A while back I inherited my father's World War II army foot locker. It turned out to contain hundreds of letters and other documents from the years 1942-1947, when my father was first in the Army and then worked with displaced persons in postwar Europe. From a selection of these letters I have created "This Business of Fighting", an oral story focusing on his time with a combat unit in the European Theater. It portrays a young man dealing with everything from raw fear to his role as a leader to his encounter with a world wider and more brutal than anything he had known.
Effective for audiences from teenagers on up. It runs about 45 minutes, and can be followed by questions and discussion - which often gets quite lively.
A powerful story, an empathic point of view - I really appreciated that it informed me of military operations realistically and did not deny or dramatize the human fear, neither did it preach a specific point of view. Its honest perspective helps me have a broader understanding of what a person who does military service goes through. War is awful and to loose sight of the pride in those who serve ... your story brings out that need in a loving and human way" --listener from Fairfield, CT
Once again, great presentation t-other night. You do your father - & history - great honor.- Bruce Marcus, Features Coordinator, the Story Space, Cambridge, MA.
What a remarkable man he clearly was, in his down-to-earth ("Helluva!") way--sociable, and yet very introspective and curious, too....a gripping page-turner...In the browsing I'd done in soldiers' letters, I'd been struck by the conflict between a desire to send reassurance and the need to share often chaotic and frightening or disturbing experiences; as you commented, your father's letters dramatize that conflict deeply, and even comment on it themselves - Professor Jill Campbell, Yale University (The letters were used in one of her courses).