During World War II, nothing connected a serviceman and his sweetheart back home like a handwritten letter. It was a link to home—to the life a soldier had left behind. In Letters Home, Philip M. Coons shares the almost daily letters that his father, Harold M. Coons, wrote to his mother, Margaret Richman Coons, during basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Camp Rucker, Alabama; and his subsequent deployment with the United States Army’s 66th Division to the European Theater of Operations. Comprised of more than 500 letters, Coons traces his father’s remarkable journey from green soldier to seasoned vet and shares how this war affected the world on both a global and individual scale.
As part of the 66th Division, Coons crossed the Atlantic on the HMS Britannic, stopped for a short while in southeastern England, crossed the English Channel on Christmas Eve, 1944, and ended his journey in Brittany, France. Here the 66th guarded the German submarine base pockets at L’Orient and St. Nazaire. Through it all, Coons documents a soldier’s daily life with its sometimes grueling days and nights, revealing moments of despair, hope, friendship, and courage within the midst of war.
A poignant, intimate look at the on-the-ground experiences of a member of the Greatest Generation, Letters Home is a worthy addition to any World War II bookshelf.