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Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite
The title So Long Bob: A Pennsylvania Farm Boy's Letters Home from the War perfectly describes what this book is about. Shortly before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Bob Berkey, who lived in a small town in Pennsylvania, was drafted and served his country. This book consists of Bob’s letters home to his family and much more. The writer, Brian Berkey, wisely provides the background to the U.S. involvement in World War II, and that information alone is extremely interesting and valuable. Furthermore, he continues to intersperse major events of the war with Bob’s letters to ensure that readers always know the context. He also provides stories from local newspapers and mixes in diary entries from Bob’s mother. There are also some photos and maps to help readers further understand the context.
I wish every young person, in particular, could read this book. It’s terrific. Brian Berkey has accomplished a superb task and done the world a huge favor by compiling So Long Bob: A Pennsylvania Farm Boy's Letters Home from the War. I kept thinking of The Greatest Generation as I read. Many people might think of Berkey's compilation as a history book, but it’s much more than that. It’s a keen insight into the events of World War II and how the war affected not only the world but a family. One factor I found to be most useful is how Berkey understands that history must be presented in small bits, so he divides each historical entry into short time periods. I highly recommend Berkey’s excellent work. I hope it gets a large distribution and readership.