I ll Be Home for Christmas
World War II will always be one of the darkest, most painful conflicts ever experienced. History records the horror of war with great frequency, its images preserved so that another nightmare can be avoided--so that we can remember what we should never forget.
But there is another component to war that also cannot be forgotten. Even as the world teetered on the brink of annihilation, individuals were still able to perform amazing acts of courage sacrifice, and love. It was at Christmas during World War II when these acts would gain their greatest poignancy. This was a time when soldiers would be reminded of the most important things they were fighting for, when their families would feel their absence most acutely, and a country could reflect on the victories and losses, both personal and global, that had occurred throughout the year.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a celebration of that spirit as expressed through a host of touching moments collected from the vast archives of the Library of Congress. Full of journal entries, magazine articles, correspondence, and over one hundred photographs, this lavishly illustrated, impeccably researched keepsake volume beautifully commemorates the timeless humanity of the soldiers fighting the war, as well as the feelings of their loved ones back home.
You will learn how Christmas became a twice-blessed occasion for Esther Carlson and her fiancé, Harold, a military man whose only opportunity to go on leave was during the holiday----making Christmas Day their wedding day. You will meet Joyce Edwardson, who gives her husband, a serviceman stationed at a distant army base, the ultimate Christmas present by allowing him to hear the voice of his two-month-old daughter for the first time during a long-waited phone call. And you will see the faith and hope of the season commemorated in makeshift Christmas trees the world over, from the conventional evergreen enjoyed by General MacArthur’s family in occupied Japan, to a tropical umbrella plant festooned with medical supplies in Guadalcanal, to a bush decorated with C-ration cans in a foxhole in Germany.
Examining the experiences of soldiers and factory workers, men and woman, mothers and sons, I’ll Be Home for Christmas opens a window to a unique time that still touches us today and captures in brilliant relief how the worst of times can bring out the best in humankind.