Heroes Don’t Run: A Novel of the Pacific War

Written by Harry Mazer
Review by Wendy Zollo

Adam Pelko is seventeen and unable to enlist in the Marines without his mother’s consent. (His father died at Pearl Harbor in this trilogy’s initial novel, A Boy at War.) He persuades his grandfather to endorse the necessary papers without his mother’s knowledge and quickly finds himself in the reality of a grueling boot-camp and grisly combat when he is shipped to Okinawa.

Mazer writes in a smooth, flowing, age-appropriate narrative without losing the grit and spirit of not only a young man in war but an entire country as well. The author allows Adam and his readers to experience the discipline and taunting of boot-camp, the loneliness and brotherhood of wartime, and the almost automatic preservation instinct that jerks into gear in the intensity of ferocious battles. My sons (age 9 & 12) relished the intensity of Heroes Don’t Run enough to head off to the library for the first two books in Mazer’s trilogy. (Ages 10-14)