G. I.: The American Soldier in World War II

Overview

Lee Kennett provides a vivid portrait of the American soldier, or G.I., in World War II, from his registration in the draft, training in boot camp, combat in Europe and the Pacific, and to his final role as conqueror and occupier. It is all here: the "greetings" from Uncle Sam; endless lines in induction centers across the country; the unfamiliar and demanding world of the training camp, with its concomitant jokes, pranks, traditions, and taboos; and the comparative largess with which the Army was outfitted and ...

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G.I.: The American Soldier in World War II

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Overview

Lee Kennett provides a vivid portrait of the American soldier, or G.I., in World War II, from his registration in the draft, training in boot camp, combat in Europe and the Pacific, and to his final role as conqueror and occupier. It is all here: the "greetings" from Uncle Sam; endless lines in induction centers across the country; the unfamiliar and demanding world of the training camp, with its concomitant jokes, pranks, traditions, and taboos; and the comparative largess with which the Army was outfitted and supplied. Here we witness the G.I. facing combat: the courage, the heroism, the fear, and perhaps above all, the camaraderie - the bonds of those who survived the tragic sense of loss when a comrade died. Finally, when the war was over, the G.I.’s frequently experienced clumsy, hilarious, and explosive interactions with their civilian allies and with the former enemies whose countries they now occupied.

A fascinating portrait of the civilians who were transformed into American soldiers during World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Based partly on interviews, letters and memoirs, G.I. is a group portrait of an army that was ``in a sense the nation itself, an authentic slice of American society with all its many layers.'' Kennett, history professor at the University of Georgia, offers an accurate description of the soldiers' experience, from induction and training, the journey to the combat zone and baptism of fire, their attitudes and behavior as liberator, conquerer and, finally, as tourist. The U.S. Army in World War II was the best-fed, best-dressed, best-equipped army in the world, and Kennett describes in detail the G.I.'s reaction to C-rations, uniform dress and the M1 rifle. He also discuses such broader issues as combat fatigue, segregation and the effect of the G.I. on Europe's shattered economy. As Kennett points out, G.I. Joe was a different breed from the doughboy of the First World War. Readers will find no better portrait of the new breed than in these pages. Photos. (March 30)
Library Journal
War II's battles and tactics have been analyzed over and over, but few authors have devoted much attention to the everyday American citizen-soldier. Historian Kennett has produced a serious and entrancing study of the average G.I. from the arrival of his ``Greetings'' through training camp and combat. He focuses more on the draftee than the regular, and clearly favors the infantry, but his book does justice to all U.S. fighting men. Although replete with polls and sociological data to satisfy the scholar, the book makes for lively and anecdotal reading. A fine, complementary volume to John Ellis's more specialized The Sharp End: the fighting man in World War II ( LJ 2/15/81). Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806129259
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 996,177
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Kennett (1931–2011) was Professor of History at the University of Georgia. Among his many books are For the Duration . . . : The United States Goes to War, Pearl Harbor–1942, A History of Strategic Bombing, and Marching through Georgia: The Story of Soldiers and Civilians during Sherman?s Campaign.

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