UP FRONT by Bill Mauldin: Finding Humor in the Darkness of War

From Anne Clare, “The Naptime Author”

Bill Mauldin

Thus far I’ve lived a quiet life, and I’m thankful for it.

Of course there have been sorrows and troubles. Like every family, we have our ongoing health and relationship struggles that may not end this side of heaven. Still, once I started studying history again, I quickly remembered to be grateful for these.

At least my family has a home.

At least my loved ones can get medical care.

At least I’m not wondering where my next meal is coming from.

At least…

However, living a quiet life and writing about unquiet times proved a challenge. If I were going to try to portray a difficult time- for instance life in the slit trenches and foxholes of the 1940s- how was I to do it well?

I focused on finding books and sources written by people who lived through the conflict. I devoured first-hand accounts, and books which used…

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8 thoughts on “UP FRONT by Bill Mauldin: Finding Humor in the Darkness of War

  1. Pingback: UP FRONT by Bill Mauldin: Finding Humor in the Darkness of War – INCEST CENTRAL

  2. Yep, he respected Gen. Patton, but didn’t much care for his “spit and polish” fetish. In Vietnam we were so filthy it was unbelievable. After I got back to the “World” I sweated red dust that stained my underwear (skivvies) for months. There were days at a time when we didn’t take off our boots. When we did (always being wet during the Monsoon) it was common for skin to peel off with our socks. Thanks for the comment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your body absorbed the mud that much! I had no idea that skin could absorb dirt deep into it. It seems the boot situation would create horrible infections. I’ll never take a bath for granted again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • True story, MJ. No matter how much I scrubbed, that dirt kept bleeding out and staining my drawers. Of course, we hardly ever had a chance to bathe, and we mostly slept on or in the ground (our fighting holes). That red clay/mud was something.
        As for the feet, our corpsmen would paint our toes/feet with this dark purple solution. It burned like hell, but I don’t recall ever getting an infection on my feet/toes area. Dry socks were like Christmas morning. 🙂

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      • Yes, I do remember “Charcoal Charlie” from THE PROUD BASTARDS. Keeping from going batty is a good thing and anything that will do it for the most part is worth it. He was a sick point of reference but he was relevant big time to reality. I guess in a way he “centered” you guys.

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  3. Humor is a great balancer. Life can drag a person down so far that humor recedes completely and that brings great danger. That is the time when people feel they don’t care if they live anymore. Humor heals and gives perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We tried to find humor anywhere we could. We called it “gallows” humor. Some of the things/situations we found funny weren’t humorous at all (remember “Charcoal Charlie” from TPB?–We strung him up on a pole near our fighting hole). Today that would disgust me, but back then it was funny in a sick sort of way. Kept you from going batty.


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