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Publisher's Summary

The stories of 15 combat veterans featured in this audiobook tell of the experiences of average Americans who fought US enemies on Pacific islands, in China, and in Burma during World War II. They relate much previously unavailable information about the military in which they served and the battles they fought. The possibility of death and permanent physical and mental injury was their common experience. This audiobook is a "must listen" for those who think they have learned all there is to know about World War II.
©2015 Norman Black (P)2015 Norman Black
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lisa B on 07-28-15

This book should be required listening in schools

This is the second of Norman Black's books I've listened to - see my other review for more details.

Truly I can't say enough good things about these books. This is not a rip-roaring Hollywood story where chisel-jawed superstars chew quirky cigars and call people by random nicknames. This is a collection of first-hand accounts of the reality of warfare directly from the mouths of the people who fought in battles, who lost friends, who saw bravery and cruelty close-up and somehow managed to live to tell the tale.

These audiobooks are not recounted like a storybook - and they are better for it - Kevin Spalding narrates the books excellently to bring to life the stream of consciousness that the various combatants gave up while being interviewed for their accounts of their experiences.

Honestly, these accounts should be preserved as historical documents - the style is more like PBS or a well-researched BBC documentary and pretty soon all the people involved in these conflicts will be gone and we'll allow ourselves to gradually forget what they went through and how completely, utterly brutal the times they lived in were. It sounds like hyperbole to say they should be a part of the public archives but I assure you they really should be.

Listening to the matter-of-fact narratives from the guys (combatants in that era were almost exclusively male) who describe such wonderful normality of life prior to enlistment juxtaposed by such truly humbling descriptions of what they went through. Really, I thought I knew a fair bit about this time in world history but to hear these men speak of the real horror of war, of the people they lost, the almost throw-away lines line "and then a sniper shot him through the head not more than three feet away from me" is just an eye-opener.

Included in these accounts is that of the well-known journalist Norman Hatch who was famously photographed feeding a small cat water by the tracks of a tank. To hear his own words covering the background of not just this well-published photo but also how he got to be there in the first place along with his gritty experiences of so many things that he saw and could not unsee should be enough in itself for you to get this book...but if that's the only reason then you're going to be pleased to find that there is so much more to this comprehensive collection of reality and testaments from real people who went through hell and came out the other side.

I received this audiobook as a gift from Kevin Spalding after I mentioned how much I liked the other book in the series by Norman Black. Don't let that put you off - my praise for this audiobook is completely genuine. It's definitely worth your time. If I'd not liked the book there was no requirement for me to leave a review - but in fact I think an accurate review in this case is completely required, for the memories of these men, for the things they saw.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Rebecca on 09-19-17

Great stories/ terrible narrator

These stories were excellent. They really provided a broad view of all the different jobs and experiences of the men that served in the pacific, but sadly I could barely appreciate them because of the terrible narrator. I appreciate that the reader is a decorated service member but he has the absolute wrong tone for this book. The stories contain such raw and powerful imagery and he reads them in this strange happy aww shucks kind of way. Not only that, but each man he reads with the same voice until they all blend together and it's hard to remember each mans story from the last. I've read a lot of great books on this subject and this is one I would recommend to read and not listen to

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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