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Pacific Time on Target
Foreign Policy at the Periphery
Labor's War at Home
Spring 1865
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A Scientific Way of War
WASP of the Ferry Command
Silent Heroes

Once Upon a Time in WarOnce Upon a Time in War

The 99th Division in World War II

Robert E. Humphrey

Narrated by Frank Graham

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Oklahoma Press

For the soldier on the front lines of World War II, a lifetime of terror and suffering could be crammed into a few horrific hours of combat. This was especially true for members of the 99th Infantry Division who repelled the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge and engaged in some of the most dramatic, hard-fought actions of the war.

Once Upon a Time in War presents a stirring view of combat from the perspective of the common soldier. Author Robert E. Humphrey personally retraced the path of the 99th through Belgium and Germany and conducted extensive interviews with more than three hundred surviving veterans.

When Humphrey discovered that many 99ers had gone to their graves without telling their stories, he set about to honor their service and coax recollections from survivors. The memories recounted here, many of them painful and long repressed, are remarkable for their clarity. These narratives, seamlessly woven to create a collective biography, offer a gritty reenactment of World War II from the enlisted man’s point of view.

Although focused on a single division, Once Upon a Time in War captures the experiences of all American GIs who fought in Europe.

Robert E. Humphrey is Professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Sacramento. He has published numerous articles in The Checkerboard, the newspaper for the 99th Infantry Division, and is author of Children of Fantasy: The First Rebels of Greenwich Village, 1910-1920.


“An absorbing social history of the common soldiers of the Checkerboard Division. Genuine and credible—a captivating story told mainly in the words of the GIs themselves.”

—Peter R. Mansoor, author of The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941‚Äì1945

“A rich portrait of the American citizen soldier in war—well trained, sardonic in his outlook, determined to do his job, motivated to fight not for any abstract ideas about patriotism or hatred of Nazism, but for his comrades.”

Journal of Military History

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