Johnson, Forrest Bryant 1935- (Frosty Johnson)
Johnson, Forrest Bryant 1935- (Frosty Johnson)
Born December 14, 1935, in Louisville, KY; son of William Forrest and Martha (a teacher) Johnson; married second wife, Patricia (an accountant), October 3, 1971. Education: University of Louisville, B.A., 1957. Politics: "Right-wing conservative." Religion: Roman Catholic.
Home—Las Vegas, NV.
Worked as an assistant chemist in Louisville, KY, 1957-59, industrial paint salesman in Cedar Rapids, IA, 1962-67, and sales manager in Chicago, IL, 1967-81; writer, 1982—. Military service: U.S. Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps, 1960-68; became captain.
The Ancient History of the Basenji (nonfiction), Bobbs Merrill (New York, NY), 1967.
Basenji: Dog from the Past (nonfiction), Bobbs Merrill (New York, NY), 1972.
(Under pseudonym Frosty Johnson) The Strange Case of Big Harry (novel), Exposition Press, 1972.
Hour of Redemption (nonfiction), Manor, 1978, reprinted as Hour of Redemption: The Heroic WWII Saga of America's Most Daring POW Rescue, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Raid on Cabanatuan (nonfiction), Thousand Autumns Press (Las Vegas, NV), 1988.
Tektite (novel), Thousand Autumns Press (Las Vegas, NV), 1989.
Phantom Warrior: The Heroic True Story of Pvt. John McKinney's One-Man Stand against the Japanese in World War II, Berkley Caliber (New York, NY), 2007.
Hour of Redemption: The Heroic WWII Saga of America's Most Daring POW Rescue is credited as a source for Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides.
Forrest Bryant Johnson, a former U.S. Army captain, has written frequently on military topics, especially World War II. His Hour of Redemption, also published as Hour of Redemption: The Heroic WWII Saga of America's Most Daring POW Rescue, details how an elite army unit, backed by daring Filipino guerrilla fighters, stormed and liberated a camp holding American prisoners of war. These prisoners had somehow survived the Bataan death march and other atrocities at the hands of the Japanese. Some reviewers of this book commented on Johnson's extensive research and compelling prose. A Publishers Weekly critic noted that, for his first edition of the book, Johnson interviewed "more than 500 participants over a six-year period," from the prisoners themselves to the commanding officers responsible for the raid. Library Journal contributor Gerald Costa praised the book for its story of "ultimate liberation," adding that Johnson's narrative "accelerates toward a dramatic ending."
Phantom Warrior: The Heroic True Story of Pvt. John McKinney's One-Man Stand against the Japanese in World War II deals with a Congressional Medal of Honor winner who had been largely forgotten by history. McKinney, a sharecropper's son from Georgia, held off a surprise attack by Japanese soldiers in an isolated section of the Philippines in May 1945. With most of the men in his unit wounded or tending to the wounded, McKinney fought alone for more than half an hour, using his rifle, bayonet, and a machine gun captured from the Japanese, and also engaging in hand-to-hand combat. According to witnesses, about one hundred Japanese soldiers died in the attack. After the war, McKinney returned to private life in Georgia, and he died in 1997. Johnson assembled his story from official documents and interviews with McKinney's friends and comrades. Johnson initially found the tale of McKinney's deeds "a little unbelievable," the author told Tim Guidera in an interview published on WTOCTV. com. As he delved further into it, he realized it was true but still amazing, and became determined to tell it. "It's truly a miracle," he told Guidera.
A Publishers Weekly critic thought the "invented dialogue … will leave history buffs gnashing their teeth," while the Kirkus Reviews writer recommended Phantom Warrior "strictly for fans of the genre." Guidera, on the other hand, described the book as "a timeless tale of bravery and heroism, of one man defying incredible odds to defend others under the most harrowing of circumstances."
Johnson once told CA: "I consider myself a ‘storyteller’ rather than a complex writer using mind-straining words. I attempt to create a fast-paced story with a surface which is easy to understand. But, for those who wish to dig into the characters, I incorporate a more involved meaning, sprinkled with a message. My explorations serve as a catalyst for much of my work. For example, in 1970 I organized and led an expedition into the wilderness of northern Minnesota for the Chicago Tribune in order to prove that reports of ‘ape men’ in the area were pure fiction. The Tribune's coverage of the story produced such an interest in the subject that I wrote The Strange Case of Big Harry so that people could get a look (and a laugh) at themselves."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2007, review of Phantom Warrior: The Heroic True Story of Pvt. John McKinney's One-Man Stand against the Japanese in World War II.
Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Gerald Costa, review of Hour of Redemption: The Heroic WWII Saga of America's Most Daring POW Rescue, p. 113.
Publishers Weekly, August 12, 2002, "Reclaimed War Stories," p. 293; June 25, 2007, review of Phantom Warrior, p. 48.
WTOCTV.com,http://wtoctv.com/ (December 5, 2007), Tim Guidera, "New Book Tells of Screven County Hero."