I am only about five chapters into this book and am finding it an excellent collection of stories about some of the more common, but vastly interesting, people who lived in the United States during the late 1930s. This book is a compilation of many of the articles Ernie Pyle wrote for the newspapers as he traveled across the country, developing a style of writing that would bring him even greater fame during World War II.
Perhaps only a man who had such tragedy in his own life could discover the wonderful human qualities in so many of the people that he met only briefly.
I had read some of his World War II books (collections of articles) while a teenager. And later, in my 20s, I had the wonderful experience of standing before the monument to him on Ie Shima, off the coast of Okinawa, where he was killed near the end of World War II.
What a shame that the quality of journalism that we and our parents grew up with during the war and for decades after seems to be missing now. The emphasis today is on sensationalism.
Later... Well, I am almost finished this book and it is still just as good as I stated above. The only negative aspect of it lies in many of his stories about Negros. While Pyle tries his best to be "tolerant" and "open-minded," he just comes off as condescending. Still, at least Pyle included Afro-Americans in his columns, unlike many other major journalists. And, to give him his due, it was the late 1930s and Pyle was just a product of his time.
If you can find a copy of this book, read it! You will discover what America and its people were like not really that long ago. And to be truthful, many of us are still the same.