Review by Don Kraus, November 18, 2010
When Art was drafted in early 1943 it was the beginning of four years of service to his country. He first served in a camp for conscientious objectors for seven months, and then was briefly at home, followed by assignment to a Medical Replacement Center in Texas. After three weeks in Pennsylvania preparing for overseas shipment, he was returned to Texas and assigned as company clerk in a unit preparing for overseas duty. Art was then transferred to MAC OCS preparing for his two years of service as an officer. Excerpts from the letters exchanged between Art and wife, Dods, tell the story. It is a powerful story of a unique wartime experience; not as someone remembered it years later, but as the letters were written, in the heat of the moment, as decisions of conscience and character were required. In letters never intended to be read by anyone other than his "Dods," this soldier tells of the struggle he and others experienced seeking to serve conscience and country while conscripted into often conflicting circumstances. At CPS: no real mission except for the limited time actually fighting fires, well fed and comfortable but troubled over the absence of money for our families, restless over a desire to be true to ones' beliefs and a feeling of isolation from our countries crisis. In the army: being pressured not to think, not to ask questions, to do as you are told, learn to hate, to kill. But in both situations forming strong friendships with good people and finding satisfaction in doing his assigned tasks well. The day-by-day relating of events make life at CPS and in the army genuine and real; and also share the love and caring between Art and Dods. About eighty per cent of this story is told through excerpts from these letters. The letters give an authentic view from the inside; written more than sixty years ago by a sensitive and talented writer pouring out his heart as he shares his life with his wife. They tell a poignant and often humorous tale that gives a unique perspective on life in the army with its regimens, rules and pack mentality.