cover image Drawing Fire: A Pawnee, Artist, and Thunderbird in World War II

Drawing Fire: A Pawnee, Artist, and Thunderbird in World War II

Brummett Echohawk, with Mark R. Ellenbarger. Univ. Press of Kansas, $29.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-7006-2703-5

Bronze Star recipient Echohawk narrates key episodes of his time with the 45th U.S. Infantry Division (“the Rock of Anzio”) in Sicily and Italy, with reproduced sketches and notes originating from the field. This honest and beautiful memoir begins with the division’s botched landing in Anzio and focuses on days of close combat and frequent confusion familiar to so many GIs in the European theater. Echohawk’s detailed drawings capturing the humanity, fear, and relentless bravery of his fellow division members on spare paper were noticed first by his superior officers, who assigned him to gather intelligence, and then by a visiting entertainer, who helped him get them published in international newspapers, leading to his postwar career as an artist. The division, nicknamed the Thunderbirds, included numerous members of various Native American tribes, who used traditional skills to track and hide; Echohawk movingly recalls the language and warrior traditions he and his fellow Native soldiers followed—and, in one episode, humorously recalls fake ones they invented to intimidate insolent German captives. This excellent and fascinating account is a unique contribution to the literature of WWII. Illus. [em](Oct.) [/em]