Jim Serchak


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Smashwords book reviews by Jim Serchak

  • That's War on June 24, 2013

    I received a copy of this book to review from the author's great-grandson. The book is a reproduction of Captain Sirmon's diary from 1918. It is not a novel, but reads as a story with the young officer recording his experiences, first in the U.S. training for deployment, then the arrival in France, his first experiences on the front line, and ending the day after the Armistice of November 11th. This is an amazing document, both as a piece of the war's history, but also as the experience of a front-line officer doing his best to do his duty and lead his men to victory. Again, it isn't a novel, and so has no plot, but I found myself flipping the pages as though reading an adventure story. The twist, of course, is that all of the events really happened. I live in the south of France and have traveled to villages all over the country. Every village in France has a war memorial in the center of the town where the names of the war dead are carved in stone to honor their sacrifice. One constant throughout France is that every single memorial shows the greatest number of dead from the '14-'18 war. Like the other combatants, a huge percentage of the male population was killed in five years of brutal destruction. Sirmon's diary captures the end of that insanity in a human and engrossing voice. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the realities of front-line combat and its effect on the men who fight.