Book Reveals Personal Side of War History Shared in Soldiers’ Letters
Were soldiers scared in combat? What did “no-man’s land” look like? What did it feel like to be on a bombing run? Many traditional accounts of the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II fall short of answering these questions because they focus more on logistical and statistical history than on the kind of personal history shared when a soldier writes home.
Answers can be found in a new paperback edition of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press’s, Letters from the Front, 1898-1945 (Paperback, Retail $15.95) edited by Michael E. Stevens and first published in 1992. Here, ordinary men and women – American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and nurses – reveal the thoughts and worries they had, and experiences they endured, in the letters they wrote during war.
The book explores how three wars (the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II) changed the day-to-day lives of Wisconsin men and women and reveals the emotions they felt in uniform, in remote outposts, in combat, and even in prison camps.
Not only do the first-person narratives in “Letters from the Front” provide a social history of adaptation to military life, but they also document the changes that occurred over the half-century encompassing these conflicts, an era of immense technological innovation – and one in which America’s vision of itself also changed as it achieved the status of a great world power.
“Letters from the Front” puts faces and names to war in a way that many other military histories simply cannot and in doing so preserves unique war memories that cannot and should not be forgotten.
Media: For review copies of the book or more information, please contact Kristin Gilpatrick, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State St., Madison, Wis. 53706; (608) 264-6465; email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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