After watching Ken Burns’ The War I was struck by the commentary on the war from Ernie Pyle, so I checked out Ernie’s war : the best of Ernie Pyle’s World War II dispatches (1986) edited with a biographical essay by David Nichols. The reprinted columns show Ernie telling about the second World War from London during the blitz to the North Africa campaign, Sicily, Italy, the D-Day invasion and advancement across France, the liberation of Paris, and finally the Pacific campaign with the invasion of Okinawa. Pyle was killed by a sniper during the Pacific war shortly before the European war came to an end in April 1945.
Pyle offers an interesting, honest appraisal usually from the ground’s eye view of the war and the military fighting it. Pyle is particularly fond of the infantry but he moves around the different branches and units of the services to offer varied perspectives on the war. I can’t summarize the dispatches here but if you’re interested in a touching, honest, sometimes harrowing first-person account of WWII, I highly recommend reading this book, or at least parts of it.