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Up Front by Bill Mauldin

Up Front (1944)

by Bill Mauldin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is a gritty, absolutely real account of life up front during World War II, written, cartooned and published during the war. The version I read was especially wonderful because the paper was extremely thin,cheap material, showing the era when it was printed.

I've seen Mauldin's cartoons before, but didn't understand many of them until he explained them here. His is the rawest, most straight-forward description of life as a U.S. "dogface" (infantry soldier) during WWII that I've ever read, but is of course prejudiced, since he too was a doggie and sufffered alongside them in the wet foxholes.

If it had just been the writing, without the cartoons to illustrate them or to discuss, it wouldn't have been as enjoyable or special, but together it was fascinating.
( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
The quintessential collection of WWII soldier cartoons. Funny and touching, and filled with the difference between dust and mud. They can both be horrible, and bring one close to suicide. The text, also by Mauldin is fresh and immediate. If America had been as receptive to his later book, "Back Home", it would have found a compassionate voice for the 1950's. As it is, do read "Up Front", but not at a single sitting. This kind of art requires savouring. Then find a copy of "Back Home"! ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | May 31, 2014 |
"I feel like a fugitive from th' law of averages" (Willy to Joe, hunkered down in rubble with tracers mapping a spiderweb above their heads.) [39]

Mauldin's essay a plaintive defense of the dogface infantryman, seemingly prompted by his observation of their treatment at home, and perhaps some criticism directed at his own work. Mauldin's focus in his comics is on infantry over other soldiers; he was an infantry sergeant, but apart from that chose to describe the wartime life of the everyday soldier.

Mauldin notes he's a cartoonist not a writer, and the essay is by way of background for the comics. It serves that purpose quite well, skillfully introducing individual comics on nearby pages without stopping to say so, but Mauldin's a better writer than this implies. He wrote for the Stars and Stripes for years during the war, and who knows what other roles besides.

The result is a war mosaic built from micro-history tiles, a view of WWII from the perspective of soldiers: not strategy, campaigns, or even specific battles, but life for soldiers participating in same. Mud, a guarded optimism, a persistence if not dedication, the closest thing to family until they get back home. Wonder if this perspective influenced others celebrated for it: John Keegan for The Face of Battle, or indirectly, Howard Zinn. On the other hand, none of these writers invented the idea of telling history from the standpoint of the masses rather than the rulers. ( )
  elenchus | Apr 23, 2014 |
237. Up Front, by Bill Mauldin (read 11 Feb 1946) When I finished reading this book on Feb 11, 1946, I said: 'It is certainly 'fresh' or outright. I like his writing better than his drawings!" ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Oct 8, 2013 |
General Patton was not a fan of Bill Mauldin's, but War Correspondent Ernie Pyle, General Eisenhower, the Pulitzer Prize committee of 1945, readers who made this book a bestseller in 1945 and, not least, many if not most of the combat infantrymen, affectionately known as "dogfaces", who were the subjects of Bill Mauldin's cartoons for Stars and Stripes, were big fans and now, after reading Up Front, so am I. Up Front is a great introduction to Mr. Mauldin's editorial cartoons written during his time in Italy during World War II, including not only the cartoons themselves, but also text explaining the ideas and incidents leading up to the cartoons. The "stars" of the cartoon series are two enlisted "dogfaces", Willie and Joe and most of the cartoons show bits and pieces of their daily lives in the infantry on the front lines. Willie and Joe grew to be symbols of the enlisted infantrymen of World War II and in 2010, ended up on a postage stamp, along with their creator, Bill Mauldin. I was glad to be given this insight into the life of the everyday enlisted World War II soldier and recommend this work contributed by someone who was there. ( )
1 vote cbfiske | Mar 7, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Mauldinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mauldin, BillIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ambrose, Stephen E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My business is drawing, not writing, and this text is pretty much background for the drawings.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393050319, Hardcover)

Throughout World War II, cartoonist Bill Mauldin documented the adventures and misadventures of dogfaces Willie and Joe, symbols of the hard-pressed infantry, "the group which gives more and gets less than anybody else." In Up Front, recently reissued as a 50th-anniversary volume, Mauldin joins an absorbing narrative account of just how hellish combat is to a selection of those cartoons. Reading through this powerful book, one sees why Mauldin, in demythologizing the war, was often accused of undoing the efforts of the morale officers and politicians who assured the home front that our boys were having a fine time of it in Europe. No, Mauldin replied through Willie and Joe, our boys are being maimed and killed every day. For his honesty, the troops loved him -- and Mauldin loved them= back.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:29 -0400)

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A collection of the work of cartoonist Bill Mauldin reflects his experiences as an enlisted man, in cartoons that capture the humor, boredom, and horror of the common soldier's daily life.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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