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Military Writers Society of America book review of "The Road to War"

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by steven.burgauer, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. steven.burgauer

    steven.burgauer Member

    Oct 21, 2016
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    [SIZE=medium]Military Writers Society of America’s[/SIZE] review of

    [SIZE=medium]The Road to War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture[/SIZE], by Steven Burgauer

    [SIZE=medium]In The Road to War, author Steven Burgauer weaves a cohesive representation of the diaries of Captain William C. Frodsham, Jr., an Army Officer and POW camp survivor of World War II.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]The book’s subtitle, Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture, is aptly named: From December 8, 1941 — the day after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor — to August 9, 1945, we accompany Captain Frodsham through his call to duty, basic training, Officers Candidate School, deployment to the European theater of war, Omaha Beach, skirmishes through French hedgerows, capture by the Germans, life in various stalags in Poland, liberation by the Russians, and his return home.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]Having visited the D-day landing beaches several times myself, Captain Frodsham’s memoir offers me a front-row seat to the experiences of a very real soldier on that beach. I find it humbling.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]In the early stages of the Captain’s memoirs, the reader sees him as an enthusiastic recruit, an ace at almost all of his training, and a cocky young man. As the war progresses and he has still not seen combat duty, he looks forward to deployment overseas. A good section of the book is dedicated to “Drill” and explains his various assignments and posts. Perhaps a bit too much, but it is tolerable.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]The Captain mellows the closer he gets to actual battle, and his cockiness dissipates as he faces the brutal reality of loss of some of his men, injury, blood, and capture. His descriptions of life as a Prisoner of War (POW) are also quite interesting and made me appreciate the work of the Red Cross more than I had before I read the book.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]Insights into the military lives of officers vs. enlisted soldiers are offered, and to a reader such as myself who never served in the military, the stratified structure of military life is quite revealing. Most of the time, military terms are explained throughout the book, although there are a few instances where I had to look up some things. I wished for a cheat sheet to look up the differences among squad, platoons, companies, brigades, regiments, and so on. There was a reference to a specific bureaucratic form, too, and I had to research it. There was a minor copyediting error or two, and reading the text on the photos was difficult.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]These are minor inconveniences, however, because Mr. Burgauer’s book is highly engaging, and it is a memoir worth reading for its insights into human altruism, courage under fire, and adaptability to extremely difficult situations. It flows well, and is both enlightening and heartfelt.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]Reading it, I found author Burgauer constructed a window into Captain Frodsham’s psyche and soul.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]by Patricia Walkow, MWSA Reviewer, February 20, 2017[/SIZE]


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