One of the most interesting ways to learn about a particular event in history is to talk with people who have lived during that particular time period. Talking with family members who were alive during the Depression, I have been fascinated to learn of their victory gardens, how their parents made a living during this economically difficult time, and the ways that their families cut costs to survive. It is much more engaging than just reading the dry details in a textbook.
I have friends whose fathers or grandfathers fought in World War II, and they have been enthralled by the stories they've been told. But, I don't have any family members that were in the war, and my children are therefore lacking that first-hand story-telling that would show the personal side of the war. Well, fortunately for all of us that are in that position, William McMurdie has put together an excellent book that gives that peek into one man's experience in World War II. Hey Mac! This is serious business! A guy could get killed! is Mr. McMurdie's story of fighting in the war. Included in the book are his letters home from the field, with his current reflections added. He includes a few photographs, and some hand-drawn maps. We especially enjoyed seeing the pictures - being able to see the uniforms, the surroundings, and the people make it all the more real.
I appreciate the matter-of-fact attitude that is exhibited throughout this book. This is not an over-glorification of war, but neither is it a slam against the United States' participation in the war. In the foreword, Richard H. Byers describes this as "a book that tells it like it was - without heroics - without exaggeration - and, above all, without complaining? Wm. McMurdie does an admirable job of telling what it was like to live in constant danger and almost unendurable wet and cold and yet to survive with his honor, integrity and modesty intact." What a recommendation!
We enjoyed this peek into Mr. McMurdie's experience as a soldier in World War II. Like having an evening with a favorite grandfather or great-uncle, this book is personal, engaging and enlightening. I highly recommend it.