War Novels William Woodruff Vessel of Sadness

ISBN 13: 9780060157098

Vessel of Sadness

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9780060157098: Vessel of Sadness

The title, which hints at the poetry that breathes life into this true story of the Allied invasion of the beach at Anzio, Italy, in 1944, comes from a passage within the book told by a man assigned burial duty: Quickly, the mound of earth disappears. A friend has gone. He has drunk his vessel of sadness. His battle is stilled.”

 

Woodruff’s technique is to show that bloody struggle through the eyes of sol­diers, statesmen, and civilians involved. Privileged viewers from afar, we see officers shooting pool before a major conference; we come close, peer into the thoughts of a corporal just before a bul­let takes the top off his head; as if we were walking past, we stop for a mo­ment to watch a poker game among enlisted men; we see an ambassador fretting over artifacts and men riding headlong into a German machine-gun nest.

 

In Woodruff’s war there are no hu­man villains, only madness, an abstract insanity, a waste of such huge propor­tions as to sober even a giddy man. A war.

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About the Author:

William Woodruff served with the First British Infantry Division during World War II and landed with his unit in the initial wave of the Anzio inva­sion. After the war he returned to Ox­ford University and, later, earned his doctorate of philosophy at Nottingham. He is now Graduate Research Professor in Economic History at the University of Florida.

 

Martin Blumenson was formerly Harold Keith Johnson Professor of Mil­itary History at the Army War College. He is the author of two volumes of The Patton Papers.

Review:

Here in unvarnished but riveting truth, is the mixture of panic, danger, dirt, unthinking heroism, comradeship, despair and hope that make up the life of the fighting man in action.” George Riley, London Evening News

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