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The Other Veterans of World War II

Stories from Behind the Front Lines

Rona Simmons (author)

ISBN: 9781606353981

Publication Date: Apr 2020

Format: Hardback

Compiling the stories of noncombat veterans, Rona Simmons follows them as they report for service, complete their training, and ship out to stations thousands of miles from home. She shares their dreams to see combat and their disappointment at receiving noncombat positions, as well as the young men and women's selflessness and yearning for home.
£29.95

Temporarily out of stock: usually despatched in 10-14 days

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The untold stories of troops serving miles away from front lines.

For decades, the dramatic stories of World War II soldiers have been the stuff of memoirs, interviews, novels, documentaries, and feature films. Yet the men and women who served in less visible roles, never engaging in physical combat, have received scant attention.

Convinced that their depiction as pencil pushers, grease monkeys, or cowards was far from the truth, Rona Simmons embarked on a quest to discover the real story from the noncombat veterans themselves. She sat across from 19 veterans or their children, read their letters and journals, looked at photos, and touched their mementos: pieces of shrapnel, a Japanese sword, a porcelain tea set, a pair of wooden shoes, a marquisette wedding gown.

Compiling these veterans' stories, Simmons follows them as they report for service, complete their training, and often ship out to stations thousands of miles from home. She shares their dreams to see combat and disappointment at receiving noncombat positions, as well as their selflessness and yearning for home. Ultimately, Simmons finds the noncombat veterans had far more in common with the front line soldiers than differences.

Simmons's extensive research gives us a more complete picture of the war effort, bringing long-overdue appreciation for the men and women whose everyday tasks, unexpected acts of sacrifice, and faith and humor contributed mightily to the ultimate outcome of World War II.

Reviews

"Over half the Americans who served in World War II served in noncombat roles, yet few among us know anything about these men and women. Their stories have not been told, their praises have not been sung. Rona Simmons brings a fresh eye to the war, drawing back the curtain on these unheralded service members, bringing their war experience to light. Through their own words and recollections, we learn of their not so different hopes, fears, determination, and pride. Painstakingly researched and compellingly told, The Other Veterans of World War II is a fine addition to the World War II bookshelf." – Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, 1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls, The Aviators, and The Allies

"The Other Veterans of World War II is an essential addition to the library of every student of that defining twentieth-century event. Beautifully written, the book weaves firsthand accounts, critical contextual information, and 'the rest of the story' postscripts to tell the stories of Americans who served in non-combat roles during the war. Simmons highlights the often overlooked contributions of the millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Merchant Mariners who made combat possible. For those of us who collect, preserve, and share the stories of our nation's veterans, the most common refrain we hear from these men and women is, 'I didn't do anything important.' Simmons's book proves that statement false." –Sue VerHoef, Director of Oral History and Genealogy, Atlanta History Center

Pages 240
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Apr 2020
Publisher The Kent State University Press
Subject/s Biography & True Stories   Second World War  
Rona Simmons has written both novels and works of historical fiction. She coauthored Images from World War II, celebrating the art of WWII veteran and artist Jack Smith. The daughter of a World War II fighter pilot herself, she is proud to honor veterans and their stories through her work. Her stories, articles, and interviews have appeared in regional and national literary journals and online magazines.

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