Sunday, May 14, 2017

It unloaded another well-read division in the European Theater of Operations

From Before Their Time by Robert Kotlowitz. Page 55.
I read a lot, my habit, mostly tough little genre mysteries by Chandler and Hammett, but more serious stuff, too — a novel by Lion Feuchtwanger, for one, called Success (remembered from my parents' library). The high-minded Central European aura of this book, its obsession with justice, has stayed with me all these years; the novel still sits on my bookshelf. I was susceptible to moral issues then, powerfully so, and still am. I believed in the universal struggle between good and evil. Innocent and guilty. Right and wrong. In choices and in "us and them." That was how I saw the world: in simple, direct adolescent terms, for I was still an adolescent. That was why it was easy for me to hate the enemy. Keaton and Fedderman also read, as much as I did, Ira maybe even more, and so did many other GIs aboard the Argentina; we were not exceptional. The ship carried the entire paperback Armed Services Library, for us an indispensable resource. Every time the SS Argentina crossed the Atlantic from the States, it unloaded another well-read division in the ETO.

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