We have to remember that in the future we will want to keep before our children what this war was really like. It is so easy to forget; and then for the younger generation, the heroism and the glamour remain, while the dirt, the hardships, the horror of death and the sorrow fade somewhat from their consciousness. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Written during the war, often by candlelight in a tent, Private Joe Wolff’s journal is an enthralling journey into the mosaic that was the life of an army private during WWII. He journeyed from America to England and on to North Africa. Joe then landed in Italy at the heavily contested Salerno and Anzio Beachheads in the initial invasions. He and his ammunition company moved from Anzio toward Rome following closely behind the front line. Ammunition dumps were a constant target for enemy fire and being so close to the front line they were fighting fires and explosions at the dumps on a regular basis.
The war and the surrounding military life were only a small part of Joe's war. His keen sense of character and his ability to paint a portrait of a war torn country add immeasurable depth to his writing. His observations on everything from Italian funeral processions to tattoos paint a timeless portrait and provide a unique insight into WWII from the point of view of an educated private who had a deep love of history, art and architecture. He met the people of the countries that he was passing through and became a part of their world outside of army life. An old time butler at a stately home, a professor at an English boarding school, and a Marchese (Italian count) in Italy all color Joe's writing and make it stand out from other war journals. He became part of the fabric of life in the places he lived and was awarded with deep and wonderful friendships.
Joe transports us back to another time and place and we feel like we are a part of his wartime world.