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  • The Long Road: From Oran to Pilser

    thelongroadThe Oral Histories of United States Army Veterans in the European Theatre of Operations, World War II.  

    This publication is available for purchase from the SVC Bookstore

    General Editors: David Wilmes, Richard David Wissolik, John Hill, Gary E. J. Smith. Profusely illustrated with photographs from the collections of the interviewees. Original drawings by J.S. Downs. Produced under grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. ISBN: 1-88585-13-8. Hardbound, Smythe-sewn. 1999. $30.00.

    Comments on the Book

    "It speaks well for the candor of these veterans that they openly acknowledge the attacking or victorious soldier's tendency to pay himself for the dangers he has weathered by helping himself to food, drink, and souvenirs in the cities and towns that the Army overruns. Had they denied or simply concealed this universal result of war, they would have compromised the frankness which makes this book a masterpiece." -- G. Foster Provost, Ph.D., Emeritus, Duquesne University

    "This book presents one of this century's defining experiences. Many who read The Long Road and the Center's companion pieces might not unhesitatingly support our country's summons, though the majority of narrators would. Herein are moments of strong and unhindered emotional experiences now recollected for audiences in the tranquility of a half-century's reflection. In life's twilight, these men all regard life as good. To squander this miracle on alien ground has to be the great contradiction of global diplomacy. And the travesty of war is surely revealed by western Pennsylvania's saving remnants as preserved herein. One can only conclude that these men survived as harbingers. As counsel. To remind all who read their words that Wilfred Owen spoke a lamenting truth when he wrote about The Great War: My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory/The old lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori." -- Charles John McGeever, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Asian Division

    "I am just a young historian who has hardly lived through my own history, but the past of these men persistently beckons and haunts me. I have not been to Europe to experience first hand the places these men describe. Nor have I seen the countless graves standing sentries for the future. I have only begun understanding this past through the eyes of the men I interviewed. Jack McDaniel, Joe Kay, Al Kormas, Enrico D'Angelo and Jim Coletti have allowed me to recognize what courage and freedom are and what patriotism isn't. By listening to these men and examining the occasional diary and numerous photographs buried away for fifty years in their homes, I am appreciating this past and reaping the benefits of its future. It is a future that hasn't lived up to all of the expectations these men had when they returned home, but it is certainly better than living in fear, something they did for a good part of their youth. When I look at myself in comparison to what they did at my age, I realize I have it good and always will have it good because they traveled the long road before me. Only a few remnants are left from their journey, but I continue to retrace their steps into the past meeting their ghosts along the way." -- David Wilmes

    'What I have read in this book about about my brother Mario's military experience is all new information to me. He simply never talked about it. Without this book, I would never have known the extent of his pain and anguish during that terrible time. Elsewhere in these pages we are privileged to read about the exploits of other young Americans from Southwestern Pennsylvania who found themselves in harm's way, in places far from home and hearth. They were all part of the heroic World War II generation. God bless them all." -- John DePaul