Battling uphill against relentless gunfire,
Surviving tropical torture camps,
Building a bridge today & blowing it up tomorrow…
So many World War II stories concentrate on the big-name heroes we saw in our history textbooks, but thousands upon thousands of people with their own talents, strengths, and courage helped the Allies win.
Meet individuals like photojournalist Dickey Chapelle who made a name for herself as one of the first ’embedded journalists’ during the War and socialite Nancy Wake who worked for the French Resistance, taking escaped Allied prisoners to safety by train, right under the noses of the Nazis in Vichy France.
This book also notes the heroism of groups such as the Nisei Japanese-American Purple Heart Battalion fighting in Europe while their families were interned in concentration camps in the US, the Navajo Code Talkers whose top-secret service went unrecognized for decades, and the combat engineers keeping the US Army moving over land, marshes, and rivers.
The author of Compassionate Soldier (I recommended it here) brings us another good balance of personal stories and collective histories, rarely discussed and well-known, all worth discovering.
What under-told stories of heroism might be found in your family’s old letters, photo albums, and tales shared at family gatherings?
Book info: Invisible Heroes of World War II: Extraordinary Wartime Stories of Ordinary People , by Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.