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To Hell and Back (Dante Valentine, Book 5) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2008
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About the Author
Lilith Saintcrow was born in New Mexico, bounced around the world as an Air Force brat, and fell in love with writing when she was ten years old. She currently lives in Vancouver, WA.
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To Hell and Back reads like a novel with great characters, lots of action, a sympathetic main character, moments of humor, and moments of sadness, what makes that astonishing is that it is a true story and more than that it is a memoir.
The reader is taken on a riveting firsthand account of some of the most fierce fighting of WWII with a humble normal guy who turns out to be an incredible soldier and war hero.
The story is possibly as close to the thoughts and feelings of combat that anyone who has never been in combat can experience.
To Hell and Back should be required reading for every American.
Audy Murphy was assisted, based on what else I've read, by an uncredited co-author for much of this book, though some sections were written by Murphy himself. Apparently Murphy dictated and the co-author polished. Also, as with many memoirs, the story is not a history and is not necessarily meant to be 100% factual. I gather that some of the characters are fictional representations of perhaps several different men, and the names were changed as well. This does not detract from the book, in my opinion -- in fact, I was surprised that an self-admitted poorly educated individual could write this well, and knowing he had a little help actually lent some credibility to the book, in that it made the whole thing add up better.
The book is a fast read -- more like a 40's detective novel, and less like Faulkner. I can't explain how the book is able to inspire an admiration for what soldiers endure while at the same time repudiating warfare itself, but somehow it does this. War is Hell -- if you want to know why, read this book.