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More kudos for Humphrey

In his history of the 99th Division in World War II, “Once Upon a Time in War,” Robert Humphrey has brought into being a marvel of recreating the events and feelings that we GIs experienced in those distant days of exuberant youth. I served as a bazooka carrier for L Company, 395th Infantry regiment, and I can attest to the veracity, dedication and enthusiasm with which Humphrey, as a talented historian, reconstructs the history of our division.

From the accounts of my days as a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Humphrey faithfully follows our journey from college, to basic training at Camp Wolters TX, to our ASTP days at John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville TX, to our incorporation into the 99th Division at Camp Maxey TX, to England and on to Germany.

What Humphrey has done with this book is to collate the experiences of all of us in the enormously difficult task of emerging with the composite picture of the events of more than 60 years ago. Individually we lived within a very restricted area of personal experience. Humphrey has woven all our disparate memories together into a remarkably colorful fabric. He has neither glamorized the journey of the 99th Division, nor does he completely demonize our collective experiences. His story reads almost like a diary, since it consists to a great extent of accounts from the GIs themselves. It emerges as one of the most explicit accounts of the chaos and sufferings of infantry warfare. At the end of his story he tells of the homecoming of the 99ers – how they returned to their hometowns amidst jubilation, adulation, gratitude and in some instances, with indifference and even hostility. He pulls no punches in his gripping account.

We veterans are grateful to Robert Humphrey for his interest in hearing our perceptions of life in the 99th Infantry Division during World War II. We congratulate him for his success in bringing those perceptions to life in his remarkable book.

Louis Pedrotti L/395
638 Via La Paloma
Riverside CA 92507

Last modified May 18, 2009

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