Trade Ed. Random House Audio 2003
CD ISBN 0739306723 $14.99 Two CDs
[Editor's Note: The following is a combined review with VISIONS FROM A FOXHOLE and I AM ALIVE.]--Things were so much easier when war was just good guys versus bad guys. Random House seems to have tapped into that sentiment with this trio of WWII memoirs. Visions From a Foxhole is the author's recounting of the battles he fought in Europe in the final few months of the war. An 18-year-old soldier in 1945, Foley later made a career as an artist, and he displays an obvious skill for observation. Jim Soreiro's reading is smooth but perhaps a bit too even--he narrates every passage with the same moderate urgency, whether his character is ducking bullets or making pencil sketches. The author of I Am Alive! saw little combat, having been captured in the Philippines in 1942 and spending the next three years as a prisoner in Japan. His account of life as a POW is chilling, though the other anecdotes that pad the work are a tad quaint. John Henry Cox relates all in just the right tones of an older veteran telling yarns. Major William Darby was not a rank-and-file soldier but a legendary commander, and Darby's Rangers is a memoir of his battalion's combat in North Africa and Italy. Darby was portrayed by James Garner in a 1958 film, but Don Leslie's narration is more reminiscent of John Wayne. There's a swagger in his voice that often suits the tough-guy narrative, though in places the listener may want to admonish him with an "At ease, soldier." D.B.
(c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine [Published: APR/MAY 04]