The Story of Ernie Pyle

The Story of Ernie Pyle

The Story of Ernie Pyle

The Story of Ernie Pyle

Excerpt

It was an extraordinary thing, and it may seem an incredible one some day after all of Ernie Pyle's contemporaries have made their exits, but it is true that the life and work of this newspaperman had an enormous impact on millions of Americans. No other journalist ever evoked such mass affection as was accorded him during his meager tenure as a national figure.

There was, of course, a reason for this. He bridged a gap in our knowledge of the great war and of the men who were waging it--a gap of which we were not actively conscious until his reporting began to span it. Many others were as enterprising, as brave, as impeccably accurate in their war dispatches as he; none told the story of the soldier with such insight and such moving, though unmawkish, sympathy. And his personality so permeated his column, as it had done in peacetime with a smaller audience, that readers came to think of him not as a stranger, but as their friend, their friend Ernie.

In this book his professional writings are quoted only fragmentarily, since the best of them are available in five works of his own--Ernie Pyle in England, Here Is Your War, Brave Men, Last Chapter, and Home Country, all of which were assembled from his daily newspaper pieces. What follows draws more heavily on his private correspondence, in some of which may be discerned the processes of soul-searching that made him so intuitive a recorder of the nobilities and frailties of other men.

I come to the stand, in this chronicle of his life, as a biased witness, since he was my friend for more than twenty years, during the greater part of which he worked under me. It may be that . . .

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