Flight to Arras, by Antoine de Saint Exupéry – 1942 [Lewis Galantiere]

flight-to-arras-antoine-de-saint-exupery-lewis-galantiere-1942-19__-paul-bacon_edited-1Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit.

* * * * * * * * * *

I don’t think highly of physical courage.
Life has taught me that there is only one true kind of courage:
resisting the condemnation of a mode of thought.
I know that it took me much more courage
not to budge from the line of conduct my
conscience dictated to me,
despite two years of slander and insults,
than to photograph Mainz or Essen…

The Years of War, by Vasiliy S. Grossman – 1946 [Unknown Artist]

the-years-of-war-vassili-grossman-1946-1 the-years-of-war-vassili-grossman-1946-2_edited-1 grossman-vasily-ds-600 The attached document – Vasiliy Grossman’s Commendation for The Order of the Red Star (Ordenu Krasnaya Zvezda – Ордену Красная Звезда) , dated 9 December 1942, was obtained from the Podvig Naroda (Подвиг Народа – Feats of the People) website.  This document specifically mentions Grossman’s works “The People are Immortal,” “The Battle of Stalingrad”, “Stalingrad Crossing”, and “Stalingrad Story”.  The English translation of the award citation can be found here.

Grossman’s experiences, recollections, and reporting during the Battle of Stalingrad formed a central basis for the setting and characters in his postwar novel, Life and Fate.

For a deeper understanding of the life and works of Vasiliy Grossman, I strongly recommend The Bones of Berdichev – The Life and Fate of Vasily Grossman, by John Garrard and Carol Garrard (The Free Press, 1996), and A Writer At War – Vasily Grossman with the Red Army, 1941-1945, by Anthony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova (Pantheon Books, 2005).    

grossman-vasiliy-s-1a grossman-vasiliy-s-1b

Life and Fate, by Vasily Grossman -1980, 1987 [Christopher Zacharow]

life-and-fate-vasily-grossman-1985-1987-christopher-zacharow-newThe fate of many of them seemed so poignantly sad
that to speak of them in even the most tender, quiet, kind words
would have been like touching a heart torn open
with a rough and insensitive hand. 

It was really quite impossible to speak of them at all..

grossman109_edited-2But an invisible force was crushing him.
He could feel its weight, its hypnotic power;
it was forcing him to think as it wanted, to write as it dictated.
This force was inside him;
it could dissolve his will and cause his heart to stop beating;
it came between him and his family;
it insinuated itself into his past, into his childhood memories.
He began to feel that he really was untalented and boring,
someone who wore out the people around him with dull chatter.
Even his work seemed to have grown dull,
to be covered with a layer of dust;
the thought of it no longer filled him with light and joy.
Only people who have never felt such a force themselves
can be surprised that others submit to it.
Those who have felt it, on the other hand,
feel astonished that a man can rebel against it even for a moment
– with one sudden word of anger,
one timid gesture of protest.

Here Is Your War, by Ernie Pyle [Carol Johnson]

00 Here Is Your War - Ernie Plye - 1945 (Carol Johnson) 2(Forum Books Edition, 1945)

00 Here Is Your War - Ernie Pyle (1943) 1944 1(Pocket Books Edition, 1944 – front)

00 Here Is Your War - Ernie Pyle (1943) 1944 2

(Pocket Books Edition, 1944 – rear)

Here is Your War - 000 - Frontspiece 2


Here is Your War - 003 (Convoy to Africa) 2

Convoy to Africa (3)

Here is Your War - 004 (Convoy to Africa - Soldiers Aboard Ship) 2Convoy to Africa (4)

Here is Your War - 008 (Convoy to Africa - Soldiers Aboard Ship) 2

Convoy to Africa (8)

Here is Your War - 011 (Convoy to Africa) 2

Convoy to Africa (11)

Here is Your War - 025 (The Americans Have Landed) 2

The Americans Have Landed (25)

Here is Your War - 031 (Not Too Dark Africa) 2

Not Too Dark Africa (31)

Here is Your War - 036 (Not Too Dark Africa - Arab Family) 2

Not Too Dark Africa (Arab Family) (36)

Here is Your War - 054 (On The Land - MPs) 2

On The Land (MPs) (54)

Here is Your War - 065 (The Medical Front - Dentist Major Vaiden Kendrick) 2

The Medical Front (Major Vaiden Kendrick, Dentist) (65)

Here is Your War - 080 (In The Air) 2

In The Air (B-25 Mitchell Bomber) (80)

Here is Your War - 089 (In The Air - Fighter Pilots) 2

In The Air (Fighter Pilots) (89)

Here is Your War - 100 (In The Air) 2

In The Air (B-25 Mitchell Bomber) (100)

Here is Your War - 109 (Sherman Had a Word For It) 2

Sherman Had a Word For It (109)

Here is Your War - 113 (Sherman Had a Word For It - Bartering with Arabs) 2

Sherman Had a Word For It (Bartering With Arabs) (113)

Here is Your War - 121 (Sherman Had a Word For It) 2

Sherman Had a Word For It (121)

