A family honors World War II veterans in this extensive book recounting their experiences.
Inspired by the patriarch of this close-knit clan, the Miller family compiled this debut collection of soldiers’ stories. Most are the harrowing personal tales of the combatants’ struggles during the war, including which branch of the military they served in and the battles they fought in. The entries are usually no longer than two pages, submitted by family and friends, and a wide range of remembrances is represented, from a major league baseball player who almost lost a leg to a dental surgeon–turned-officer. They often read as brief snapshots or eulogies. For the avid history buff, some of the tales include refresher courses on specific battles. Pvt. George Young’s account, for instance, gives a thorough breakdown of his movements in Operation Cobra during the Normandy Campaign. The volume, illustrated by Ken Miller, is inclusive too: female veterans have space here, as do one man who was a child during the Battle of the Bulge and a woman who was interned by the Japanese during their occupation of Java. This book is a cross between a straightforward historical record and a vivid war narrative, and at times it would have benefited the work if the Miller family had chosen one approach. Each story, for instance, is presented in the form in which it was submitted. Some tales are told in the first person, from the viewpoint of the soldiers, while others are written by their loved ones from their perspectives. Others contain what look like the veterans’ service records or data about their lives. The inconsistency becomes a bit jarring, because each entry is in a different style. A stronger editorial hand would have made the presentation of these tales easier to digest. But the Miller family has achieved an impressive feat in gathering so many of them for readers. One small note: all of these stories are labeled “memoirs” but those written by family or friends should be characterized as biographical./p>
A tribute to soldiers packed with intriguing, vibrant details that make this a valuable addition to America’s historical record.