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To Hell and Back (1949)

af Audie Murphy

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4061046,237 (4.07)18
The classic bestselling war memoir by the most decorated American soldier in World War II, back in print in a trade paperback Originally published in 1949,To Hell and Back was a smash bestseller for fourteen weeks and later became a major motion picture starring Audie Murphy as himself. More than fifty years later, this classic wartime memoir is just as gripping as it was then. Desperate to see action but rejected by both the marines and paratroopers because he was too short, Murphy eventually found a home with the infantry. He fought through campaigns in Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany. Although still under twenty-one years old on V-E Day, he was credited with having killed, captured, or wounded 240 Germans. He emerged from the war as America's most decorated soldier, having received twenty-one medals, including our highest military decoration, the CongressionalMedal of Honor.To Hell and Back is a powerfully real portrayal of American GI's at war.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 10 (næste | vis alle)
From a historical point of view, this book probably deserves a 5-star. This man is a military hero for doing everything possible to help win the war.

I love American history. But I cannot say that I love this book. It is graphic. It is saturated with foul language. It is down-to-earth and does not mince words.

When I read a book, I hope to develop some sort of connection with the characters---to be able to sympathize with them or cheer them on. I could not do so with this book. It is far beyond my realm of comprehension. I have no idea what it is like to see the brutality of war day in and day out. I have no idea what it is like to watch people die.

So I do apologize for rating this a two-star book, but I honestly can't say that I enjoyed this book and I certainly won't reread it. ( )
  caslater83 | Sep 20, 2018 |
I read this book because it was our book club selection. While I probably would not have read it otherwise, I'm glad I did. I see Audie Murphy's grave every year while visiting Arlington as it is across the way from the Changing of the Guard. After reading this book, seeing his grave will be more meaningful. ( )
  travelgal | Sep 24, 2017 |
This is a combat journal written after the fact. Mr. Murphy never talks about winning any medals or about being a hero. Except for recording conversation about how the Air Core was all about the medals unlike the poor infantry. This was followed by a bar fight with said Air Core members.

This covers the grim reality of the seamier unsanitized side of combat with no holds barred or details left out. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
Update: I read this memoir several years ago and am now about 50% through [b:Beyond Band of Brothers The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters|487666|Beyond Band of Brothers The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters|Dick Winters|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1175179667s/487666.jpg|475942]. Comparisons will be inevitable, I suppose, especially since Winters started as an officer. Both are interesting, but I think Murphy's the more introspective.

It was interesting to read this account of Audie Murphy's travails in World War II (Murphy was one of the most highly decorated soldiers of that war) having read Ambrose's hagiographic Band of Brothers.

Murphy received every major medal, some more than once, that the army has to offer. He joined the army at age 17 to support six siblings after his mother died (his father had left the family earlier), and he doesn't talk about how the war haunted the rest of his life. He portrays a brutal, harsh struggle to survive, where the only thing that matters is keeping oneself and one's friends alive. There are moments of great poignancy, others of humor. Once, hungry, dirty and wet, mired in their foxholes, they notice they are under a tree with ripe cherries. Not daring to stick a head up, let alone climb out of the foxhole, Murphy's buddy gets the idea of shooting down the branches with his machine gun, and soon they are delighted to have cherry branches falling on them, making the day just a little brighter.

Not once does Murphy mention his numerous awards, Clearly, Murphy believed that luck played as much a part in his survival as anything he did. He was however, the kind of person who tried to control his destiny, doing what was necessary and taking the initiative in order to get through the day. A little piece of Murphy died every time a friend was killed, and soon almost all of his friends were gone. He was delighted if they received a wound that would return them to the rear, away from battle. He sympathized and worried for the lieutenant who had been badly injured and returned voluntarily to the front only to lose his nerve under the intense shelling. It must have been horribly traumatic to develop such close bonds and to have them ripped apart.

At the risk of sounding a little chauvinistic, I quote from the last lines of his book:
" When I was a child, I was told that men were branded by war. Has the brand been put on me? Have the years of blood and ruin stripped me of all decency? Of all belief? Not of all belief. I believe in the force of a hand grenade, the power of artillery, the accuracy of a Garand. I believe in hitting before you get hit, and that dead men do not look noble.

"But I also believe in men like Brandon and Novak and Swope and Kerrigan; and all the men who stood up against the enemy, taking their beatings without whimper and their triumphs without boasting. The men who went and would go again to hell and back to preserve what our country thinks right and decent.

"My country. America! That is it. We have been so intent on death that we have forgotten life. And now suddenly life faces us. I swear to myself that I will measure up to it. I may be branded by war, but I will not be defeated by it. "Gradually it becomes clear. I will go back. I will find the kind of girl of whom I once dreamed. I will learn to look at life through uncynical eyes, to have faith, to know love. I will learn to work in peace as in war. And finally - finally, like countless others, I will learn to live again." ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
What appeals to me in this book is that it gives an unsentimental look at war. No glamour, no glorification, just plain truth delivered in a no nonsense manner. Well worth the time. Now to get started on my other war memoirs. ( )
  alexhunter | May 18, 2013 |
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Murphy, AudieForfatterprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Brokaw, TomForordmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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To Private Joe Sieja killed in action on the Anzio beachead January, 1944 and Private Lattie Tipton killed in action near Ramatuelle, France August, 1944  If there be any glory in war, let it rest on men like these
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The classic bestselling war memoir by the most decorated American soldier in World War II, back in print in a trade paperback Originally published in 1949,To Hell and Back was a smash bestseller for fourteen weeks and later became a major motion picture starring Audie Murphy as himself. More than fifty years later, this classic wartime memoir is just as gripping as it was then. Desperate to see action but rejected by both the marines and paratroopers because he was too short, Murphy eventually found a home with the infantry. He fought through campaigns in Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany. Although still under twenty-one years old on V-E Day, he was credited with having killed, captured, or wounded 240 Germans. He emerged from the war as America's most decorated soldier, having received twenty-one medals, including our highest military decoration, the CongressionalMedal of Honor.To Hell and Back is a powerfully real portrayal of American GI's at war.

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