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Europe was in the throes of World War II, and when America joined the fighting, Ernie Pyle went along. Long before television beamed daily images of ...Show synopsisEurope was in the throes of World War II, and when America joined the fighting, Ernie Pyle went along. Long before television beamed daily images of combat into our living rooms, Pyle's on-the-spot reporting gave the American public a firsthand view of what war was like for the boys on the front. Pyle followed the soldiers into the trenches, battlefields, field hospitals, and beleaguered cities of Europe. What he witnessed he described with a clarity, sympathy, and grit that gave the public back home an immediate sense of the foot soldier's experience. There were really two wars, John Steinbeck wrote in "Time" magazine: one of maps and logistics, campaigns, ballistics, divisions, and regiments and the other a "war of the homesick, weary, funny, violent, common men who wash their socks in their helmets, complain about the food, whistle at Arab girls, or any girls for that matter, and bring themselves through as dirty a business as the world has ever seen and do it with humor and dignity and courage--and that is Ernie Pyle's war." This collection of Pyle's columns detailing the fighting in Europe in 1943-44 brings that war--and the living, and dying, moments of history--home to us once again.Hide synopsis
Ernie Pyle was a great writer. Very few writers can put you into a situation where you can smell, hear and feel what is going on. He's great at showing the humanity of any situation. Very few writers match him for showing the texture of life.
Anyone familiar with the written history of the men (and women) who fought during WWII will know the name of Ernie Pyle. He is arguably the preeminant biographer of the American fighting man. He saw it all before being killed by an enamy sniper late in the war. This particular work, "Brave Men" is, in my opinion, one of if not the best work he produced. If you're interested in WWI history, and especially the history of the average Joe, Pyle's is the work to read.
TV this morning shows American troops eating turkey and playing football at "Camp Prosperity" in Iraq for Thanksgiving. Like they are on vacation. It was followed by a soldier that had "an accident" and lost his leg. An accident is defined as three grenades tossed in his vehicle. He is now at a resort camp learning to scuba dive. Ain't life great. Pyle gave a real account of war as fought by the infantry. He lived with them, dived into foxholes, helped bury the dead. He was the average doughboy's voice, their greatest advocate, their closest friend. He suffered their grief. It is because of Pyle that combat pay became established. His books are poignant, historically significant, and beacons that illuminate through the ages. Men rise to the occassion, giving of themselves for their brothers but no war is a good war.
Though I am not a fan of war stories, this primary source adds a personal touch to World War II. Ernie Pyle was a journalist and reports his experiences of Italy, Sicily, England, and France from the ground. He tries to report about the common soldier and the human aspect of war.
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