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Willie & Joe: The WWII Years [Paperback]

Todd DePastino Bill Mauldin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 28.99
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Book Description

30 Jun 2011
During WWII, the closest most Americans ever came to combat was through the cartoons of Bill Mauldin, the most beloved enlisted man in the US Army. This new paperback edition of the 2008 hardback box set brings together Mauldin's complete works from 1940 through to the end of the war in one volume. The collection of over 600 cartoons, most never reprinted, is more than the record of a great artist: it is an essential chronicle of America's citizen-soldiers from peace through war to victory.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: FANTAGRAPHICS; Reprint edition (30 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606994395
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606994399
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 20.3 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Up to their necks 29 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Up to their necks in S**t and bullets the humour & pathos of two American Soldiers out on the front in WWII, well produced book the printing is fine & of good quality, recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good 21 Jan 2013
By Nuno
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good book about the wwii years, with history about bill mauldin, same explanations about the book and some complaints about the morale of this book, read by the front soldiers, a complaint by Patton himself in letter.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  46 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soldiers opinion 2 Jun 2008
By Eric Galgay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a veteran of the army (1st Bn 75 Inf ) I could relate to the situations that Willie and joe found themselves in.The humor that soldiers see in different situations can be appreciated by soldiers and civilians alike. Mr. Mauldin illustrates these situations very well and has clever captions to go with them. If you ever wondered what army life is like or want to remember some of the situations you as a soldier were in, then take a look at these two books. If you enjoy them half as much as I do then you will be very happy you bought them. Happy reading.
"Rangers Lead The Way"
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mauldin Fans Rejoice! 18 May 2008
By R. Stolzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent set of books, with a wonderful and informative introduction by Todd DePastino. The reproduction quality of Mauldin's cartoons is quite good, especially considering the original source material in some cases. One can tell that this was a true labor of love. To see everything in one place is a real treat. Thank you Fantagraphics and Todd DePastino!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your WW2-101 continues with this book set! 1 July 2009
By Robert Badgley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you know anything of World War Two,or you want to know,this two-volume set is a must have to add to your library.No,there are no battles to see or learn about or long winded dissertations on this general or that leader.Instead it is a most pleasant excursion into what it is like to be in the military/battle from the viewpoint of the ordinary soldier.Let's make it clear,the author of these "excursions" was first and foremost a soldier like every other,except he had a talent,a prediliction if you will,to see the humour in the world about him.Thankfully others saw his talents also and let him engage them and us with his comments on the human condition through his remarkable series of cartoons.
This set is in two volumes and the first one contains an opening mini-bio of Mauldin by Todd Depastino, who also wrote a more detailed biography in "Life Up Front",a few years ago.This sets the tone and gives you a nice heads up on the man himself and what is to come.Volume one says it goes from 1940-1943 but technically it starts in 1938 and one cartoon from Mauldin's high school days.The material through to late 1940 are cartoons he did for "Arizona Highways".From then on it's miltary life all the way; basic training until shipping overseas in late 1943.Volume Two picks up where One left off in late 1943 where he is in North Africa.He then moves into Europe via Italy and France where it ends mid-to late 1945 as the troops re-enter civilian life.
As the author points out in the beginning these cartoons are all the ones of this period that they have been able to find.There may be more that surface in the future and those will be included in any amended editions.What we have here however is an overwhelmingly fantastic and unique collection of cartoons that are not to be missed,with some extremely rare items conatined herein.
Each volume measures 10"X8"x1 1/4".Each front and back cover are covered in khaki green with the feel of real material.Each one has printing designed to look military in appearance and Volume one features an embossed picture of one of Mauldins' most famous characters Willie on the cover,while Volume Two has his famous counterpart Joe.The big slipcase that both these volumes fit into are likewise khaki green with that same real material feel and military look and have embossed on the front cover both Willie and Joe.
There were many writers and cartoonists throughout WW2 that brought home the realities of the serviceman and their struggles within and without that most terrible conflict.Bill Mauldin was a most notable standout in the cartoon dpeartment while his counterpart in the writing department could be said to be Ernie Pyle.Reading any of these men's works will give you more understanding of the realities of war than 100 volumes by anyone else.As an aside,Mauldin upon hearing of Pyle's death in the Pacific published a very poignant cartoon in his honour,which is reprinted in this set.
Speaking of reprinting,I mentioned in my past review of the reprint edition of Mauldin's popular war time book "Up Front",that I found some of the cartoons reprinted in there to be less than accurate in detail when compared to the original volume(which I also possess).I said also that I was looking forward to seeing and comparing the original "Up Front" with THIS set to see if the accuracy was maintained here.And I can tell you that from what I can tell it happily has; it has passed the litmus test with flying colours.My comparison benchmark was a cartoon with Joe(Pg77,Vol#2) standing in front of a little girl readying for chow,with small pail in her hand looking up at him.The reprint "Up Front" took away the scratches and his bedraggled appearance thus reducing the punch and effect.The reprint in this set darkens the cartoon while thankfully keeping everything else as it should.
The publishers,Fantagraphic books in Seattle,Washington,should be VERY proud of the job they have done here in their reprinting of Mauldin's historic works along with author Todd DePastino.The set is precious for its' historic value concerning both WW2 and the art of cartooning.It is a must have for all collectors of these genres and without reservations deserves an honoured place in their libraries.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From New Mexico To Germany 12 Nov 2010
By Philip S. Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
From the oilve drab volumes that resemble Quartermaster's records books, to the most complete collection of cartoons of Willie & Joe (along with many friends and enemies.) This is the edition that we have all been waiting for. There are over 600 cartoons featured in these two wonderful books that tell the tale of our nation's two greatest Dogfaces...Willie & Joe. From a cartoon lifted from the Phoenix Union High School newspaper of 1938 to their return to New York City in July 1945, this is the largest collection of Bill Mauldin's cartoon work of the wartime adventures of Willie & Joe, that has ever been compliled into one crowning set.

