[Originally posted on 

I found this copy of Ernie Pyle’s Here is Your War in — wait for it — the local Salvation Army thrift shop.

I opened it to find that the endpapers were a montage of still photographs from The Story of GI Joe, the 1945 film made from the book, with Burgess Meredith playing Pyle and Robert Mitchum playing the character based on Captain Waskow, from Pyle’s most famous story.

I paged through and it is wonderfully illustrated by Carol Johnson channeling Bill Mauldin.

It was a foregone conclusion that I was going to buy this book, which I did, for the princely sum of fifty cents, and I took it home and started reading it. At page 107 (Chapter 9. Sherman Had a Word for It), this fell out.

Here’s the other side.

First, “Rambo” is an actual name? I thought Hollywood made it up.

Second, there is a whole story in that little two-and-a-half by four-inch piece of paper. Who was Norman? What was he doing in Nome? Was he stationed there during the war? It had been over for four months, why was he still there? How long had he been there? Did he really only get to Chapter 9? Maybe he finished Chapter 8 and he got his orders to go home and he was in such a rush to pack he left the book behind.

I got nothing for how the book got from Nome to Homer.

Did Norman head straight on down to the Board of Trade the evening of December 18th, 1945? I’d like to think that in accordance with pass rule number 2 (see above) that he did not do anything in public to disgrace himself or the Army.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Nothing that interesting ever falls out from between the pages of my iPad.

Click here to buy it on Amazon. It’s a damn good read.

I also recommend Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day, which I read as I was visiting the D-Day beaches. A you-are-there book if there ever was one.

And here is a terrific story about Pyle.

Bill Mauldin’s cartoon in memory of Ernie Pyle (from https://www.jimkeefe.com/archives/5614).

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Click here to read the comments to the original post. A used book just keeps on giving.

Chatter Writing

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I have a copy of that book. I got it because he was my mother’s favorite war correspondent. I read it, what a great report on daily life in North Africa. Then I sent it to my mother, who is a life long reader. She was very excited to hold this book in her hands.

  2. One more thing. Ernie Pyle was a fellow alum at Indiana University and the School of Journalism bears his name. The entrance boasts a statue of him seated at his war desk typing. We are proud of our Hoosier.

  3. What a find!! What a treasure. I grew up hearing about Ernie Pyle with great affection from my grandmother. Thanks to you, Dana, for your constant sharing. You are also a treasure. ♥️

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