Alan's Letters, by Nancy E. Rial

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Alan’s Letters is both history and life, a rare combination that allows one to literally walk in the shoes of a soldier who served during World War ll in the 5th. Infantry Division. The story combines letters written home by Alan Lowell with the researched history of the events that both surrounded and consumed a young man.

We tend to think much has been written about that war, yet, there are hundreds of battles, some with no names we would recognize that occurred and resulted in thousands of casualties. These men and women were our heroes, no less important than the names we recognize from history books and movies.

By combining historical records with actual letters written home as Alan went from raw recruit to seasoned veteran one feels and sees the subtle changes that occur in a young man exposed to the horror that is war. War leaves scars on and in the survivors to bear, and tear filled memories for family members to endure. 

Alan was killed in action in November of 1944. His dreams and aspirations left unfinished, his story uncovered by his niece in the letters he wrote home. 

This book is worth reading as it allows a personal look inside the life of a soldier rarely seen in the books we read or the history we are taught and opens a window for authors to pursue in their writing of this and other wars that will add a personal touch we all will find easy to identify with. The author expressed that she sees it more of a social studies interest, I agree, but it is clearly more intimate as well. You will not be able to read it without finding yourself identifying with Alan and the authors loss

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2011)

Author's Synopsis

This is a personal chronicle of a teen soldier in WWII from basic training to his adventures across northern France on the front lines as a member of the Fifth Division, part of Patton's Third Army. Using all primary sources from the historical period, the book is attractively designed in beautiful color. The letters from Alan to his family represent all the young soldiers' voices when he expresses a yearning for a normal life again and appreciation of all that he has had as a youth growing up in America. For young adults and up.