Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Review: Willie and Joe--The WWII Years

I've always admired Bill_Mauldin's work, but I've only managed to read about the antics of "Willie and Joe" in a sporadic manner. 
Then, several weeks ago, I stumbled across a paperback copy of Willie and Joe--The WWII Years at Half Price Books for about $20.  I almost didn't buy it.  This hefty tome of life-on-the-front weighs-in at 704 pages, and just over five pounds!
I decided my bookshelves could stand the strain and I'm glad I didn't pass up this 5-star deal.
Willie and Joe--The WWII Years is chock full of drawings and cartoons, like this Pulitzer Prize winner:
Although as a former US Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) member, my personal favorite is this one of our hapless heroes at an Observation Post (OP)--attempting to call artillery fire on a target that's just a little too close for comfort:
Willie and Joe--The WWII Years, contains a wide-range of Mauldin's works, from his submissions to 45th Infantry Division camp paper, to some of the demobilization issues faced by veterans re-integrating back into civilian life.  The bulk of the work though, centers on Willie & Joe's wartime experiences.  There's a footnote for every cartoon, which provides some background information to help the reader understand the nature of each vignette, and the humor behind it.
A short biography of Bill Mauldin can be found in the front of the book.  Despite being a tad over 700 pages, Willie and Joe--The WWII Years, is a quick an enjoyable read.
The book has earned a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating on  48 x 5-stars, 8 x 4-stars, 3 x 3-stars and a solitary 2-star rating.  Of the 3-star raters, one thought the book was repetitive, another thought this wouldn't "...mean much to younger people..." (and he's probably right), and the last wrote an enthusiastic review, but was going to give the book to his son.  The lone 2-star rater was disappointed in the quality of Bill Mauldin's early work. currently has 14 issues left in stock for $26.03.  This book can also be obtained via other outlets selling through Amazon for $17.82--$29.88 for the paperback, and $45.00--$87.99 for the hardcover.
Whatever copy you buy, hopefully you'll be able to read it in more comfortable surroundings than Willie and Joe found themselves in...


Kris Marquardt said...

I will have to see about picking this one up. I have a copy of Up Front, originally published in 1945, and I imagine most of that book is contained within this weighty tome. But it would be an excellent add to the book collection.

Ted Henkle said...

Kris: I have a copy of "Up Front" as well, but haven't gotten around to reading it. You will find some of the same cartoons in this book as in "Up Front." However, there's a whole lot more. I can't recommend this book highly enough! Thanks for commenting.