Forgotten Heroes of World War II: Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers; by Thomas E. Simmons

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review
Wear a helmet and tighten you flak jacket. 
Mr. Thomas E. Simmons is to be applauded for both his writing and his service to our country. He is a veteran and a historian. His book, Forgotten Heroes of WWII-Land, Sea, and Air, provides a forum for veterans of that era to vent their memories as painful as they are, for the first time ever in most cases. Simmons doesn't omit a single branch and brings every veteran he interviews into your home and heart. You can feel every story. Some are like a body blow.  Others are almost a knockout punch. Veterans who think they are the only ones who experienced the horror of war should read this, but read it carefully.

I appreciate Simmons' approach. Each is a stand-alone story. This book does not tie together a plot, but the theme is there in cement. It is just as heavy.  Historians will love the book, because it adds realism to reporting and recording the events of that massive undertaking. I respect the author's research and found the story he included about the Japanese medic to be compelling as well as tremendously insightful into the mind of America’s enemy in WWII. 

I recommend this book, but only for mature readers. That warning isn't about language. It is about realism shared in vivid terms. Read and be prepared for the shocking truth.         

MWSA Reviewer: Michael D. Mullins
 


Author's Synopsis
World War II was the defining event of the twentieth century. For everyone it was a time of confusion and fear, destruction and death on a scale never before seen. Much has been written of the generals, campaigns, and battles of the war, but it was young, ordinary American kids who held our freedom in their hands as they fought for liberty across the globe. Forgotten Heroes of World War II offers a personal understanding of what was demanded of these young heroes through the stories of rank-and-file individuals who served in the navy, marines, army, air corps, and merchant marine in all theaters of the war. Their tales are told without pretense or apology. At the time, each thought himself no different from those around him, for they were all young, scared, and miserable. They were the ordinary, the extraordinary, the forgotten. Multiply their stories by hundreds of thousands, and you begin to understand the words of war correspondent Martha Gellhorn: "There are! those who received brief, poor, or no recognition, all those history leaves unmentioned, not because they are lesser but because they are too many." Recorded more than fifty years after the war, the stories in Forgotten Heroes of World War II were shared quietly, shyly, honestly, and often painfully by these extraordinary ordinary Americans. All of them begin with similar statements—"There’s really not much to tell. I was just there like everyone else. All I wanted to do was get home…" Each was uncomfortable for being singled out to speak of experiences he felt were common to so many others. None of these heroes see themselves as heroes. Indeed, the word seems to embarrass them. Yet they and thousands like them stood their watch and did their duty in spite of fear and danger. One by one they are leaving us. It will soon be too late to thank them. It will never be too late to remember what they did.