untold stories of world war
Second Edition 2008
Written by: Steve Wagner & Sharon Wells Wagner
Reviewed by: Joseph J. Gleason
This should have been a quick and easy read in simple large type, open spaced form, but I took the time to be sure I was as in touch with the authors’ style if possible. I wanted it to flow.
I always have to take a deep breath and ponder how to review a book that has such a purpose. Records of the suffering of others is not pleasant reading, but I have to give credit to this mother and son team for undertaking what to me always seems like a monumental task. Is there any entertaining or attractive way to honestly relate the experiences of young men at war?
These are individual’s stories that should be told and might be read by a younger group of readers. The style is very different from chapter to chapter and I would venture that I could guess which ones were penned by mother and which ones by son. Each chapter is a series of tales about many different young men and the authors have tried to weave them together into a logical conclusion. The result is a chapter here and there of very simple compound sentences, resulting in a style that left me searching for a certain rhythm, and then other chapters that exhibited a more refined style of writing that I suspect to be likely from an older author.
It can be a bit confusing jumping from one character to the next in the same chapter without fluid introductions, and I am always disheartened to find grammatical errors or misplaced words within the first fifty five pages. I will admit that I am a stickler for details, but it is hard to be objectively critical of the overall body of work when you stumble on these unintentional mistakes. If you are going to the trouble to write and publish, have your work professionally edited using more that a spell checker system.
Having said enough about form and composition, I have to say that for any young person who is considering a career in the military, you should take the time to read this book with the understanding that the way war is conducted today is very different than the way it was in 1943. As a valiant attempt to relate the human experience of a group of soldiers, who survived to tell their version of events, this book really does not stand out among the thousands of others like it.
It does deserve mentioning that the book contains actual photos taken of the service men
in uniform at or near the age in which the events occurred and I found it interesting that the living were almost all currently residing in Pennsylvania. Looking at the photos, I felt there was so much more that could be said about them. Their expressions, posture and their overall features told you things that the words did not express. The old adage is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps if the photos were placed in the body of the text, near the description of the experience of the individual, a reader could start to appreciate the purpose of this work.
I will admit that I picked this book off the shelf at random and it is not my choice of subject matter. Quite possibly, someone else would find the subject matter more to their liking.
I believe this to be suitable reading for boys aged 12-18 for a taste of the experience of being drafted or volunteering and fighting in world war two as seen through the eyes of those soldiers who were young enough to be their brothers.
Reviewed by: Joseph J. Gleason
A Book Review From JR Hafer Book Reviews / By Joseph J. Gleason