"Their life consisted wholly and solely of war, for they were and always had been front-line infantrymen. They survived because the fates were kind to them, certainly - but also because they had become hard and immensely wise in animal-like ways of self-preservation." - Ernie Pyle
"No man in this war has so well told the story of the American fighting man as American fighting men wanted it told. He deserves the gratitude of all his countrymen." - President Harry Truman
Ernie Pyle's life is like a 1950s movie script. Born the beloved and only child of hardscrabble American farmers, he made good grades in school, graduated, and went off to college at "State", in his case the University of Indiana. Overcoming his shyness, he studied journalism and wrote stories for the school paper that earned him a position of esteem among his fellow students. He partied hard but kept his grades up, and then married a girl as high spirited as he was. Together, they left school early and made their way to the nation's capital, where the farm boy got a job with a big city paper. In the years that followed, they traveled the country, meeting the great and the simple alike, and writing stories that made them the envy of the common man.
Underneath the veneer, there was a dark side to Pyle's life, one that made his story, if the whole truth were to be told, more suitable for a cable television miniseries. First, the girl he married grew into a woman with severe mental illness that broke their relationship and opened the door to multiple extramarital affairs. Pyle himself seems to have battled depression and had trouble living in anything less than an exciting, constantly changing environment.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors