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Blunt, Jr., Roscoe C. Foot soldier; a combat infantryman's war in Europe.

Perseus, Da Capo Press. 296p. illus, c1994, 2001. 0-306-81090-5. $16.00. SA

This is the story of one young man's war: from basic training in 1945 through the Battle of the Bulge with the 84th Infantry Division. It's told in a captivating manner that makes it hard to put the book down. Part of what holds one's attention are the many stories and details of what the war was like in Europe after D-Day: stories that are distinctly unique. Some of the stories resonate with other stories one has read in other memoirs of the war in Europe, but, for the most part, one feels like one is experiencing a war that one did not fully know before. Part of what captivates the attention is the author's point of view, which is incredibly descriptive and uncensored. For example, in describing the surrender of the German city of Dulken, he mentions a wounded German soldier, with one arm nothing more than a dangling stump. "I started in his direction," the author writes, "but the commander of the tank I had been walking behind waved me away. Then, without hesitation, he deliberately veered the tank toward the soldier and ran over him with his tank treads. The badly wounded German soldier looked to have been a teenager. It was as barbaric an act of war as any I had ever seen committed by Americans. I was finding out that cold-blooded murder was not just the province of the Germans" (p. 207). Also unvarnished is every detail of the author's unabashed desire to collect as many war trophies as possible. In some respect, the author's unblemished eyes create a point of view that is both somewhat disturbing and slightly disorienting. But in the final analysis one is left with the impression of a decent young man with enormous survival skills, and also of someone with great powers of observation. Indeed, after the war the author became an investigative journalist, and continued in his previous career as a jazz drummer. The book is recommended with enthusiasm. Prof. John Rosser, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Rosser, John
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2002
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