Engrossing account of a '90 day wonder' officer's experience from Normandy to Bavaria,
This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
George Wilson's memoir of his experiences during World War Two is a well written and very readable one that draws the reader in and puts one in the boots of green US Army infantry officer during 1944-45. In my opinion it is also vitally importantly historically as it tells a story that could be told hundreds of thousands of times, that of citizen soldier caught up in the maelstrom of WW2, that of the men who freed Europe. Wilson found it within himself to overcome the horrors around him to grow as a competent and skilful leader of men and we are in the front seat as we see his transformation under fire, often loosing his men around him but never his humanity.
The text is well paced and never gets too bogged down in minor details which would detract from its chatty and easy to understand tone. Wilson writes in a humble and down to earth manner and one can clearly see the pride, care and concern he showed for all his men under his command. At the same time Wilson offers insightful criticism of how the US Army persecuted the war during his time in combat (the lack of training and inequality of promotions are particularly troubling) whilst showing his admiration for the NCOs (who held the infantry units together) and some of his senior commanders at battalion, regimental and division level.
Overall this is a very worthwhile read and a valuable insight into the experiences of a generation which won't be with us for much longer. Every one of them should be thanked for their super human efforts during Europe's darkest hour and this book goes a great distance in retelling the horrors they endured. Normal men like George Wilson made the 4th Infantry Division (and others like it) the famous unit it became, it goes to show that in WW2 you didn't always need to look in Airborne or Marine units for competent and dedicated leaders. Down with the doggies in the infantry draftees like Lt Wilson were wearing down the Nazis village by village and hill by hill. Our generation could never live up to their sacrifices... If only they could all tell their stories like George Wilson. A must read.