Tuesday, April 24, 2007

19 Down, 31 to go

Up Front

Bill Mauldin

Mauldin, an infantry sergeant with the 45th Division of the Army, drew the "Willie and Joe" cartoons for the U.S. Army's official paper, the Stars and Stripes, and Up Front is primarily a collection of these cartoons. However, along with the cartoons is his description of the warfront (primarily Italy) and the context of the cartoons, which are based on his own experiences. He writes well and describes the war vividly.

I had read in a newspaper article that many American soldiers in Iraq are able to play video games in their spare time. At first, I thought this was "soft." I had no right to think so, but I did.

However, Mauldin's lines on drinking in the Army changed my mind. He mentions that soldiers (including himself) tended to drink when they were "homesick or bored," since "other recreational facilities are crowded or unavailable." This was made worse by the lack of a limited liquor ration, which impelled American soldiers to buy lots of low-quality local alcohol. It goes to show a)you shouldn't judge something you don't know well, and b)things do improve over time.

So that's one thing I gained from Up Front.

I rate this a solid 5 stars, not least because his cartoons are well-drawn and humorous.

Just for kicks, I'm posting Mauldin's personal favorite cartoon.


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