Monday, September 9, 2019

Book Review: 'Letters from Bud: The WW2 War Diary and Letters of John “Bud” Brandenburg' (Edited by Molly Brandenburg)

Letters from Bud by Molly Brandenburg

‘We knew something big was up’ June 6, D-Day

Author Molly Brandenburg is best known for her excellent books THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS and EVERYDAY CAT EXCUSES. She is a cartoonist and podcaster and performer (both singing and acting), and now, a biographer. Her father – Dr John Brandenburg – was a WW II veteran, having survived the 492nd Bomb Group in Europe in 1944. In his memory, and for the important historical research data on WW II, she has elected to publish her father’s diary and letters written during WW II and supplement them with her writing skills to create this mesmerizing book. 

In the sensitive Preface for this book Molly defines her intention for editing and publishing her father’s letters and diary entries (written to his mother Edith) between April 1944 and August 1945, sharing his background as he entered the military at age 22 in 1944 - ‘during the time of the Allied Forces most active engagement in the war against Hitler…Allied air support over Europe (most significantly during the game-changing “D-Day” attack on the beaches of Normandy) played a major role in turning the tide of the war, and though the experience was harrowing, Bud wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to serve his country during such a significant time.’ 

That degree of intensity pervades this fascinating, impressive, entertaining and informative collection of letters and thoughts by a man who made a difference. With a fine combination of photographs, reprints of actual letters and newspaper notes, Molly presents the letters of her father, at times adding commentary in italics where apropos.

The actual letters read like an engrossing war novel: real and descriptive is their content. In addition to the ‘insider’s view’ of the war, the letters offer a keen sense of humor at times, compassion, and loyalty that few other ‘writers’ could match. This is an excellent book, made even stronger by Molly’s editing and augmentation. Recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.