ONCE THERE WAS A WAR
Steinbeck's war dispatches were memorable, not perhaps for their historical value as a record but because of the vivid personal angle, the human bits, the vitality of capturing the feel of the war as seen on a troopship, in an airbase in England, behind the lines, and so on. The scene shifts from England, to North Africa, to Italy- and always the same discernment, compassion, understanding of the little man that informs and distinguishes his fiction makes pulsing and alive these stories behind the scenes. His Introduction discounts their authenticity, as he marshals the factors operating against the war correspondent, the self imposed strictures, the censorship, the accepted tenets of sustaining morale on the home front. But even with this playing down of the integral values, they read once again as first hand stories of young America at war- told by a peerless story teller. Good journalism, yes, but good literature as well.