The Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II

Charles Glass, Author
Charles Glass. Penguin Press, $27.95 (380p) ISBN 978-1-59420-428-9
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-00-747650-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-62460-567-3
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-0-14-312548-8
Hardcover - 978-0-00-750893-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-62064-925-1
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-0-00-734593-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-62460-249-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4829-4473-0
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ABC News correspondent Glass is to be commended for his take on WWII through the eyes of those who ran away from it. Nearly 150,000 British and American soldiers deserted the war; Glass follows three of them. Pvt. John Bain's brutal experience in a war-time prison as a deserter will make you question whatever moral authority the allies truly upheld, while Pvt. Steve Weiss's heroics behind German lines with the French resistance is as gripping as any Hollywood war epic. Except Weiss, upon returning to the front, walked away and spent the rest of the war doing hard labor. Finally, Pvt. Al Whitehead, a braggart, bully, and unreliable narrator, leaves battle less from psychological fatigue than for the riches of post-liberation Paris's black market; his gangster-in-uniform life an ignored and fascinating chapter of the period. Well-documented battle details will delight military enthusiasts but slow down the narrative. However, for readers who are not members of this "greatest" generation, Glass's history might be one of the best ways of relaying the experience of war: through the eyes of the young men who charged into the line of fire, gave up the ghost, and whose only reward was living to tell the tale. (June)
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