Here is a new kind of World War II memoir- a family narrative that relates the exploits of a low-ranking but resourceful nonconformist whose talents were lost on the military bureaucracy. In the spring of 1944 Ben Green enlisted in the Marine Corps with the intent of assisting the war effort as an officer in combat intelligence. He was 35 years old and left behind a wife and two small children. The vagaries of war, however, did not result in his anticipated officer training. Instead, Ben Green found himself training in the Marine infantry along with tough, angry kids, half his age.
Back home, Ben's family coped with economics, emotional stress, and fear of the unthinkable as they waited in terror for the news of Ben's assignment to the next island invasion. But, a half-a-world away, like Luther Billis in Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, Ben used his maturity and experience to adapt to both the absurdities and opportunities of military life. He learned how to work the "system"-to save his skin for his family's sake-and to eke meaningful service to his country out of his chaotic situation. It is a story that, like war itself, reveals both the universal and the intensely person elements of survival, love, and sacrifice while serving self, family, and country in ways and circumstances that none involved had ever dreamed possible.
This book is a chronicle of discovery in the World War II experiences of Ben Green, but creating it was also a journey of discovery for the author, Through the experience of writing and researching this book, Ben's son learned that a father he had respected but never fully understood, nor knew how to love, had, indeed, been his mentor and his best friend. Based on the letters and writings of the author's parents, two talented journalists who wrote each other daily, as filtered through his own family experience, this narrative describes one family's struggle when swept along in the tides of the world's biggest war. The book is further documented by his mother's biographical script for a 48th "This Is Your Life" surprise birthday party for Ben. Also included are six humorous, short sketches, worthy of Mac Hyman's No Time for Sergeants, entitled, My War with the United States Marines, that Ben Green wrote and presented to the Chicago Literary Club in 1965. It is also viewed, first by the author as a six-year-old, and then from his contemporary perspective as a survivor of the mayhem. The book is illustrated with Ben's own drawings, included in his letters home. Part of Our American Voices Series
|Publisher:||James A Rock & Co. Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I don't generally read nonfiction, and particularly not war stories. But Peter Green brings authenticity and great storytelling together to share a unique perspective of the world war that shaped the lives of a generation. Ben Green did not get the officer's commission he expected. In fact, the military turned out to be much different than he thought. Through Ben's ingenuity, he claimed a place in history as the war came to an end. This is his story. Ben -- the author's father -- told his story through letters home. Peter's mom not only kept those letter, but through her own writing shared what it was like to be left behind with young children and few resources to keep a household running. Peter's experience as one of those children becomes part of the tale he weaves together, further giving this account the ring of truth.