Between Tedium and Terror: A Soldier's World War II Diary, 1943-45

Overview

This unique record of action in the Pacific is the personal journal of a young American soldier, Sy Kahn. Written under trying conditions and contrary to military regulations, the diary provided the writer both sanity and sanctuary - a foxhole of the mind - in an often violent, irrational world. A bookish nineteen-year-old who was the youngest soldier in his company, Kahn recorded in almost daily entries both the immediacy of danger and the tedium of relentless work, heat, humidity, and routine. His wartime ...
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Overview

This unique record of action in the Pacific is the personal journal of a young American soldier, Sy Kahn. Written under trying conditions and contrary to military regulations, the diary provided the writer both sanity and sanctuary - a foxhole of the mind - in an often violent, irrational world. A bookish nineteen-year-old who was the youngest soldier in his company, Kahn recorded in almost daily entries both the immediacy of danger and the tedium of relentless work, heat, humidity, and routine. His wartime odyssey took him to Australia, New Guinea, other South Pacific islands, and a D-day landing on Luzon. Surviving four campaigns and over 300 air attacks, Kahn and his company finally were sent to occupy Yokohama shortly after two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kahn's diary marvelously captures the daily grind and abrupt excitements of the war, and from an unusual angle. A bespectacled, cultured young New Yorker of delicate sensibilities (``I was infinitely more comfortable with a book or violin in my hands than I was with a rifle''), he was assigned to the 244th Port Company of the Army Transportation Corps and spent much of the war engaged in the backbreaking labor of loading and unloading combat cargo ships. Far from being ``in the rear with the gear,'' however, he was often near the cutting edge of military operations in the Pacific as the 244th delivered supplies to Marines or GIs fighting at Cape Gloucester, Holandia, Biak and the Philippines. Kahn also took part in the early months of the occupation of Japan and provides interesting observations on this transition period between war and peace. His diary is special not so much for its depiction of warfare (although there's plenty of that), but as a chronicle of a sensitive young soldier's journey toward maturity. The book continuously engages as it reveals Kahn's distinctive personality and outlook. Photos. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252069086
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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