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Private (Kindle Single) by [Gilroy, Frank D.]
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Private (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Length: 151 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Frank Gilroy's Kindle Single, Private, takes the reader inside this WWII draftee's private nightmare. Rejected from Yale and feeling like a disappointment to his parents, the Front isn't the place Gilroy wants to redeem himself, but he doesn’t have a choice. Unlike many war narratives, heroic deeds do not provide the drama, or the heart, here. Instead, Private takes the reader to that intimate place where death, where evil, is not so remote--where you can feel its nearness, but at the same time feel (almost) numb. How else would Gilroy be able to endure seeing "skeleton figures, naked, a pile of dead, six and seven bodies high, that stretches fifty yards," and not go mad? Our "hero" notes that he has come upon this horrific scene after traveling miles through picturesque countryside. It is a sunny day, but, he asks: "How can it be a sunny day?" Gilroy does not shy away from the brutal or bawdy, but it is these kinds of quiet, canny observations that give Private its soul, and its power. --Erin Kodicek

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1078 KB
  • Print Length: 151 pages
  • Publication Date: April 3, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007RG92JU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,732 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rett01 VINE VOICE on April 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maybe it's the formatting - short, very short paragraphs separated by several spaces. Maybe it's the style - first person, clipped sentences, mostly staccato beat.

But then, maybe it's just me and my reading of it, but "Private" seemed to me a series of journal entries, pasted together with most dates omitted. And maybe that's something very good about the memoir because Frank Gilroy's account of his WWII experience sure has a heightened sense of immediacy.

Here he is being shipped off, saying good-bye to his parents: "They are framed in the doorway. They wave from the window. I am gone."

Mostly the story reads less like prose and more like poetry:
"We are a centipede
The sun is unrelenting.
A dark cloud appears.
We will it to us - command it to break: march singing through the torrent."

Gilroy's war memoir is a series of vivid impressions woven together to tell a harrowing story of a scared young kid going off to war, experiencing in a few terrifying months a lifetime of bravery and cowardice, fear and exhilaration and learning how easily we can come to mistreat, maim and annihilate one another all for the sake of naught.

He's a kid too young to saunter across a picturesque European countryside on a sunny day and suddenly come upon piles of bodies, a horrific scene where an arm protrudes from a lime pit and where the stench is "worse than the dead."

This is Gilroy's second Kindle Short. He seems at his ripe old age to have found a new métier. "Private" follows the miraculously engaging "The Lake." Both share an insight and tenderness that's hard to forget. "Private" is a WWII tale told mostly in couplets that succeeds in lighting up your neurons with its verve and intensity.

[4.5 stars; it's really memorable]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"This is different" is what I thought as I read the first few pages of this book. Different is not a bad thing. It's a quick read, I finished it in an afternoon, and it can be a bit hard to follow at times but all the same it is exceptional.

The writing style makes the book read like a diary or a notebook where a GI recorded snatches of his thoughts as they passed through his mind. That takes nothing away from the narrative, which is spun with not a single wasted word. Everything has a purpose and it reads almost like a poem. The imagery is exceptional and vibrant and sentiments captured perfectly.
The afternoon I spent reading "Private" was an afternoon well spent.
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An engrossing and ultimately sad story of what war forces on young and old alike. It is Gilroy's personal story/confession/personal examination. The story is of interest by itself as that of a WW2 soldier who can tell us what it was like for him, but it is of universal value as well. It speaks of what war does to people - us - of how war and what happens changes us irrevocably: takes our innocence; shows us things which are hard to believe; astounds us with what we and our fellow man accepts/does in times of such mind-numbing stress - what we ignore, what we take part in; what we are left with when it is over.

'Private' is told in progressive scenes, like in a movie, with snippets of conversation, thoughts of the moment, intimate confessions which would probably never be spoken aloud - for who in person listening would know how to respond? - yet those confessions can be admitted on the safety of the page. There was one scene, of a recovered thin and weary American prisoner of war seeking chocolate from an unresponsive group of American soldiers, which I found myself shocked at. Gilroy himself seemed ashamed of the general inability to see this mans internal state, and his recounting of it was as if it he needed to tell of it, to help him understand just how they all had responded (or rather hadn't).

This story reads as truth, the truth of a young soldier remembering. It is not written as light entertainment. I felt his voice as I read. I recommend it for those who do not need every thought and action explained to them.
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The author gives the flavor of life in the American army in Europe during World War II. It's not a connected story - more a collection of snippets of incidents and feelings. Some are rather powerful, but some are hard to understand because he only hints at his meaning.
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I was disappointed with Private. It didn't compare with Lake, by the same author.
He didn't give a feeling of being interested in the character himself, so that the
reader didn't feel empathy with him either.
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Taken from author Frank D. Gilroy's memories of being a young recruit in WWII, this follows his experience on the train to training through his tour in France and beyond. The author has a very discerning eye and as he writes of his experiences as in a journal, we share his realistic emotions as a young man gone to war.
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Reading this book reminds me of when I was in High School and we were required to do a book report with an assigned number of pages. The pages are double spaced. The publisher put 3-4 spaces between topics. There are very few sentences on one page. Frankly...I could not read over 3-4 pages without becoming incredibly bored and laying the book down. The book is also a short read as I don't remember the total number of pages but it is not one to wear you down.
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