Mollie and Other War Pieces

Overview

A. J. Liebling’s coverage of the Second World War for the New Yorker gives us a fresh and unexpected view of the war—stories told in the words of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who fought it, the civilians who endured it, and the correspondents who covered it.

The hero of the title story is a private in the Ninth Army division known as Mollie, short for Molotov, so called by his fellow G.I.s because of his radical views and Russian origins. Mollie was famous for his ...

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Overview

A. J. Liebling’s coverage of the Second World War for the New Yorker gives us a fresh and unexpected view of the war—stories told in the words of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who fought it, the civilians who endured it, and the correspondents who covered it.

The hero of the title story is a private in the Ninth Army division known as Mollie, short for Molotov, so called by his fellow G.I.s because of his radical views and Russian origins. Mollie was famous for his outlandish dress (long blonde hair, riding boots, feathered beret, field glasses, and red cape), his disregard for army discipline, his knack for acquiring prized souvenirs, his tales of being a Broadway big shot, and his absolute fearlessness in battle. Killed in combat on Good Friday, 1943, Mollie (real name: Karl Warner) was awarded the Silver Star posthumously. Intrigued by the legend and fascinated by the man behind it, Liebling searched out Mollie’s old New York haunts and associates and found behind the layers of myth a cocky former busboy from Hell’s Kitchen who loved the good life.

Other stories take Liebling through air battles in Tunisia, across the channel with the D-Day invasion fleet, and through a liberated Paris celebrating de Gaulle and freedom. Liebling’s war was a vast human-interest story, told with a heart for the feelings of the people involved and the deepest respect for those who played their parts with heroism, however small or ordinary the stage.

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Editorial Reviews

The Chicago Tribune

"War was the dominant theme in New Yorker writer A. J. Liebling's life from October 1939 through 1944. This collection is less about the cruelty of war than the contradictory and complicated emotional elements of it, reflecting a nostalgia for some parts of what Liebling describes as a war that was 'so disgusting, so deplorable, so human.'"—Elizabeth Taylor, The Chicago Tribune

— Elizabeth Taylor

The Chicago Tribune - Elizabeth Taylor
"War was the dominant theme in New Yorker writer A. J. Liebling's life from October 1939 through 1944. This collection is less about the cruelty of war than the contradictory and complicated emotional elements of it, reflecting a nostalgia for some parts of what Liebling describes as a war that was 'so disgusting, so deplorable, so human.'"—Elizabeth Taylor, The Chicago Tribune
Library Journal
The text of both collections was originally serialized in The New Yorker. Chicago (1952) is based on Liebling's one-year residence there and is a mishmash of his observations. Mollie (1962) covers World War II. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803280311
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

A. J. Liebling (1904–63) was a longtime contributor and columnist for the New Yorker. He was the author of The Sweet Science and nineteen other books of nonfiction, including Chicago: The Second City, available in a Bison Books edition.
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Table of Contents

Foreword IX
1 Confusion is Normal in Combat 11
Quest for Mollie 13
2 For Boots Norgaard 45
The Foamy Fields 47
P. S. on Rozanoff--1954 91
Gafsa 98
I The Eighth Army from Gabes--1943 98
II With Dr. Freeman in Africa 109
III The Chemounis Revisited 118
IV Gafsa Revisited 124
3 Entr'Acte 133
Run, Run, Run, Run 136
Notes from the Kidnap House--1944 153
4 And So to Victory 163
For Bunny Rigg--Cross-Channel Trip 165
5 Direction: Paris 207
Letters from France 210
My Dear Little Louise 228
Letter from Paris 235
Day of Victory 241
6 Massacre 255
The Events at Comblanchien--November, 1944 257
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