Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: Back from Tobruk by Croswell Bowen

Title:  Back from Tobruk
Author: Croswell Bowen
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publish Date: November 1, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a history lover.
  • You like memoirs.
What's the Story?:

From "In 1941 photographer Croswell Bowen joined American Field Service volunteer ambulance drivers and served alongside the British Eighth Army during World War II. As the war continued to escalate, he would have his mental, emotional, and physical well-being tested beyond anything he ever imagined. "Back from Tobruk" is the remarkable account of one man s journey across a world torn apart, with only his camera and his moral convictions to guide him. As Bowen watched the number of wounded and dying soldiers grow, he struggled to understand the very nature of war itself. A lifelong Catholic and devoted pacifist, he tried to reconcile his commitment to nonviolence with his growing belief that the end of this war would finally bring peace to the world. As he spent time in hospitals and field dressing stations as both a caregiver and a patient, he witnessed soldiers reaching out to their former battlefield enemies, showing grace and compassion in a world seemingly bereft of both. When the great leaders sit down at the peace table, he wrote of his fellow servicemen, they might take a lesson from those men. Later a successful journalist and author, Bowen never forgot what he had witnessed during his time in Africa and the Middle East. "Back from Tobruk" documents the brutality of war and the resilience of the human spirit."

My Two Cents:

World War II is still one of my very favorite periods of history to read about. I will read just about anything that I can find on WWII. Admittedly most of what I have read seems to focus on the European fronts during the war. I am always happy to find books that talk about the other fronts in the war. I am also always happy to find more books written by people who were actually there and actually experienced all of the various events discussed in a book. I think you get a better taste of history and it definitely makes for a much more interesting story most of the time. "Back from Tobruk" definitely makes this st This book is a memoir about a gentleman, Croswell "Flash" Bowen, that goes to the North African front as a photographer.

Reading more like a fictional book, "Back from Tobruk" is an incredibly gripping and entertaining look at Bowen's life as a photographer. It's a really unique position to be in. Bowen obviously is not fighting but it is his job to photograph all aspects of the war and the people fighting it. It's definitely not an easy job. We get to see how he copes with some really tough situations. He is most definitely a resilient guy. The writing in this book definitely pulls you in. I was glad that the book was written in first person. It made things so vivid for me.

I think this book will appeal to history lovers who enjoy personal stories and want their history told through the eyes of someone that witnessed it!


1 comment:

  1. I really liked this book, too. It's so readable, which is a plus for nonfiction! Great review.


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