Up Front

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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Bill Mauldin. Up Front. New York, 1945 The book Up Front is very entertaining and easy-to-read. Bill Mauldin gives an enlightening, uncensored view of World War II. If anyone is looking for an honest, accurate portrayal of the war, then I strongly suggest they read this book.

Bill Mauldin was a cartoonist for the 45th division for three years during World War II. His book Up Front is a refreshingly honest collection of stories and cartoons. He explains the many different aspects of an army, while also entertaining the reader with his cartoons. Although a person would probably have to be a veteran themselves to understand some of his cartoons, the cartoons do succeed in lightening the mood of the book.

Mauldin also excels in accurately portraying the true horror of a war. His many tales of the soldiers' hardships make the reader gain a tremendous amount of respect for the veterans.

Also, he describes the lighter side of the war, and tells of many comical situations for the soldiers. He tells of the front line soldier's contempt for the rear army members. Mauldin also describes the unfair and many times inaccurate coverage of the war by the press. He reveals the many faults of the army with a somewhat humorous approach. He tells us that although the army was a widely diverse group, every soldier was basically the same person. The most desirable wish of every soldier was to return home, although they would never turn from the fighting. Mauldin also describes the depressing conditions of the majority of Europe, and the soldiers interactions with the sad local inhabitants.

Up Front is a very interesting book, and I strongly suggest that everybody reads it. It is a very quick-reading book, and it informs the reader about the war very quickly. Mauldin does an excellent job of informing the reader of the true gruesomeness of war without making the book too depressing. He does this by mixing in his funny, sometimes hard to understand, cartoons. Overall, I think this book vastly increased my knowledge of World War II, without boring me to death.