TYPEWRITER BATTALION by Jack Stenbuck

TYPEWRITER BATTALION

Dramatic Frontline Dispatches from World War II
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An absorbing collection of battlefield pieces from WW II newspaper correspondents that range from history-as-journalism to journalism-as-propaganda. Stenbuck, a newspaperman who passed away in 1975 (this manuscript was recently brought to light by his children), began this collection of wartime articles from newspapers and wire services in 1944, when the war was almost at an end. The collection covers the highlights of the US involvement in the war from Pearl Harbor through the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the Nuremburg trials and executions. Many of the articles are global descriptions of momentous events, like the fall of Corregidor, the Normandy landings, and the 101st Airborne's brave resistance at Bastogne, while a few, like Ernie Pyle's ``The Death of Captain Waskow'' (which describes the emotional effect on ordinary GIs of the combat death of a beloved officer), talk of the more quotidian aspects of combat. The works of famous journalists, like Pyle, Homer Bigart, Richard Tregaskis, Walter Cronkite, and Drew Middleton, are presented alongside those of lesser-known authors. Also, the quality varies: Purple prose mars some accounts, many authors engage in extensive editorializing, and articles describing American combat efforts frequently have a relentlessly upbeat tone (even in the account of the nearly disastrous American landings on D-Day). However, simply by virtue of their riveting subject matter, some pieces are unforgettable: a late-war tour of the concentration camp at Dachau; an account of an author's escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp; and the haunted last hours of convicted Nazi warlords in Nuremburg before execution. A first-rate collection of thoughts from the front line that presents the war with an immediacy lost in more scholarly studies and that shows how contemporary Americans viewed the Second World War.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-14190-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995




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