Grandpa’s Selective Memories of World War II: From Artilleryman to Medical Corps (North Africa and Italy)
by Anthony Catalino
Merriam Press World War II Memoir
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Paperback - ISBN 9781716120480 - $9.98
Hardcover not available
This is a war memoir focused on people, not fighting.
One day Anthony Catalino's 11-year-old granddaughter asked him if he had ever been in the war.
After briefly confirming to her that he indeed had, he realized that a brief answer didn't really say much of anything.
He decided that there were stories about his four-and-a-half years in World War II that needed to be told.
Not combat stories, for he never saw direct combat, but instead, all of the oblique, behind-the-scenes events which still made the war a momentous, life-changing journey.
Catalino, a retired social service worker and administrator, has a sure touch for shaping his anecdotes to reveal the important truths contained in them.
For instance, when he describes the training of his artillery battery, he tells stories, with no rough language censored, about how confrontational things could get in a group of soldiers from the deep south, New York City, and upstate New York, such as Rochester, from where Catalino himself came.
Catalino's military career took an abrupt turn out of the artillery sphere, though, with an impromptu football game.
The game was played the second day of bivouac in the Algerian port of Oran in northern Africa.
A sharp turn made to evade a tackle led to his foot sliding across the loose stones, twisting his right knee and tearing the ligaments.
This led to him being placed on limited service for the rest of the war.
Ending up a medical technician he witnessed the endless streams of wounded, mangled soldiers coming into the provisional hospital in Florence, where Catalino was stationed for a long stretch before moving farther west and north as the war went into its closing phases.
100 6x9-inch pages. 36 photos.
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