Paul Fussell

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War is hell. And Paul Fussell should know. He was there. At the age of 21, Fussell led a rifle platoon in the 103rd Infantry Division and was severely wounded in France. He survived, went on to become an English professor and a well regarded historian of World War II.

He wrote his most recent book, “The Boys Crusade,” because he wanted to throw a fistful of dirt in the face of the Greatest Generation view of history. He says most American troops were not brave, or convinced that what they were doing was the right thing. Instead, they were hungry, sick, scared, and 99 percent of them “would have escaped if there had been any non-shameful way out.” Fussell writes of a battlefield where dysentery and death were everywhere, and moral certitude nowhere to be found.


Paul Fussell, author of “The Boys’ Crusade.”