It’s the winter of 1937-’38. World War II is brewing. At a remote duty station on Kanaga Island, Alaska, in the middle of the Aleutian chain, eight men are engaged in a U. S. Navy mission whose aim is secret even from them. Six of the men record weather data and monitor radio communications between Japanese fishing boats. A seventh is the cook. The eighth man, the medic, Chief Pharmacist’s Mate Royse Gibson, has little to do — no one in this small contingent gets sick, no one is injured. There will be no mail in or out for months, and radiograms, the only other means of communication with home, are expensive and difficult to arrange. So Gibson keeps a diary in the form of letters to his wife and two young daughters, to be mailed if ever it’s possible. Then one day Gibson and the cook go seal hunting, and disappear without a trace. Gibson’s letters, finally delivered to his family months later, comprise half of "Kanaga Diary," detailing his daily routine and his far more interesting spare-time activities on the island. The other half of this “double memoir” is his daughter Estelle’s story of the family, struggling, eventually moving on, but keeping his memory alive. In 1995, fifty-seven years after the loss of her father, Estelle and her husband set out on a long-planned visit to Kanaga, to investigate her father’s disappearance and to finally say goodbye.
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Memoir, Nonfiction, History
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 132