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Thoughts from Helen Patton xi
Discovering the Diary 1
West Virginia Childhood, Getting Drafted, Meeting Eleanore 13
Dad Goes Off to War 21
Omaha Beach 23
Normandy and Hedgerow Country 31
The Wooden Shoes 37
St. LO and Operation Cobra 41
Finding the Relic and Capture by the Germans 59
Nazi Depravity 69
The Fifty-Four-Day March to Germany Begins 79
Driving through Paris 91
Illness on the Road 95
Crossing the Border into Germany 99
Arriving at Stalag VIIA 103
Prison Camp Life 141
Heinz, the Good Nazi Guard 147
Work Detail in Munich 149
POW Soup and Dad's Mothballs 153
Munich Dealing and Stealing Potatoes 159
The Christmas Tree, POW Pie, and a Charcoal Drawing 163
Morale Plummets and Mail Arrives 171
Heinz Disappears and Dad Plans an Escape 177
Dad and Bert Escape 181
The Second Escape 189
Captured Again 197
A Second Stalag and the Hole 207
The Truth about the War Is Revealed 215
The War Ends and the Camp Goes Wild 219
The Allies and the Red Cross Arrive 221
The Former POWs Leave for France 223
Camp Lucky Strike 227
Farewell to Stephen 229
Off to America, Where Dad and Bert Say Goodbye 231
Bert and Dad Reunite in 1947 237
Posted April 17, 2012
As an educator, I have devoted much of my life to studying the effects of World War II upon the world. With my students, I have spent many years interviewing veterans and Holocaust survivors. This book hit home for many reasons.
Robert Miller's story about his father really stopped me in my tracks. Here is man who, like many of us grew up in a "quote-un-quote" normal, post World War II childhood, with a mom and dad and a picket fence, but who also understood that somehow Dad was different. Why won't Dad ring the back yard with the standard fence that all the neighbors have? Why doesn't he like fireworks, and why must he drive us around the tall hedgerow lined field to go to a fishing spot? Dad's idiosyncrasies were not necessarily a cause for alarm; in fact, it was a point of honor when together with young school mates. "My dad was in the war"...
After his dad passed on, Robert found his Dad's POW diary. He began to sit with his mother, as she unleashed her own catharsis of what his father has gone through as a soldier and a prisoner of war. Robert's narrative moves quickly, and absorbs you as you go with his dad through the landings at Omaha, the Norman hedgerows, the push at St. Lo, the cluster SNAFU of Operation Cobra, and his capture at Mortain. Then, you really enter the world of Herbert Miller as he struggles to survive.
Robert has written a moving narrative of his quest to truly discover his father's war, which is really every American's war. We can't afford to forget what our soldiers went through, and what our military families and their offspring go through. Thanks, Robert, for reminding us of that, and for this moving tribute to your parents of the World War II generation. So many lessons can be learned from this book. Pick it up and read it. Especially the chapter entitled "The Wooden Shoes". His dad brought home a pair, marked by him "June 21, 1944". When young Robert would put them on to clank around the house and play, he learned that he could not play with them. A young man's life was changed forever on that day. You need to read this book, and find out why.
Award winning History Teacher.
Posted February 29, 2012
Hidden Hell tells the story of a man who, in his lifetime, could never express what he endured to anyone. It’s also a story about his son, who in many ways became closer to his father after his death. The story begins with Robert Miller’s discovery of his father’s World War II POW diary and goes on to chronicle its harrowing contents. Rich with historical insight and integral research, this book offers a unique view of survival during World War II, delivered with poignant narratives and unforgivingly brutal detail. The writing style allows you to feel as though you personally know Herbert Miller, both as a middle-aged man so haunted by his past that baseball games and fireworks triggered PTSD, and the young man fighting to stay alive in a Nazi prison camp. There have been many World War II stories as well as Holocaust stories, but few that I know of that go into such depth about what it is like to be a prisoner of war, and the toll it takes long after a person comes home, gets married and raises a family. As a journalist who has had the opportunity to work with World War II veterans, I have never come across a story as compelling, devastating and inspiring story as Mr. Herbert Miller’s.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2012
I love to have a book in my hands that I cannot put down. This is one of those good reads that you think about long after the final chapter. Beautifully written, the author invites you to see the goodness of a man who lived the hell of WWII. So much of the soldier's experience is too dreadful to remember. To find this man's experience as he had recorded it gives a window into his life during the war and for years after. Thank you for this great book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2012
I am an avid book reader (I read about 30 books a week approximately), and have read and re-read this book many times. It is an extremely well-written book that was a true joy to read despite my lack of interest of reading books of this time period. It is obvious that the author did extensive research to ensure accuracy and the ability to paint details to further enhance the book, which is why this book makes my top 3 books to read ever. This is the first book with the subject matter about World War II that I have ever enjoyed reading and wanted to re-read over and over again. Robert H. Miller's style of writing is insightful, eloquent and spell-binding.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2012
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