Echoes from the Infantry: A Novel
Author: Frank Nappi
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 256 pages
Frank Nappi is a school teacher on Long Island who, over the last several years, befriended aging World War II veterans in his community. As he heard their reminiscences he became absorbed in their stories of simple heroism--and of trying to recapture what they'd left behind when they returned home. They are the stories of men who never asked for recognition or adulation, only a place in the free and prosperous society they'd built with their own blood, sweat and tears--men who could never entirely leave behind the horrors of the battlefield, or explain them to their own children . . .
Now, Nappi has synthesized those reminiscences and crafted them into a heartwarming and at times harrowing novel: Echoes from the Infantry. It is the fictionalized tale of one Long Island veteran, the misery of combat, and the powerful emotional bond that connected him to his fiancée back home and that allowed him to survive the war with his soul battered but intact.
It is about a father and a son, and their ultimately redeeming struggle to understand the worlds that shaped each one--one a world at war, the other a world shaped by its veterans.
MWSA 2006 Silver Medal Award for Literary Fiction
Insightful Tale of a WWII Infantryman. This is not just some simplistic WWII genre novel about war and battles; “Echoes From The Infantry” is a first class story of human relationships told by a writer who knows how to weave feelings, dialog and action successfully together! Author Frank Nappi takes the reader through the heart as well as the mind with his story. Father and son relationship issues surface as does the issue of PTSD (although not called that back in WWII).
This book is so much more than a war novel, although there is plenty of action. The book explores the deeper recess of the characters and gives them real substance. They feel like real people facing the horrors of war and the problems of readjusting to family life in peace time.
What makes this story even better, is the fact that the author crafted his storylines and even parts of some of his characters from real men that he knew. His experiences and eventual friendship with several WWII veterans gave birth to the idea of his book. He had invited these men over the years to his classroom to talk about their experiences to his students. The results of those class talks and visits inspired him to create a story loosely based on what they had gone through.
This book is destined to become a war classic. The issues that Frank Nappi talks about are things that are still fresh issues with today’s troops. The way he reminiscences and unfolds the story is pure gold. Nappi is destined to find great success writing; as his talents become very clear when you have the honest pleasure of reading through the pages of his book. The author honestly conveys the emotions and feelings of his characters with little effort. The energy of his tale flows emotionally though his book. It feels like you are taken on a journey of the heart, as well as an adventure.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2006)