The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 527

Book Reviews

men in service, when death notices were delivered by Western Union Telegram,
when gasoline, tires, shoes, butter, meat, and sugar were rationed and cigarettes,
soap, and toilet tissue often were simply not available.
As Joyce Roach writes in the introduction, "World War II would be the last oc-
casion that in one accord and of one collective heart we declared that it was a
time for war. We would look upon war and say 'This is the right thing to do' and
believe that we as citizens somehow made the decision and shared the responsi-
The idea for this book came from a conference, Texas Goes to War, held at the
University of North Texas to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World
War II. Contents are as factual as Jane Pattie's "Night of the Yaqui Moon" report-
ing the 1942 destruction of a Japanese naval supply base on the Pacific Coast of
Mexico by Capt. Rufus C. Van Zandt, and as plausible as Robert Flynn's "How I
Won the War"-a fictitious account about a ten-year-old boy who spent his War
Bond money to buy a dying horse.
This book will revive memories for Texans who lived through World War II.
Younger readers probably will be surprised at the quiet courage and sacrifices of
home-front Texans who told themselves "After all, there is a war on," and simply
Ernie Pyle in the American Southwest. By Richard Melzer. (Santa Fe: Sunstone Press.
Pp. 176. Preface, introduction, notes, bibliography, index, photographs. IS-
BN 0-86534-243-1. $18.95, paper.)
Of all the Americans who became heroes during World War II, perhaps none
was better known nor better loved than Ernie Pyle, the shy, self-effacing journal-
ist whose widely syndicated column chronicled the lives and deaths of ordinary
soldiers, sailors, and airmen fighting for their country in Europe, Africa, and the
Pacific. When Pyle himself was killed by aJapanese bullet on a Pacific island only
a few months before the end of the war, President Truman pronounced his
death a national tragedy, which it indeed was. And even today, reading his
columns brings back the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of that war more vivid-
ly than almost anything else written about it. They are classics of journalistic in-
telligence, compassion, and skill.
Even before he became a war correspondent, Pyle had become a journalistic
celebrity. With his wife, Jerry, he wandered about America by automobile, visit-
ing cities, small towns, and villages in every corner of the land, writing about the
people he encountered in a daily column for the newspapers of the Scripps-
Howard chain. His work brought him a popularity so great that it was oppressive.
In 1940, the Pyles built a house in the small, out-of-the-way city of Albuquerque,
which they hoped would be a refuge from the adoring public.
In this slim book, Richard Melzer tells a story that the American public never
read while it was unfolding, because Pyle never wrote it. It is about the life Ernie
and Jerry Pyle endured during the years they called that house their home. What



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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. ( accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.

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