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Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA by Timothy…
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Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA (2005)

by Timothy James Bazzett

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This charming memoir – the second in a series -- is a testament to how ordinary people and ordinary lives can often reach beyond themselves. Timothy Bazzett has recorded – in detail that is an extraordinary testament to the acuity of his memory – the experiences of a young man thrown on the mercy of the world. He was nineteen when he joined the military.

The tale is no doubt a common one shared by thousands of young men since the world began, more specifically American boys during the last century, and yet it reveals these experiences in a way that is thoughtful, realistic and at times moving. Bazzett not only tells the tales of his youth, he recounts the conversations, recreates the places and the people, invokes the history of the times and invites us to relive it with him. He tells of the army, his friends, his travels, his love of music, his sexual awakening, each and every adventure on the road to young manhood. The reader has little trouble joining him on his journey, given the clarity and quality of his writing and the clever addition of both visual memorabilia (photos, airline tickets, illustrations of weapons, etc.) and philosophical meditations on the nature of memory, the meaning of the past.

At times, I thought Bazzett could have pared it down a bit. I could see how a powerful scene was diminished through too much telling and I would have liked him to focus more and be more selective in his details, but I've leveled that criticism at Dostoevsky, too. Although it is very much a “guy book” (his words, with which I concur), as a woman I still found it entertaining and thought-provoking. ( )
  kambrogi | Jul 19, 2010 |
Having not read Bazzett's first memoir Reed City Boy, I didn't know what to expect. I usually enjoy reading about the lives and experiences of others. However, I found myself having to force my way through this book. The foul language was somewhat of a turn-off, although I'm sure it was necessary to preserve the authenticity of the story. I believe there is a specific audience who would enjoy this story, unfortunately it just didn't appeal to me. ( )
  MTGirlAtHeart | Nov 28, 2009 |
This is the direct sequel to Reed City Boy, and relates the author's memories of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, at service school in Fort Devens, and his brief time at Fort Meade, and his time in Turkey and Germany. He tells nothing about his work in the Army Security Agency but much about his buddies and what they did and lots about music that he was much into. One is astounded at how much he remembers, and the detail he sets forth is awesome. Unfortunately, the language he feels necessary to record repels, since he not only uses it in quotes but to describe: obscenity, blasphemy, all the foul things one hears in such a setting, and thankfully never had to hear much of after one got out of service. Nor is his moral life one I would think he would want his mother and children and grandchildren to read about--but I suppose I am from another generation and maybe his grandchildren will be impressed--but I hope not. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 8, 2009 |
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Epigraph
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." - Matthew, 5:9
Dedication
In loving memory of Richare Ellis Bazzett, 1938-2001 (Spec5, USASA, 1961-1965); And for all my old army buddies, especially Joe, who was with me through it all.
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"Turn around, bend over and spread your cheeks ..."
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Book description
Soldier boy continues from where Reed City Boy left off. It takes Tim Bazzett from his first leaving home in west Michigan for the army, through BCT and AIT and two overseas postings in Turkey and Germany. It covers his coming of age and loss of innocence and, finally, his return home. Bazzett's story continues in the third book of the trilogy, Pinhead.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0977111911, Paperback)

In 1962 when Tim Bazzett graduated from high school he'd had enough of academia and classroom drudgery, so he joined the army - and received an education he'd never imagined. Perhaps one of the most unlikely and inept citizen-soldiers since Gomer Pyle, Tim somehow survives the terrors and tribulations of basic training at "Fort Lost-in-the-Woods, Misery," and after further training in the mysteries of Morse code in Massachusetts and Maryland, the small-town innocent is launched overseas and into the larger world. In northern Turkey he finds himself a link in the outermost defenses of America during a Cold War he only imperfectly understands. There he sees poverty and hatred in the faces of children and is forced to confront his own faults and inner demons. Later on in Germany, no longer quite so innocent, he chases girls and dreams of being a rock star. But at the heart of Bazzett's narrative are the characters - the friends he makes along the way. For this is ultimately a book about friendship - and about growing up. In his first volume of memoirs, Bazzett made his Michigan hometown in the fifties come alive for all his readers. In Soldier Boy, his military experiences are made just as real. Get ready to laugh, and maybe cry a little too, as the irrepressible Reed City Boy rides again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:54 -0400)

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