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Between Tedium and Terror: A Soldier's World War II Diary, 1943-45
by Sy M. Kahn
University of Illinois Press, 1993
Paper: 978-0-252-06908-6 | Cloth: 978-0-252-01858-9
Library of Congress Classification D811.5.K2913 1993
Dewey Decimal Classification 940.5425092

When Sy Kahn set off to serve in the Pacific during World War II, he was a bookish, naive nineteen-year-old, the youngest in his company. Convinced he would not survive the war, Kahn kept a meticulous record of his experiences as his "foxhole of the mind," even though keeping such a journal was forbidden by military regulations. His secret diary--one soldier's "mark against oblivion"--is a rare ground-level account of the war.
Often writing in tents by candlelight, in foxholes, or on board ships, Kahn documents life during four campaigns and over three hundred air attacks. He describes the 244th Port Company's backbreaking work of loading and unloading ships, the suffocating heat, the debilitating tropical diseases, and the relentless, sometimes terrifying bombings, accidents, casualties, and deaths.
 His wartime odyssey also includes encounters with civilians in Australia, in the Philippines, and, as among the earliest occupation troops, in Japan. A detailed record of the daily cost of war, Kahn's journal reflects his increasing maturity and his personal coming of age, representative of thousands of young Americans who served in World War II.
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