idea it was the area where it he
Jan Mcclung-short
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An epic love story unlike any that I have read before. World War II brought many things into this world and took away much more. Helen and John Easley are separated during the war. I never understood why John went to the Aleutian Islands after hearing of his young brothers death.

Truthfully, I had no idea that the Japanese had bombed and taken over two islands completely on US territory. They set up camp and guarded the land they conquered fiercely. This fact was kept from the press and rarely m
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
Six United States Navy planes left on a bombing run to the Alaska Territory, and some did not return. The Navy presumes that any survivors will have drowned in the frigid seas or will have been captured by the Japanese who have invaded the islands. But John Easley, a natural history reporter for the National Geographic Magazine, who is grieving the death of his younger brother, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force who died in the war, was in the Aleutians when the Japanese Army attacked. He ...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
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-books-read
1943 and journalist, John Easley, undercover to find his lost brother, has been shot down over the remote and stark Alaskan Aleutian Islands. Helen Easley determined to find her husband, refusing to accept he isn't coming home sets out on her own cross-country journey.

I really enjoyed this book, it has so many great elements to it. There is a definite 'Castaway' feel to John's side of the story as he desperately tries to survive in the harsh Alaskan wilderness. He fights against the cold, hunger
Good survival story about a journalist, John Easley, who sneaks back to the Aleutian Islands (off the west coast of Alaska), during the later stages of WWII, to report on the goings-on there, but who ends up stranded for months on an island occupied by enemy Japanese forces, living in a cave, starving, exposed to the elements, and with no rescue in sight. At the same time, his devoted wife Helen can't bear waiting at home to find out John's fate and embarks on a gutsy search for him herself, usi ...more
Laurie Anthony
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
This was okay - didn't enjoy reading it very much. The history was very nteresting - the plot and execution left something to be desired.
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
On June 3, 1942, just three days before Easley was scheduled to head for home, the Japanese launched a strike from light carriers and bombed Dutch Harbor Naval Base and Fort Mears Army Base, killing forty-three men, incinerating ships and buildings. These outposts on Unalaska and Amaknak islands, near the Alaskan mainland, were the only U.S. defenses in the Aleutian Archipelago. June 7 saw the U.S. victory at Midway. That same day, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans lear
Fabián Tapia
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Islas Aleutianas, 1943. Tras la muerte de su hermano menor en Europa, el periodista John Easley siente la necesidad de exponer un oculto y creciente conflicto: la invasión japonesa y la ocupación de las islas Aleutianas de Alaska. Pero cuando John acompaña a la tripulación de un bombardero, el avión es derribado sobre la isla de Attu, y deberá rendirse o sobrevivir en un entorno cruel.

A tres mil kilómetros al sur, su mujer Helen no puede aceptar la desaparición de su marido. Desesperada
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A lovely story and very well written. The story is told in alternating chapters by John and his wife Helen. John Easley is a journalist for National Geographic Magazine and lives in Seattle. His brother, Warren, is killed early in WWII. John is crushed by Warren's death and sets out to become a war correspondent. He goes on a mission to the Aleutian Archipelago: fourteen large and fifty- five small volcanic islands, strung over more than a thousand miles. His plane is shot down on April 1, 1943 ...more
Larry H
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read)
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2014
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
What a fascinating storyline!!! A gripping tale of survival against the elements, evading an invading army, and a woman’s determination to find her husband and bring him home are winners for this book. I was enthralled by every page.

The author chose a fascinating area of WWII to explore; I don’t think I’ve seen another historical fiction detailing the Japanese invasion of American soil in Alaska and the media blackout the government put on it in the press. His research on the minutia of life on
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Play Book Tag: The Wind Is Not a River - Brian Payton, 3 Stars 8 22 Feb 15, 2016 04:37AM  
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