A Brief Peace: The Postwar Years of George
GARNA L. CHRISTIAN*
W HATEVER CHILDHOOD OR WARTIME DEMONS HOVERED OVER
George Sessions Perry as he disembarked from the European
front of World War II, the fates appeared to favor his every turn. A
National Book Award-winning novelist and popular short story author
before volunteering for service as a war correspondent, money, fame,
and a multitude of friends and admirers awaited the handsome Texan as
he entered the world of postwar journalism. A scant decade later, this
fortuitous future lay submerged with Perry in an ice-bound Connecticut
river, claiming the life of one of the most widely read writers in
An uneven path had led to the portals of success for the thirty-four-
year-old Perry, home from the Sicilian and Normandy campaigns. Born
on May 5, 191o, in the central Texas town of Rockdale, the tall, husky
author remembered celebrating the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo
when Andrew Perry took his son to the barrio to purchase tamales on
his birthday. In other happier times, the father, a respected businessman
and property owner, bought the boy a pony, enabling young George to
fantasize life as a cowboy. The child's fortunes sharply reversed, howev-
er, when at twelve years of age he lost his father to a lingering illness.
Compounding the shock, his mother, Laura, remarried, left her new
* Garna L Christian is a professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown.
'For biographies of George Sessions Perry see Maxine Cousins Hairston, George Sesszons Perry,
Hs Life and Works (Austin. Jenkins Pubhshmg Company, 1973); Stanley G. Alexander, George
Sessions Perry (Austin: Steck-Vaughn Company, 1967; Robert G. Cowser, "A Biographical and
Critical Interpretation of George Sessions Perry (1910-1956)" (Ph.D. diss., Texas Christian
University, i965); John Mason Brown, "The King-Sized Texan, George Sessions Perry," Saturday
Review of Literature, 43 (Aug. 15, 1959), 14-15, 40; StanleyJ. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft (eds.),
Twentieth Century Authors (New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1955), 1st supplement, 773; Lewis
Nordyke, "George Sessions Perry: The Rockdale Reporter," Texas Parade, 12 (Oct., 1952), 30-32;
Harry R. Warfel, "George Sessions Perry," American Novelists of Today (New York: American Book
Company, 1951), 339-340. See Perry's career as a World War II correspondent in Garna L.
Christian, "George Perry's War," Southwestern Hstorcal Quarterly, 102 (Oct., 1998), 187-209.
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. CVI, No. 1
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed August 21, 2014.