Letters from the Good War
By Hugh Aaron
"Letters were crucial during World War II," writes author Hugh Aaron, a veteran whose service in the 113th Naval Construction Battalion spun more that 1,000 letters in World War II.
"They were the only communication between men and women participating in the war and their loved ones. Reading a letter just received from a son, a girlfriend, a wife, a mother or father, or just a friend, was always the high point of the day."
Author Hugh Aaron, in Letters from the Good War, did more than talk about the weather. He described his surroundings in vivid detail. He made plans for college and his post-war career. And he gave his views on the war, which always seemed thousands of miles away from his location.
"I think you misinterpreted the letter that mentioned my enjoyment of writing," Hugh wrote his mother from Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea. "I never stated, or even hinted, that I'd like to go into journalism. Read that letter again. I said that I find it an easy task to write because it consoles me..."
Some two years and nine months later, that "easy task" he speaks of in the August 1, 1944 letter had turned into a thousand letters. By the time of his discharge in December 1945, Hugh left years of memories for his mother. These letters should be required reading for all students of military history.
You won't be able to put Letters down at night. You'll be moved as you watch a young teenage high school grad grow into a man. They chronicle the life of a young Seabee from boot camp until he landed in Seattle on December 15, 1945 and telegraphed home: "DREAM OVER STOP ANOTHER COMING TRUE SOON STOP..."
Letters from the Good War is a "must read" for anyone interested in the sacrifices made by our veterans. If you've ever wondered what the Seabees were all about, Letters is the book for you. They'll take you from boot camp to a Pacific crossing on the USS West Point to living and working in New Guinea and the Philippines. You'll make friends with a young Filipino host, Rosalio Corum, and share Hugh's frustrations as he tries to find a trade and get promoted.
Paperback, 712 pages