Doing battle : the making of a skeptic

by Paul Fussell

Paper Book, 1996




Boston : Little, Brown and Co., c1996.


"Fussell writes about an idyllic boyhood shattered by World War II - and the way the war experience changed his perspective on everything that came before and after." "His life began in Pasadena, California, a pastoral middle-class sanctuary almost untouched by the Great Depression. He went as an innocent to nearby Pomona College, where he learned about drink and women, and spent afternoons marching on the football field with the ROTC. And then, when the United States entered World War II, the spell was broken. At nineteen he joined the army and began the central event of his life." "He endured basic training, became a second lieutenant in the infantry, and, leading his platoon into battle, was seriously wounded. When he recovered, he vowed never to take orders again. His newly subversive sensibility would color all his later years, as a Harvard Ph.D. student, as a professor of literature, and as one of America's most distinguished commentators on twentieth-century life."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member pajarita

Most people who have read Paul Fussell have read The Great War and Modern Memory and/or :Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. Both are superb analyses
of modern mass war.

And Paul Fussell is a combat veteran of World War II. He has "earned" his right as an historical analyst.

Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic is Fussell's own memoir/confession of his actual experience on the ground in the European Theater as an American Infantry Lieutenant. It is also scattered throughout with historical background of the Allied ground invasion after D-Day--the crawling horror that was the advance across western Europe towards Berlin.

Fussell says he felt that he owed to his readers his own story in the events of which he has written before.

His own story is honest. It is as tedious as warfare. It is horrific in some details. It is as despicable as is politics. It is as pathetic as a flawed human being can be. It is a confession as well as a memoir.

My already deep respect for Fussell found new fathoms through this profoundly honest retelling of this veteran's story.

Paul Fussell is a flawed human being whose excellent, internationally-acclaimed historical writings were informed by his own less-than-spectacular but tragic experience of the pandemic of warfare. And he helps us to understand this.

Paul Fussell is an American treasure.
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