For the soldier on the front lines of World War II, a lifetime of terror and suffering could be crammed into a few horrific hours of combat. This was especially true for members of the 99th Infantry Division who repelled the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge and engaged in some of the most dramatic, hard-fought actions of the war.
Once Upon a Time in War presents a stirring view of combat from the perspective of the common soldier. Author Robert E. Humphrey personally retraced the path of the 99th through Belgium and Germany and conducted extensive interviews with more than 300 surviving veterans.
When Humphrey discovered that many 99ers had gone to their graves without telling their stories, he set about to honor their service and coax recollections from survivors. The memories recounted here, many of them painful and long repressed, are remarkable for their clarity. These narratives, seamlessly woven to create a collective biography, offer a gritty reenactment of World War II from the enlisted man’s point of view.
Although focused on a single division, Once Upon a Time in War captures the experiences of all American GIs who fought in Europe. For readers captivated by Band of Brothers, this book offers an often tragic, sometimes heartwarming, but always compelling read.
Volume 18 in the Campaigns and Commanders series
Robert E. Humphrey is Professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Sacramento. He has published numerous articles in The Checkerboard, the newspaper for the 99th Infantry Division, and is author of Children of Fantasy: The First Rebels of Greenwich Village, 1910-1920.