WINNER OF A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
Ernie Pyle, better than any other World War II journalist, conveyed the triumphs and tribulations of the common soldier trying to survive a brutal conflict. From North Africa and Normandy, Anzio and Okinawa - where he died - Pyle brought the war home to America.
James Tobin's "superbly documented and compassionate account" (Publishers Weekly) is a classic biography of an American icon.
When World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle left for the Pacific Theater in 1945, he told friends and colleagues that he felt sure he would die there. Pyle was right; on April 18th, a Japanese machine gunner killed one of America's most beloved personalities, sending the entire nation into shock and mourning. In the years since Pyle's death, his particular brand of journalism has been criticized: he's been accused of ignoring the stupidity of generals, of downplaying the horror of battle, and of presenting the war in a better light than it actually deserved to be portrayed.
James Tobin, author of the impressive biography Ernie Pyle's War, does not deny that his subject often smoothed the jagged facts of war, but he provides both the context--an era and a war in which correspondents were expected to be "team players" who helped their side to win hearts and minds at home--and the personal conflict raised for Pyle by the often irreconcilable demands of telling the truth and building morale.
In addition to detailing Pyle's mostly unhappy personal life, Tobin also includes samples of his columns, proving once and for all that Pyle was more than just a hick who fell into reporting; the man had real, substantial talent, evidenced by his ability to put words together and his sensitivity to the subjects he wrote about. More than just a biography, Ernie Pyle's War is also a study of war, and the peculiar, twilight world of suffering and half-told truths to which men like Ernie Pyle were drawn.