Tuesday, April 09, 2013

GI Blue: An MP's journey through World War II
by William R. Lewis

Another WW2 MP book !   This one, written by the veteran, covers his time in the 202nd MP Bn.  in the Mediterranean; mainly Italy. It's a competent memoir, and everything pretty much rings true.  The 202nd was initially a Corps unit, then he ends up in a 5th Army unit (which explains the cover photo with 5th Army MP jeep).

However, as a book about an MP unit there are few of the mundane silly little details that die hard enthusiasts are looking for.  So nothing about equipment, helmets markings, vehicle markings, etc.  Not that it’s a subject everyone has an interest in. There's also not really any actual combat material, but then I did not expect any.

It does a good job of portraying MPs as having a somewhat dearly life patrolling up and down roads looking for broken down vehicles, manning obscure checkpoints, giving directions, and basically doing  pretty much what we expect them to be doing.  In doing so it reinforces my feelings that this is how MPs spent their time, not bashing in heads of drunken soldiers, or writing up troops for having missing buttons, or smashing black market rings. They had a job to do, sometimes pretty boring, they did it, and that's that.

As for photos, there are a few but they show little in the ways of any MP related details. Really, the best one is on the cover. It is a print on demand book, so it ends up costing $20 for a paperback, which is a little steep, but then there probably will never be many printed and almost impossible to find used.

So in short, I'm slightly torn.  There is nothing wrong with the book. It’s a solid WW2 memoir providing a glimpse in the life of an average MP. Certainly if you have an interest in those troops you should get a copy.  I'd rate it as above average in terms of WW2 memoirs (not much rehashing of the strategic picture, no improbably stories, and a goodly section about the war years instead of pre and post Army life), well written, and on an obscure subject. I just keep wondering what this book might have been had someone sat down and really prodded him for all the little details that are going to be lost in time.  

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