HERO: The Life and Death of Audie Murphy by Charles Whiting

HERO: The Life and Death of Audie Murphy

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Shoddy, poorly written biography of our greatest WW II hero, from the author of Patton's Last Battle, Hitler's Werewolves, The Hunt for Martin Bormann, etc. By now the Murphy story has the feel of a familiar myth: a Texas sharecropper's son, a fifth-grade dropout who enlisted as a baby-faced teen-ager and fought his way from Sicily through Italy and southern France all the way to Germany, eventually becoming the only member of Company B, 15th Infantry, Third Division to survive the war. In January 1945, Murphy stood on a blazing tank destroyer and single-handedly stopped an entire German counterattack near the aptly named Ill River--an amazing feat that deserves better than Whiting's punting, bloodthirsty retelling here (much of which Whiting culls from Murphy's ghostwritten autobiography To Hell And Back, which even its author admitted is ""50% imagination or more""). Of course, it was all downhill from there. Murphy never adjusted to peacetime, becoming a B-movie actor (humiliatingly re-creating his own heroism in an awful film version of his autobiography), drug addict, gambler, and pathetic police buff--his death at age 46 in 1971 (a plane crash) almost seems a mercy. At least Murphy's not alive to read Whiting's March of Time prose: ""It was 1945, Audie Leon Murphy's year of destiny."" Or to listen to long pontifications about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In all, simple-minded and jingoistic--strictly for war buffs who are still on a comic-book level.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1987
Publisher: Stein & Day