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Old 03-15-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
AnnaM
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Thumbs up WWII True Romance

Soft Snap

At the time of his enlistment in 1942, Donald Murray resembled few other Army recruits to the war effort. He was a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard, fluent in multiple languages, and had six years of teaching experience under his belt. While completing basic training he sent out a line to a distant relation and the daughter of a Navy commander to ask her for help in expediting a late paycheck, thus initiating an intimate correspondence that spans his career as an Army cryptographer and counter intelligence agent.

Don's letters contain a rare perspective among WWII accounts -- a wry satire of military life and a bewildered account of a college professor forced to confront the 'colossal enormity of coincidence' that directed his unusual journey from Harvard and Dartmouth to small town Wisconsin, only to land him in far-flung Pacific outposts.

Between the lines of his acerbic commentary, Don's letters express the hopes and fears shared by so many in his generation. His correspondence with Arlene grows into a relationship of mutual respect and admiration that holds the promise of his life after the war.

Soft Snap is perhaps most satisfying for contemporary readers as Don never lost his keen perspective despite the immediacy of his situation. Readers and critics alike will find this to be a peerless work in the WWII letter genre and a hidden gem of American satire.

Excerpts, Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.

"Oh yes, perhaps the most deserving of comment of all was your fairly glowing description of that unique bit of Americana known as the USO dance. I, too, have been subjected to this particular form of entertainment, but only once, sister, only once. I was delighted by the citation of your reasons for attending this dance. Mine, I must be perfectly frank, whereas you were only partially frank, were entirely derived from "natural desires", to quote an eminent authority. The result was even more disastrous in my case than in yours. Not being a jitterbug, the dancing was a masterpiece of disharmony and mistaken anticipations . . ."

(Don Murray, 19 August 1942)

"I am lonesome, damn it, but I still get a laugh out of the Army. There are days when I can keep it down to a roar though, and I guess that this is one of them. Thank God there are a few fine people to come home to, and though I may not rate that distinction with you, Arlene, you probably will never know how much it has meant to me to know that you are still there, representing practically everything I feel it is worth coming back to . . ."

(Don Murray, 1 March 1944)

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