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Kilroy Was Here: The Best American Humor from World War II

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2002

    The funniest book I've read in my life.

    I love this book ! Especially the poems . This book beats " Non Campus Mentis " . The book is filled up with great jokes that really make you laugh ! Plus , the book is interesting ! The only comment I have about this book is it's not funny all the way through . I expected it to be non-stop funny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2001

    No Privacy for the Privates!

    Summary: This book has to be the best resource available for G.I. humor. Charles Osgood has put together a compendium of stories, jokes, one-liners, and cartoons that capture the military experience from boot camp through to going home. The stories capture a variety of perspectives from those in various branches of the military to the U.S.O. entertainers. The most humorous ones are the views of bureaucratic idiocy from the perspective of those in the foxholes. The collection is well edited, balanced, and contains an interesting memoir of Mr. Osgood's experiences as a youngster at the time. The book's main drawback is that much of the material is very long, and is takes awhile to get to the point. Review: The most outstanding work in this book are the Bill Mauldin cartoons. They are laconic and to the point. 'Try to say sumpin' funny, Joe' is the invocation while heading off to fight. I also liked the Sad Sack cartoon where he builds an outdoor shower. Having finished and returning to take his shower, he finds a sign that says 'Officers Only.' I hope Mr. Osgood will consider doing a whole volume of such cartoons. They are wonderful! The subjects for the humor are most often spam (the food, not Internet junk mail), k.p. duty, sex, war bonds, ration coupons, fat cans, and the drawbacks of everyday military service. The humor is couched in a variety of ways, but dialects are used well. As Mr. Osgood writes, 'The more ferocious and threatening the situation, the more we need a sense of humor to keep going and hang on to our sanity.' Clearly, these stories and jokes helped. I was impressed that many stories that I always thought were old chestnuts, are even older than I thought. An officer is told to look up and describe what he sees. 'I see millions of stars.' The NCO replies, 'Well, sir, it tells me that somebody stole our tent.' Situations also provide the humor. 'We're torpedoed! . . . You can't leave me now, I've got four aces!' 'It's kind of hard to get credit for standing at attention because my uniform is all-ways [sic] at ease.' A straw bed evokes this comment: 'Its [sic] a matter of midn [sic] over mattress.' The jokes about the officers are the best. 'Apprehensive means I'm scared with a college education.' Food is a good subject, as well: 'Synthetic lemonade -- a mixture of carbolic acid with ersatz lemon powder' Be sure to read The Craven, which is a satirical poem based on Poe's, The Raven. 'Private practice? NEVERMORE!' The only drawback is the book contains many long stories that develop slowly. Although most are fine in the end, they would have benefited from more editing. I graded the book down one star for this quality. Overall, the humor probably gives you a sense of what World War II was like more than any history. After you finish this book, ask people who lived at that time what their favorite funny stories are. You will probably add to your collection, and will also encourage veterans to talk about what is often a time of many painful memories. Honor the laughter of the human spirit that cries out to banish horror! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2001

    Absolutely Amazing GI humor

    '. . . Dogface infantryman digging in with battle sounds of shells and grenades exploding around them and bullets whizzing overhead. The field telephone rings and a helmeted GI reaches for it, picks it up the receiver and answers: `WORLD WAR TWO.'' Charles Osgood starts his introduction with this story which, in my mind, typifies the absolutely amazing GI humor that was a part of WWII! There are also quotes from entertainers of that era: 'I've learned to say Kaopectate in nine languages . . . ,' Bob Hope; '. . . and it was also how anxious all of us were to laugh,' Ritz Brother, and 'If they have the strength to smile, they smile. It makes a guy proud,' Humphrey Bogart while visiting a hospital in Naples. Even Banzai charges and 'Dear John letters' were not spared. 'Jilted GIs in India organize the FIRST BRUSH OFF CLUB.' We has often taken note of this humor. Now, to my delight, so has Charles Osgood (and who could do it better!) GIs during periods of great stress, that we can only imagine, managed to find humor wherever they found themselves. Charles Osgood refers to this directly in the dedication. All in all, this is my kind of book. It kept me rocking back and forth between amusement, amazement and outright thigh slapping. At last, another recognition of the amazing humor that came out of GIs during that time. Don't miss this one!

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