Kayleen Reusser is back with her second book of World War II veterans stories. This one, They Did It for Honor: Stories of American World War II Veterans, has an aptly chosen title. Many of the veterans are quoted as saying they were proud to serve their country and considered it an honor to do so.
As with her first book, Reusser collected stories from many units and fronts, giving the reader a well-rounded picture of life in different parts of the world during World War II. Thirty-four of them, to be precise. Not only does she include stories from the Pacific, North African and European theaters, she includes a tale from the Aleutian Islands and the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater. Some of the more fascinating stories we read were about a black veteran’s experience aboard the USS Yorktown, one man who was present at the surrender signing on September 2, 1945, the story of a man who served in the 326th Glider Infantry (which is incredibly rare), the five women veterans’ stories (one SPAR, one WAC, two nurses, one Naval officer) and a photographer who was assigned to document the impact of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It was interesting to read the parts of their experience that each veteran chose to discuss. The stories are concise, which gives the reader insight into their service from the veteran’s point of view. Due to the horrors that were experienced by many soldiers, it can be tough to talk about the difficult memories. Reusser did a good job of making the veterans she interviewed comfortable if they chose to go into such detail.
This is another excellent compilation of stories for anyone interested in World War II. Our only complaint was the change in photo format. We enjoyed the “then and now” photos of the previous book. Still, she includes a photo of each veteran she interviewed, which is nice to see. We applaud Reusser’s mission to interview as many World War II veterans as possible. Buy your copy of They Did It for Honor: Stories of American World War II Veterans on Amazon.