Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Echoes from the Infantry, by Frank Nappi

James McClearly was like so many other men who went into battle during World War II- young, brave, and anxious to return to his sweetheart.  The sights and sounds of war change him, however.  He returns home to live his life, lucky to be alive and physically unmarred.  Yet he has war wounds too, wounds that, while unseen, will affect not only him, but his children, and possibly even their children.

This novel was an honest and eye opening view of the repercussions of war.  With modern military technology often putting a wide distance between soldiers and their enemies, we often forget that the enemies are human too, with families, dreams, desires.  In the past, when war meant more face to face combat, soldiers watched the life drain from the eyes of enemies and friends alike.  Those experiences had tremendous long term impact, as we see in the character of James.

James is well developed as a character, but his development occurs in a subtle way.  We see who he is, and how he became that person, not through descriptions, but through the life he has lived upon returning from the war.  We do not need James to wax poetic about his emotional pain; we instead see it firsthand in his relationship with his wife and children.  It is not until his wife is gone, and his children are grown, that anyone sees who James really is, and how the war affected him.  I think this story is common, and echoes the experiences of many baby boomer children.

I found the story compelling, and intimate in a way that was unexpected.  I really felt like I was able to understand the pain, not only of James, but of his whole family.  This story is really honest about how terrible experiences can leave a lasting impression on a man.

I received a review copy courtesy of Tribute Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.



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