Here is Your War - 125 (Bullets, Battles, and Retreat) 2

Bullets, Battles and Retreat (125)

Here is Your War - 140 (Bullets, Battles, and Retreat) 2

Bullets, Battles and Retreat (140)

Here is Your War - 150 (Sidelights - Corporal Lester Gray, Chicago) 2

Sidelights (Corporal Lester Gray, Chicago) (150)

Here is Your War - 159 (Desert Sortie - French Soldier) 2

Desert Sortie (French Soldier) (159)

Here is Your War - 173 (Roving Reporters) 2

Roving Reporters (173)

Here is Your War - 177 (Roving Reporters - Sleeping Accomodations) 2

Roving Reporters (Sleeping Accommodations) (177)

Here is Your War - 183 (The End in Sight - Tunisia) 2

The End in Sight (Tunisia) (183)

Here is Your War - 184 (The End in Sight - Tunisia) 2

The End in Sight (Tunisia) (184)

Here is Your War - 188 (The End in Sight - Tunisia - German Cemetery) 2

The End in Sight (Tunisia – German Cemetery) (184)

Here is Your War - 191 (The End in Sight - Fighter Pilots) 2

The End in Sight (Fighter Pilots) (191)

Here is Your War - 196 (The End in Sight) 2

The End in Sight (196)

Here is Your War - 202 (The Final Push) 2

The Final Push (202)

Here is Your War - 224 (Victory - German POW) 2

Victory (German POW) (224)

Here is Your War - 228 (Victory - Entering Ferryville) 2

Victory (Entering Ferryville) (228)

Here is Your War - 234 (Victory - Jeep at Airfield) 2

Victory (Jeep at Airfield) (234)

Here is Your War - 237 (Victory - Tunisia) 2

Victory (Tunisia) (237)

Here is Your War - 241 (Victory) 2

Victory (241)


Hell in the Heavens, by Capt. John M. Foster, USMCR

Hell in the Heavens - John M Foster - 1961 - 1(Ace Giant Edition, 1961)

     While reading an old newspaper that afternoon, I heard a dull distant noise that sounded like a muffled explosion, but I didn’t pay any attention to it.

     “A plane went in – a plane went in,” someone yelled.

     I ran outside and jumped on the running board of a command car.  We drove down the taxi-strip toward the east.

     A tall column of black smoke funneled into the sky from fifty feet offshore.  We stopped and I stood on a coral boulder that provided a good view.

     “My hell” I exclaimed at the full scene.  Only fifty feet away a piece of metal showed above the water, burning with the flame of a gasoline and oil fire and sending the cloud of smoke skyward.  A propeller poked one of its blades above the surface of the burning water.  Farther out in the water and a few feet away, another part of an airplane was partly above the water.  There were five men pulling something out of the metal.

Hell in the Heavens - John M Foster - 1961 - Dedication_edited-2

(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Edition, 1961)

     They waded through chest-deep water with a body and carried it toward me.  It was the limp, still form of the pilot.  They carried him to within five feet of me.  I could see the face burned black, with its scorched remnants of a beard.  The white bones of the knuckles protruded from a blackened hand from which a glove had been partly burned off.  A steamy smell of charred hair and flesh came to me as they passed.

     The pilot was not dead when he was carried past me, amazing though it was that he could still be alive.  The doctors did all they could to maintain that spark of life and fan it into flame.  They injected adrenalin, administered oxygen and plasma.  Fifteen minutes later he died.

     The casualty list would rise by one tiny digit in the KILLED IN ACTION column.  In a few days his next of kin would receive a telegram informing them of that fact.  They would cry and feel very bad.  The neighbors would try to console them.  A funeral would be held with praying and singing and sentiments expressed – perhaps by someone who had never known him.

Hell in the Heavens - John M Foster - 1961 - 4(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Edition, Back Cover, 1961)

     A few lives would feel empty, as they had while he was away at college and out in the Pacific, fighting.  The father and mother and the sisters and the brothers would always remember him and regret that he had to die so young.  The sweetheart would be brokenhearted and hysterical.

     Time would pass and the family again would laugh at jokes and enjoy the dancing, the theatres and their fellow men; the sweetheart would find that someone else could matter.  She would marry, have children, and soon but faint remembrances of the pilot who died so young, so long ago, would remain.

     Very quickly in the lives of mankind all is forgotten.  All that remains is the record – DIED IN ACTION.

We Are of Clay, by 2 Lieut. Charles J. “Chick” Rainear [James C. McKell]


“They would not find me changed

from him they knew

Only more sure of all I thought was true.

– From Robert Frost


* * * * * * * * *

We Are of Clay - Charles J Rainear 1_edited-1


My life is at variance with my thoughts

Unsubdued by nature, yet struggling to get free.

All the world is verily a stage to me

I cannot turn but look, and then I’m caught.

* * * * * * * * *

We Are of Clay - Charles J Rainear 2L’Envoi

If you have courage, I have too,

And your strong mind I’ll lean upon

When the going’s rough –

You may be the many and I the few,

But faith in one’s enough.