Forever a Soldier: Unforgettable Stories of Wartime Service

Forever a Soldier: Unforgettable Stories of Wartime Service

by Tom Wiener
     
 

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Forever a Soldier captures the personal side of war in 37 extraordinary narratives that bear eloquent witness to both the life-changing experience of battle and to the unflagging spirit that sustained countless ordinary Americans plunged into the bloody conflicts of the deadliest, most destructive century in human history. Culled from letters, diaries,

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Overview

Forever a Soldier captures the personal side of war in 37 extraordinary narratives that bear eloquent witness to both the life-changing experience of battle and to the unflagging spirit that sustained countless ordinary Americans plunged into the bloody conflicts of the deadliest, most destructive century in human history. Culled from letters, diaries, private memoirs, and oral histories collected by the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, their stories paint an unforgettable group portrait of our country's armed forces.

Some tell of frontline action: a doughboy's 1918 baptism of fire: a battleship gunner's grim duel with Japanese planes; a female fighter pilot's capture by Iraqis during the Gulf War. Others evoke moments of relief and reflection, or recall deeply moving episodes: two wounded soldiers—one German, one American—clasping hands in the wordless brotherhood of pain; a POW whose faith gave him the strength to endure torture in the notorious "Hanoi Hilton;" a GI's lifelong grief for a buddy killed on the last day of World War II in Europe.

Forever a Soldier presents famous incidents like the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and her survivors' terrifying ordeal in the shark-infested Pacific, and heroic figures like John McCain, but it's the long-untold stories of unheralded patriots that best reveal the universal truths of war: courage and fear, horror and exhilaration, sorrow and triumph—the shared legacy of every American veteran, and a debt of honor the rest of us must respect but can never repay.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This second volume (following Voices of War) culled from more than 35,000 stories in the ongoing Library of Congress Veterans History Project is a dense collection of reminiscences-oral histories, letters and diaries-from WWI to the Persian Gulf War, with emphasis on WWII. The most compelling stories are eyewitness accounts: a sailor recounts the attack on Pearl Harbor, a survivor of the Indianapolis sinking in 1945 describes five days in shark-infested Pacific waters, a doctor relates the horrors of trench warfare in 1917, a soldier endures murderous combat during the 1968 Tet offense in Vietnam. Contributors survive long, terrible experiences as prisoners in Germany, Japan, North Korea and Vietnam-and a short, unpleasant confinement in Iraq. If all 37 accounts met these standards, this would be an outstanding addition to the genre, but perhaps out of excessive respect for historical material, the editor too often spares his red pencil. As a result, earnest patriotic essays, rambling tributes to comrades, mildly interesting career summaries or long itineraries of places veterans visited dilute the collection. Military buffs will happily add this to their shelves, but others may wish for a more consistently eloquent anthology of our veterans' memories. 65 b&w photos. (Nov. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This outstanding collection of 37 stories from the Library of Congress Veterans History Project is the second volume drawn from the project, following Voices of War: Stories of Service from the Home Front and the Front Lines. Editorial director Weiner has assembled oral histories covering U.S. conflicts from World War I through the current Iraq war. It includes the recollections of women, Japanese Americans, and Arab Americans, all first-person, life-changing accounts, some tragic and others with their humorous side. There are stories from POWs, front-line nurses, and armed forces pioneers, such as Darlene Ishra, the first woman to command a U.S. Navy ship. The prisoner-of-war experiences cover both world wars and Vietnam, including the poignant recollections of a POW in Germany who compiled lists such as "Foods I Want To Eat." Added to this collection are stories of some of the gruesome discoveries made by servicemen in the aftermath of war, such as at the Nazi concentration camps, the Pacific POW camps, and the camps in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. There are over 35,000 stories archived in this project with more added every day. Recommended.-David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792262077
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
11/21/2006
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.97(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.94(d)

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