In his mid-nineties, Roger Boas penned a memoir of his World War II experiences. Battle Rattle relates the author’s war journey as a forward observer in the Fourth Armored Division under General Patton.
Boas, of Jewish descent, was raised a Christian Scientist. Both his heritage and his faith led him down the path he followed. This Jewish boy would be one of the first American soldiers to enter a Nazi concentration camp. I appreciated the honesty with which Boas approached this and other defining moments in his life. Rather than painting himself a hero, Boas opened his heart and soul to the reader, reliving his mistakes, regrets, and guilt.
Even before he shipped to Europe, we know his strengths and weaknesses. He shows us his family life through letters he wrote home as he grew from an innocent, untested boy into a soldier trained for war.
After his first encounter with German soldiers in which he pulled the trigger first, he writes: “The outrageousness of war struck me hard, even if I didn’t fully process it at the time, and has remained with me ever since.”
If you’re looking for a non-sugarcoated version of a soldier’s life, Battle Rattle is a must read. The author’s willingness to reveal his own character brings an added layer of depth to an often told story. His recollection of seventy-years-plus old details is amazing.
MWSA Reviewer: Pat Avery
“The war has changed me in ways that will take the better part of my life to understand, let alone make peace with,” begins Roger Boas in his thoughtful, compelling account of World War II. As part of the Fourth Armored Division, he found himself at the spearhead of the Allied thrust into Europe. His memoir re-creates both the tension of the battlefield and the camaraderie behind the front line. It also relates his harrowing experience as a Jew of being one of the first American soldiers to discover a Nazi concentration camp. Boas reveals the powerful impact of war on those who fight.