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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Biography: Vets Will Love It

Title: Belle of the Brawl; Letters Home From a B-17 Bombardier
Author: Gary A. Best
Author's web site link:
Genre/category: Military/WW II biography
ISBN: 978-1-59299-489-2
Publisher: Inkwater Press
Reviewered by : Rob Ballister for  Military Writers Society of America 


Gary A. Best’s BELLE OF THE BRAWL is a wonderful portrait of the relationship between a boy and his mother, told through the letters of young Fred Lull as he writes home during his training and deployment as a B-17 bombardier. It describes a warm, emotional relationship, where a young man in harm’s way continuously works to reassure his worried mother that he is just fine and plenty safe, even when the horrors of war surround him.
Best does a great job of interspersing the letters from Fred with notes, comments, and news clippings about the war at that time. This serves to both allow the reader to fix in history when the story occurred and also to contrast the harsh realities of war with the boy’s club picture that Fred paints for his mother.
In addition to developing the picture of the relationship, the book does a wonderful job of painting a picture of what life was like in America during World War II. The reader learns about rationing, traveling in the United States, and how Americans worked to make ends meet in the 1940’s.
This book is an excellent addition to any library, but will be especially enjoyed by military aviation buffs and World War II veterans.

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