Academic journal article Military Review

The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II

Academic journal article Military Review

The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II

Article excerpt

THE DEADLY BROTHERHOOD: The American Combat Soldier in World War 11 by John C. McManus. 353 pages. Presidio Press, Novato, CA. 1998. $28.95.

Do you want to know what the World War 11 foot soldier felt and how he fought? What he ate and how he liked it? What his life was like during periods when he was not in combat? The Deadly Brotherhood goes a long way toward answering such questions.

To capture the life and feelings of an ordinary rifleman during World War 11, John C. McManus uses data gleaned from memoirs of and questionnaires from participants. He also used information from the archives of the Special Collections Library and the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the holdings of the US Army Military History Institute at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The book covers the entire picture-- what weapons the soldiers fired, how they felt toward leaders, how they felt about German and Japanese adversaries, what it was like to become a casualty and how the replacement system worked.

The last chapter sums up this vast array of information. Throughout the dangerous experience of combat, the primary motivation to endure was devotion to one's comrades. It was the "brotherhood" that carried these men through the worst of times.

Each chapter contains a wealth of supporting comments. This approach produces an extreme degree of authenticity, but sometimes one feels he is reading an encyclopedia of combat reaction. …

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