Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tales from a battlefield

I was a History major so almost almost 30 years after graduating, I am still drawn to history books. But history books written by scholars and people sitting in university don't appeal to me. I'd rather read something like "Brothers in Arms, Best of Friends" in which two ordinary WW II soldiers tell their story in their own words. Here we don't get a wide view of battles and strategies, but of how it felt to be in the middle of a confusing, scary situation. How to deal with the day by day. How to face life after a friend has been blown to bits or has simply vanished into thin air after being hit by a bomb.

It is also interesting that each soldier has an entirely different personality and style from the other. "Wild Bill" is more explicit in his tales of violence and his womanizing. He tells a rough, no-nonsense tale. "Babe" emphasizes the small moments and has a more sentimental approach to life.

This is a wonderful read. It may not win any awards, but it is a truly absorbing book.

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