THE STORY OF WORLD WAR II’S LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR—THE FIGHTING MAN
Originally published in 1948, this is the fascinating account of U.S. soldiers fighting in East Asia and Europe, as seen firsthand by an American journalist, Jack Bell of the Chicago Daily News.
“Jack Bell spent his time with the fighting men, usually where the fighting was the thickest. He knew the troops and lived with them. He was the kind of a correspondent who would patrol the frontal areas, get voluminous motes, go back to his typewriter and write enough stuff to fill his requirements for a week, then go out again for another basketful of names and hometowns.
“He saw and knew the war as it really was—the machine gunner sweating out the next attack; the advancing BAR man clinging closely to a stone wall; the lonely man on an outpost listening with every pore of his body; the exhilaration and excitement of intense firing and fighting and the depressing feeling that came with surveying the killed and wounded in the silence that followed. He knew all of it and much more. He knew the people that fought it, their fear, their worries, and their moments of greatness. And this, finally, is the essence of war. For it is a composite of men, gun crews, air crews, seamen, and thousands of small fighting teams, all of whom regardless of their origins and fears do their jobs when the chips are down. It is these things rather than broad arrows on bright maps with thumb smudged evidences of staff cerebrations that is war. And this was Jack Bell’s war.”—James M. Gavin