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To Hell and Back Paperback – May 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Texan Audie Murphy was the most highly decorated G.I. of World War II, being awarded almost every medal the Army could offer as well as the Congressional Medal of Honor. His memoir of the war is a classic, still retaining some popularity. Tom Parker brings this terse yet vivid and articulate memoir to life. Able to give each of Murphy's comrades credible accents and characterizations, Parker's clear and well-paced reading is a joy. For popular and military collections.AMichael T. Fein, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, NC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Audie Murphy was the most decorated American soldier during World War II. He went on to a long film career, starring in The Red Badge of Courage, The Quiet American, and his own To Hell and Back. He was killed in a plane crash in 1971 at age forty-six.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805070869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805070866
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Welch on October 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
It was interesting to read this account of Audie Murphy's travails in World War II (Murphy was one of the most highly decorated soldiers of that war) having read Ambrose's eulogy Band of Brothers .
Murphy received (every major medal, some more than once, that the army has to offer). He joined the army at age 17 to support six siblings after his mother died (his father had left the family earlier), and he doesn't talk about how the war haunted the rest of his life.
He portrays a brutal, harsh struggle to survive, where the only thing that matters is keeping oneself and one's friends alive. There are moments of great poignancy, others of humor. Once, hungry, dirty and wet, mired in their foxholes, they notice they are under a tree with ripe cherries. Not daring to stick a head up, let alone climb out of the foxhole, Murphy's buddy gets the idea of shooting down the branches with his machine gun, and soon they are delighted to have cherry branches falling on them, making the day just a little brighter.
Not once does Murphy mention his numerous awards, Clearly, Murphy believed that luck played as much a part in his survival as anything he did. He was however, the kind of person who tried to control his destiny, doing what was necessary and taking the initiative in order to get through the day. A little piece of Murphy died every time a friend was killed, and soon almost all of his friends were gone. He was delighted if they received a wound that would return them to the rear, away from battle. He sympathized and worried for the lieutenant who had been badly injured and returned voluntarily to the front only to lose his nerve under the intense shelling. It must have been horribly traumatic to develop such close bonds and to have them ripped apart.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Jason W. Smith on January 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read this book for the first time as a Sophomore in high school and am compelled to rank it as one of the top five books I've ever picked up (Sakai's "Samurai!" and Galland's "The First and the Last" being the only others that I'd dare compare to it).
Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of World War II, was awarded every medal for valor his country could give (The Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, The Bronze Star Medal, The Bronze Star Medal with a Bronze Service Arrowhead, the Legion of Merit, two Silver Stars, the Purple Heart...the list goes on and on), yet he tells his story in such an unassuming manner that it is hard to believe it is written by a war hero. Audie seems more content to discuss his friends and their impact on the war and on his life than to talk about himself. In his eyes, they are the heroes, and his book does a fine job of paying homage to the footsoldier of World War II.
His book is also a marvelously frank and vivid account of combat through the eyes an "everyman." A poor farm boy from Texas, Murphy is perhaps in many ways the typical hero: one who, when faced with a challenge, rises to a level beyond that which could reasonably be expected under different circumstances. Despite being rejected by the Marines and the Navy for military service ("You're too small, kid"), Audie refused to give up his quest to serve his country. Faced with the horror of war (and the deaths of close comrades), Murphy continuously and relentlessly rose to meet the challenges presented him when those of lesser mettle would surely have cowered. All the more remarkable is that Audie accomplished all this before the age of twenty!
No review could ever do this book justice. It is wonderful, sincere, sad, and true. Rest assured, you will not be disappointed. HIGHLY recommended.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on May 12, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Audie Murphy's To Hell and Back is one of the quintessential front-line soldier accounts of the Second World War. The book is not a memoir or autobiography, since Murphy wrote little of it himself and describes little of his life before or after his combat experiences. Nor does Murphy even mention any of awards, including the Medal of Honor, or the fact that he served the entire war in B Company, 1-15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division. The book focuses entirely on the period July 1943 to March 1945, with most of the emphasis on the Anzio, Southern France and Vosges campaigns. On the negative side, Murphy's account is extremely self-effacing and at times is more focused on his squad members, whose GI Joe conversations appear fake and silly. Nevertheless, Murphy's comrades appear as real human beings and the reader will regret the death of each. To Hell and Back is not particularly well written - it is in fact a rather pedestrian account that wanders at times - but what it lacks in style it delivers in frank reality. Murphy's wartime account is often brutal - sometimes humorous - but it makes other more recent homogenized efforts like Band of Brothers seem contrived in comparison.
Currently, the myth has been propagated that only highly trained specialists in peak physical and mental condition should engage in close infantry combat. Audi Murphy, the scrawny, orphaned teenager from Texas who was rejected by the marines and paratroopers, stands to discredit that myth. In combat, Murphy found his niche in life. With a carbine in his hands, Murphy became a real killer. Quick reflexes, common sense and a certain amount of luck gave him the edge and allowed him to survive all his original squad mates.
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