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While the letters are not unrelentingly grim, there is ample description of the rending agonies of war and the pain of separation. For instance, a recounting of horrors found in a Nazi concentration camp, or a tender letter to a just-born daughter who may never be seen. Private First Class Richard King describes the death of a Catholic chaplain blessing the foxholes: "An artillery shell cut him in half at the waist." Staff Sergeant Joe Sammarco tells how he crawled, wounded, across streams and into hills in order to escape the Chinese, propelled by the thought of his wife and his babies. Many of these are "last letters," often received after the news of the writer's death. Lieutenant Tommie Kennedy, a POW on a Japanese "hell ship," wrote his farewells on the only thing he had--the back of two family photographs, which were smuggled back to his parents.
These are, as Carroll writes, "the first, unfiltered drafts of history." His rich sample testifies to the universal and poignant themes of love and honor, courage and rage, duty and fear and mortality. The playful and heartfelt voices grant us the personal perspective all too often lost in news reports and government statements. Taken together, they remind us that, despite the playful good cheer, the human cost of war is far too high. A remarkable contribution to the understanding of war and its impact, and a powerful tribute to those undone by it. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Just what I was hoping for as I honored US soldiers on the Mall in Washington this November. I could read from each war section as I came to the Memorials.Published 4 days ago by Kit Angell
Everyone who is interested in war history should read this book as it gives you first hand experiences from soldiers who served there country. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gina M. Grey
A book every American should read. It's a book you can read a section, think about it and return back to other letters latter and not miss a beat.Published 5 months ago by Bill McRae
I have read other books of letter's written by war heroes, those that fought and lost their lives, those that fought and survived. Read morePublished 6 months ago by james d kieffer
I saw this book mentioned on a TV program and researched it a bit before buying it. I am a veteran myself and have served in several locations overseas and far from home. Read morePublished 6 months ago by RayH
Excellent book from a totally different point of view. In parts it was moving as well as heartbreaking. I will probably read the next book.Published 6 months ago by J. Aaron