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5.0 out of 5 starsReview of Sample Narratives from Norman Black's "Combat Veterans' Stories of World War II, Vols. I & II
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2015
The stories are personal, recalled with great detail, despite the many years. If you are looking for the big picture, for some type of strategic overview, this is not the book. But if instead it is the tactical level you seek, you will be well rewarded. For here is the individual soldier's view of things, a view extending no further than the operations of the platoon, or at best, the company. In Volume I, for example, you will learn about "Blackie," the Tech 4 who became a 3-Day captain of a tank platoon during the battle of Rheinberg. His platoon lost 39 of 75 members and all its tanks in a single day's fighting for the fact it ignored previously learned doctrine, believing the enemy was already defeated. In Volume II, you will learn of a Marine Private First Class who took over as a company commander during the Battle of Okinawa, because all the officers had either died or were incapacitated, and he was the most senior and experienced enlisted member. His simple words can teach us something through the ages, as when in his simple drawl he points out it was not the medals that inspired good men to valor, for the medal is "not the measure of the man, it's what he can do when the job needs to be done." I must point out that it is the expert reading of these narratives that help bring them to life, and I gladly recommend these audiotapes to anyone interested in the subject matter.