G.I.: The American Soldier in World War II

Lee Kenneth, Author
Lee Kenneth, Author Scribner Book Company $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-18491-3
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
Based partly on interviews, letters and memoirs, G.I. is a group portrait of an army that was ""in a sense the nation itself, an authentic slice of American society with all its many layers.'' Kennett, history professor at the University of Georgia, offers an accurate description of the soldiers' experience, from induction and training, the journey to the combat zone and baptism of fire, their attitudes and behavior as liberator, conquerer and, finally, as tourist. The U.S. Army in World War II was the best-fed, best-dressed, best-equipped army in the world, and Kennett describes in detail the G.I.'s reaction to C-rations, uniform dress and the M1 rifle. He also discuses such broader issues as combat fatigue, segregation and the effect of the G.I. on Europe's shattered economy. As Kennett points out, G.I. Joe was a different breed from the doughboy of the First World War. Readers will find no better portrait of the new breed than in these pages. Photos. (March 30)
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