Medic!: How I Fought World War II with Morphine, Sulfa, and Iodine Swabs

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9780803220140: Medic!: How I Fought World War II with Morphine, Sulfa, and Iodine Swabs
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Lt. Gen. George S. Patton remarked that the “45th Infantry Division is one of the best, if not the best division that the American army has ever produced.” Such praise came at a steep price, for the 45th saw some of the fiercest fighting in the European campaign—from Sicily to Anzio and from southern France into Germany—and racked up one of the highest casualty rates. Through it all, medic Robert “Doc Joe” Franklin—drafted in 1942 and thrust into combat with no specific training or knowledge for treating war wounds—soldiered on, fighting as hard to keep his men alive as the enemy fought to kill them. His medical story, one of the first of World War II, is told here with simplicity, unflinching honesty, and grit.

Studded with memorable vignettes—of a friend who “smells” the Germans long before they appear, the dog that acts as an artillery spotter, the lieutenant who can’t see beyond a few hundred feet—Franklin’s memoir documents the almost unbearable drama of ground gained and lives lost as well as the terrible human toll of battle on himself, his comrades, and civilians quite literally caught in the crossfire. A rare look at the fight for lives laid on the line, Medic! brings to life as never before the reality of war.

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About the Author:

Robert “Doc Joe” Franklin served as a medic with the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division during the invasion of Europe in World War II. Flint Whitlock, author of The Rock of Anzio: From Sicily to Dachau, A History of the 45th Infantry Division, is a former army officer and Vietnam veteran.

Review:

"[T]his account of Franklin's experiences during WWII brings combat to life. . . . His descriptions of horrific casualties and deaths of both Americans and Germans are vivid, and so are the more human moments."—Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly 2006-02-20)

"The spare and terse prose is vividly evocative . . . I have never read a better description of the mission and the work of a platoon medic in combat."—Robert J. T. Joy, Journal of Military History (Robert J. T. Joy Journal of Military History 2006-10-27)

"This brief memoir is a powerful dose of upfront combat."—Army Magazine (Kevin M. Hymel Army Magazine 2006-06-26)

"Seeing the war through the eyes of a medic, feeling the frustrations, the fear, the helplessness, and the triumphs first-hand, the reader understands what it means to fight to save the lives of soldiers. . . . A valuable addition to any biographical or historical collection."—Sara Marcus, Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter (Sara Marcus AJL Newsletter 2006-11-13)

"For anyone who has ever wondered what combat was really like, this astonishing little book is about as close as one can come without getting the mud and blood all over them. . . . This book is a searing, devastating look at combat, heroism, and stupidity. It pulls no punches. . . . It will undoubtedly rank with the classics of military literature as one of the finest, most heart-breaking, most brutally honest books ever written about men in war. . . . An absolute 'must-read.'"—WWII History (WWII History)

“[Franklin’s] vignettes will help the reader understand what being in war is all about—the laughs, the pain, the sorrow, and most important, the pride of having served.”—Military Heritage (Military Heritage)

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