A moving tribute to fallen soldiers and their survivors.

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Beigel tells the story of the American government’s efforts to bring home the country’s World War II dead in this nonfiction debut.

Of all the nations that participated in World War II, only the United States repatriated its war dead. This is now commonplace, but at the time, it was an unprecedented logistical feat, intended to bring closure to the families of those who lost their lives in overseas conflicts: “In many cases, the recovery and return of the remains happened five years or more after their deaths,” writes Beigel in a preface, adding that “The time, effort, and national treasure spent to repatriate the war dead of the United States…is utterly unique in the annals of global history.” Beigel is a professional researcher who’s investigated the deaths and burials of over 2,000 American service members on behalf of their relatives, and in this book, he tells the largely unknown story of how the “Return of the World War II Dead Program” came about. He includes excerpts from the letters of grief-stricken mothers and contemporary newspaper reports that show the growing public demand for bringing the soldiers’ bodies home. In the book’s second half, Beigel goes into the stories of individual soldiers, describing how they were killed, the feelings of their families, and the struggles of military officials to deliver on their promises. Beigel’s prose is clean and concise throughout. His tone is often quite sentimental, but he still manages to tell soldiers’ stories with poise: “He was buried on the twelfth of July in a very small cemetery located on the road from St. Croce, Camerina, northwest one-half mile. Sergeant Drullinger was laid to rest between two of his fellow soldiers from F Company, both, by chance, small-town Oklahomans.” The words of the parents themselves are even more affecting; for example, here’s the father of Sgt. David Wilson, who feared that the Army hadn’t kept track of his son: “We realize that he was just a common G.I. and rated very low with the army. But he was very dear to us and our only son, so you can see how we would appreciate some detailed information.” Overall, the book provides a clear window into an operation that most Americans will likely know little about. Readers will also be left with a great feeling of respect for the importance of ritual when dealing with the deceased. One particularly difficult situation involved Maj. Frederick Koebig and 1st Lt. Anthony Kuhn, two bomber crewmen who survived the crash of their plane only to be captured by the Japanese in the South Pacific. They were killed when their prison camp was unintentionally bombed during an Allied raid, then cremated by the Japanese and placed in a box along with the ashes of 27 other American and Australian prisoners. Nevertheless, the U.S. military found a way to bring them home in a manner that was respectful to all the men with whom they were interred.

A moving tribute to fallen soldiers and their survivors.

Pub Date: May 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73361-250-0

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Midnight to 1 Am

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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