About Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War

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Semifinalist in the 2017 BookLife Prize
Nominated for the 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

Available in print, Kindle, and

Barnes & Noble

“The prose here is exquisite. Mr. Larson and his passion for airplanes and flying come alive as readers experience the author’s adventures and witness the remarkable historical events that occurred during his lifetime….A delightful memoir by an author with a love of all things aviation, this beautifully written chronicle will captivate readers.”

~ BookLife by Publishers Weekly

“loaded with historic photographs of airplanes from military archives or taken by Larson (along with) many of his original sketches…(Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War) provides a look at the global conflict from an original viewpoint.”

~ Terri Morgan, Santa Cruz Sentinel


In 1943, Eddie Larson went to war. He was sent to the far reaches of western China, to a place nestled in the shadows of the mighty Himalayas—the infamous Hump—to fly whatever aircraft he could coax into the skies. He was one of the youngest pilots in the China-Burma-India Theater. This is a story of manic devotion to airplanes and all things flying in a time when the world experienced vast and remarkable changes. It is a story of a life truly well lived—a story of joy, and commitment, and finding adventure in the face of danger…and it is a story about honoring those we have loved and lost.

This is Ed Larson’s story…

Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War

The events that shaped the author’s life are original and interesting. Part memoir and part history, this book sheds light on the golden age of aviation.

BookLife by Publishers Weekly

An interesting and well-written account of a time in our history that we should never forget and that so many don’t even know. The author’s personal account of what he and so many others went through in a time when Heroes emerged from ordinary, young (and in his case VERY young men) to become the soldiers who saved the world from the Nazi insanity is something we all too often take for granted but should never forget. You feel as though you know the author and certainly come to like the man he became. A great read!

~ Sandy Tucker

A fascinating account of Ed Larson’s passion for aircraft and its history, his remembrances from flying in World War II combined with snapshots of Seattle life from 1924–1943. A must read!

~ Jeffrey J. Nemitz Colonel
US Army, Retired

This book is wonderful! Mr. Larson has written an engaging and educational autobiography, full of rich detail with clever and often delightful turns of phrase. He provides the reader with a riveting narrative and wonderful asides full of insight and wisdom, and I was drawn into his story immediately. Each episode he shares, it feels as if he is sitting with you at the kitchen table or by the campfire. This is not a romantic telling of his life as a pilot, but a frank and fascinating memoir—a clear view into the life of this World War II hero of the skies.

~ Lynda MacFarland
Author of Drowning in Lemonade, Reflections of an Army Wife

I must warn you about this book. If you pick it up and start to read it you will not be able to put it down until you read the last page. It will totally capture you, and you will be there with Ed. I could hear the engines running up, feel the vibrations of the plane and feel the cool nip of the air as I flew with you. Thank you for the great artwork; I enjoyed it a lot. I also want to thank you for including your life growing up in Washington and your adventures in Alaska. I wish that a lot of young people today could have some of those experiences; I believe they would better off for it.

~ Bob Wise

I have the model airplane plans that my father, born in 1925, had as a boy. He served in the Army Air Corps near the end of WWII as a radio operator bombardier hoping to see action on board his B24. It was not until Korea as a pilot of an F86 Saber that he was in the fight. Ed’s book helps me remember the times my dad talked about when I was a boy.

~ Larry Hart

This is an epic read. A wonderfully written chronicle of how a WW II aviator realized his dream. Riveting, witty, touching, and inspiring.
Thank you, Ed!

~ Ryan Pingree

I’ve just finished reading Ed Larson’s book, Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War. This is an incredibly interesting read which dynamically captures his life experiences, as well as being one of the youngest pilots in the China-Burma-India Theatre. The recording of his honorable service for our country during WWII is informative, and I appreciated seeing the accompanying pictures. I strongly feel Mr. Larson’s book should be required reading in the school system! Tom Brokaw is correct in naming these Soldiers, ‘The Greatest Generation’. Thank you, Mr. Larson, for your service to the United States of America!

~ Maryann McCarthy

A truly wonderful read. Engaging. You will be walking with, floating with, and flying with Ed in his life adventures. And he has very interesting and unique life adventures. His early years are focused in Seattle during the Depression years, and in the SE Alaskan islands on and around boats and a cannery. A great adventure. And later, he joins the Army Air Force and has more great adventures in his formative years during WWII. It is a terrific book. Ed is a fabulous storyteller and you will come to know Ed.

~ David Bacon

Fine new book out for anyone who loves aviation, airplanes and adventure biographies from someone who served our country with pride !!!! HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS READ!!!!!!!!!!! Great work, Ed!

~ Rozlyn Orr

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