That book was a really really good read. I was sorry to finish it, even though it has to be done in time for me to write my blog post.
I haven’t totally digested what I’ve read, but I like what Fussell has to say about public perceptions of the war after it had ended. He talks about J. Glenn Gray’s idea that when the atom bomb was dropped the soldiers still stationed in Europe were somehow ashamed of that. I don’t think that idea makes any sense at all. Wouldn’t any of us be glad to avoid the hell of going back to war in yet another country? As Fussell points out, it is a really idealistic thing to judge the decision to drop the atom bomb by whether it was moral. For the soldiers there, it wasn’t a matter of right and wrong it was a matter of life and death- their own, not that of the enemy. I hadn’t thought a whole lot about that, even though over the years I’ve sat through numerous classroom debates about whether this was right or not. Seeing it through our author’s eyes, there’s no debate to be had. It’s kill or be killed, on a much larger scale.
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