Between Tedium and Terror: A Soldier's World War II Diary, 1943-45

Sy M. Kahn, Author, Ronald H. Spector, Author University of Illinois Press $26.95 (363p) ISBN 978-0-252-01858-9
Kahn's diary marvelously captures the daily grind and abrupt excitements of the war, and from an unusual angle. A bespectacled, cultured young New Yorker of delicate sensibilities (``I was infinitely more comfortable with a book or violin in my hands than I was with a rifle''), he was assigned to the 244th Port Company of the Army Transportation Corps and spent much of the war engaged in the backbreaking labor of loading and unloading combat cargo ships. Far from being ``in the rear with the gear,'' however, he was often near the cutting edge of military operations in the Pacific as the 244th delivered supplies to Marines or GIs fighting at Cape Gloucester, Holandia, Biak and the Philippines. Kahn also took part in the early months of the occupation of Japan and provides interesting observations on this transition period between war and peace. His diary is special not so much for its depiction of warfare (although there's plenty of that), but as a chronicle of a sensitive young soldier's journey toward maturity. The book continuously engages as it reveals Kahn's distinctive personality and outlook. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-252-06908-6
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