This is an evolution of Bill Mauldin and where he was from 1940 until returning back to the USA in the summer of 1945 as a very different person than he was just five years earlier. Arizona, Chicago, Oklahoma, (now in an Army uniform) Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and finally into Germany. Bill, indeed got around as much or more than Willie & Joe did, many thousands of miles of mud and dirt was logged by all of these soldiers. The entire time Bill was moving, training and getting into trouble he was documenting everything around him that morphs into these wonderful cartoons of Army life during the nation's biggest War ever fought. The style of this cartoon master changes within the pages of this book as Bill was changing from a boy to a seasoned Veteran that was in the middle of the big show.

There is an 18 page biography about Bill's experiences of this period where he was one of the most popular enlisted men in the world. The rest of these 600+ pages are devoted to the cartoons that made him such a famous young man so quickly. There is as much good ol' fashion American spirit as history found within the pages of these two volumes of art. And this is quite glorious to see presented in such a fine manner. These books were produced with heart and two tons of research by the editors.

Of all that sing the praises of Bill Mauldin's cartoon works from Dwight D. Eisenhower to the fantastic author Stephen E. Ambrose, I'd like to add my two cents worth and say that: "Up Front" was one of the earliest books I ever saw and enjoyed (and I could hardly read the words as I was still in Kindergarden at the time) and Bill was one of the main reasons I started to enjoy books as a part of my life. Bill Mauldin, is important to my life, and this document of his wartime experiences is a great piece of American Folk Art, that anybody will enjoy. This is a fantastic set of great cartoon history.
My highest rating,
Five Stars!!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece 23 July 2010
By Michael Horn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My dad was a WWII veteran and I myself am an Army retiree. I grew up with my dad's voice singing the praises of the two timeless WWII Gi's, "Willie and Joe", their equipment, fellow soldiers, leaders and wartime circumstances. The infantrymen of WWII bore the brunt of the fighting, suffering and dying, and this is an earthly, sympathetic editorial in pictures of the empathy Mauldin had for them. A masterful tribute.

Looking thru the first volume, it was fascinating to see Mauldin 'grow' as he and the war both matured. For all the 'glory' there is in war, Bill got the other parts of it ever so right. No fan of the brass - he did a fair job of keeping many of his own views out of the artwork and minimal text. The best of his best will endure the sands of time to portray that generation of soldiers for posterity.

Bill Mauldin has penned a masterpiece that he spent the rest of his life trying to duplicate - but in my humble opinion, with only momentary successes. My father, like most WWII veterans has passed to his great reward - and I also am near retirement from my second career - my military career ended after 27 years in 1996. This set of books honors my dad and all of his generation who kept us free.

I'm unapoligetic as to my fondness for great military memorabilia - and this two volume, high quality publication graces the coffee table of our living room where we entertain. We have many other books for conversation - but this tops the favorites list of my generation of friends and older individuals who we respect and treasure.

My biggest fear is that this collection may be lost on future generations as the wounds and exploits of WWII are fading in the non-teaching of history to our children. The valor and sacrifice of my father's generation already has gone into the shadows of our current culture. It is so sadly apparent - my own children have vague recollections of Bill Mauldin and only glimpses of WWII in their memory based on my own military career. My grandchildren are clueless .. and unless exposed to this set of books or any history in school (fat chance?) they will forever stay that way. Sigh... Not so much the glory of war - but the sacrifice our society maintained to be free.

This book remains a memorial to all who served and the families who suffered and waited for their return.
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