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Reviewed by Tom Gauthier for Readers' Favorite
The Heart of a Soldier is a work of military non-fiction written by Eleanor D. Alspaugh, the daughter of soldier George Donald. Her work in researching and compiling this riveting account of the years around WWII is a study of the soldier’s psychology, a love story, and a brilliant compilation of views by a daughter of the swirling events of the time. Reading a history book almost always has a void. One gets the facts, details, timelines, but one seldom gets the chance to wrap a person in a warm hug, hear whispers of their hopes and fears, their plans for the future. Eleanor D. Alspaugh has broken through that void with her heartwarming, historically accurate book The Heart of a Soldier: Letters from 1st Sergeant George Donald of the “Super Sixth” Armored Division (1941-45).
Reading this personal work by Eleanor D. Alspaugh is a rare opportunity to merge history with the handwritten view of a man in the middle of it, then blend the view of the young daughter who lived through the aftermath to produce a history-cum-memoir-cum-love story into a book as compelling for the reader as The Heart of a Soldier. I wrapped my arms around Eleanor and cheered her every word, her reflections on her father’s words and his personality, and her candid observations of her own feelings as a participant in the story. No single element of this book is in itself an easy task to write: a summary of war history, images of a man’s day-to-day experiences in uniform through training and into combat, wounded and decorated for bravery, and a memoir of a young girl’s point of view. But Eleanor has brilliantly woven all of these into The Heart of a Soldier. My highest accolades for this book are freely given. As her father’s commanders said: "Well Done."