Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War

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...


“A delightful memoir by an author with a love of all things aviation, this beautifully written chronicle will captivate readers.”

~ BookLife

Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War
Semifinalist in the
2017 BookLife Award



Santa Cruz Sentinel

KION News:


What readers are saying about Spear-Carrier in a Backwater War:

“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 in 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

Profile Photo Edward C. Larson

About Edward C. Larson

Ed Larson was born in Seattle, Washington on October 20, 1924. He attended local schools and developed a high interest in aviation and airplanes. Following graduation from high school in 1942, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces at the age 17— with his parent's permission and a passion to become a pilot. After graduation from flight training, he was assigned as a single engine instructor where his flying skills became more highly developed. With termination of the flight training program, he was assigned to a B-24 training program and from that assignment was transferred to the China-Burma-India Theater of War as a copilot/pilot of transport aircraft involved in furnishing supplies for fighter groups operating against the Japanese.

Following the end of World War II, Larson worked for several years in Alaska on tow boats transporting salmon from the fishing banks to canneries spread throughout Southeast Alaska. He returned to college in 1954, obtaining a Bachelor's and Master's Degree, which lead him to a teaching career of 30 years.

Ed Larson currently lives in Santa Cruz, California, where he has been active in sailing and serving as a volunteer docent for the Santa Cruz Harbor. He has one daughter, two granddaughters, and five great grandchildren. His interest in aviation and boating continues from his earliest memories to the present day. Larson is also an active graphic artist and local writer. He has published two previous books. Mr. Larson's writing and illustrations have been featured in numerous publications.

All books by Edward C. Larson

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