To Hell and Back is Audie Murphy's World War II memoir, detailing the events that led him to receive the Medal of Honor and also to become one of the . To Hell and Back book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The classic bestselling war memoir by the most decorated American. The classic bestselling war memoir by the most decorated American soldier in World War II, back in print in a trade paperback. Originally published in , To .
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Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. Texan Audie Murphy was the most highly decorated Add Audible book to your download for just $ Deliver to your. The book To Hell and Back, is Audie Murphy's own story beginning in Sicily, and moving through Salerno, Anzio, Southern France and into Southern Germany. To Hell and Back should be required reading in every chancellery, every editorial cockpit and every place where peevish earn your way to a free book!.
Transport land. Murphy, Audie PermaBooks Edition pages. Once in combat Murphy quickly regrets the decision, but resolves to follow through on his commitment. Through experience Murphy becomes very adept at combat. But the detailed descriptions make it very clear that skill and combat training are second to sheer luck when it comes to survival. So many casualties are due to mortar fire, larger artillery, that very first sniper shot that warns you that the area is no longer secure at the cost of another man, and land mines.
Precautions are available for all of these hazards, but none of them are truly adequate. The combination of skill and attrition allows Murphy to steadily climb in rank, beginning as a private and ending the war as a second lieutenant. The book does not overlook the living conditions of infantry combat units - living in a hole in the ground irrespective of rain or snow for weeks and months on end, eating out of tin cans, and fighting trench foot, lice and frost bite. The miserable living conditions are just the backdrop to the primary opponent: Not once does Murphy mention his numerous awards, Clearly, Murphy believed that luck played as much a part in his survival as anything he did.
He was however, the kind of person who tried to control his destiny, doing what was necessary and taking the initiative in order to get through the day. A little piece of Murphy died every time a friend was killed, and soon almost all of his friends were gone. He was delighted if they received a wound that would return them to the rear, away from battle. He sympathized and worried for the lieutenant who had been badly injured and returned voluntarily to the front only to lose his nerve under the intense shelling.
It must have been horribly traumatic to develop such close bonds and to have them ripped apart. At the risk of sounding a little chauvinistic, I quote from the last lines of his book: Has the brand been put on me?
Have the years of blood and ruin stripped me of all decency? Of all belief? Not of all belief. I believe in the force of a hand grenade, the power of artillery, the accuracy of a Garand. I believe in hitting before you get hit, and that dead men do not look noble.
The men who went and would go again to hell and back to preserve what our country thinks right and decent. That is it. We have been so intent on death that we have forgotten life. And now suddenly life faces us. I swear to myself that I will measure up to it.
I may be branded by war, but I will not be defeated by it.
I will go back. I will find the kind of girl of whom I once dreamed. I will learn to look at life through uncynical eyes, to have faith, to know love. I will learn to work in peace as in war. And finally - finally, like countless others, I will learn to live again. View all 5 comments. Nov 11, Marijan rated it it was amazing. Aug 14, Chris Watson rated it liked it.
Spoiler alert Audey Murphy was always a brave soldier. He began with weigh-the-odds courage, but ended up acting like what can best be described as a 'beserker'. He was first in action after Salerno, and was a gallant soldier.
During the Italian campaign a lot of friends and comrades were killed, the Anzio beachhead being the worst place.
To Hell and Back
He even fell in love with a nurse at Anzio who was blown to bits by Anzio Annie. By the time of the Allied invasion of Southern France, he had begun to 'lose Spoiler alert By the time of the Allied invasion of Southern France, he had begun to 'lose it'. He was convinced he was going to die, and was filled with hate and rage for the Germans. Of his two most fabulous exploits; in the first, his last remaining buddy from Italy was killed right next to him by a German machine gun.
Murphy then became enraged, ran up a hill, directly at the machine gun position - the Germans presumably too surprised to react. He killed the crew of the weapon, then made his way along the German position, killing the Germans with their own HMG. He basically wiped out a platoon or so of dug-in Germans, which is a pretty impressive feat. But the next one went beyond even that. His unit was attacked by a larger German force - I think it was a regiment.
Outnumbered, they retreated, but Murphy stayed behind, took up position in a burning tank tank destroyer actually , alternating between calling in artillery strikes using the vehicle's radio, and using its machine gun to fire on the Germans. The Germans couldn't work out where the firing was coming from, because they never imagined someone could be inside a burning tank that could blow sky high at any moment! This action ended up with him calling in artillery fire right on top his own position!
So he clearly had a death wish. The Germans were forced to retreat; this is the one he won the Congressional Medal of Honour for. All of this from an year old kid! He suffered terrible shell shock and psychological trauma after the war. The book he co-wrote is very honest; there's no glorification or melodrama, and he describes his mental state very frankly. It's a real glimpse into what it means to experience battle; and a fascinating study of the state of mind we the guys we call heroes.
I have a borderline obsessive fascination with Nazis and Hitler. That being said - and I'll get to why here in a second - don't start throwing stones at me, it isn't because I think it's right or think it's even moderately tolerable, it's because how, how is it possible to hate anything that much? How is the human mind capable of such blind hatred that genocide could even be considered?!
This I don't understand and because I can't understand it I find it fascinating. This hatred is not exclusive to Hitler, of course, there are pockets of it to be found even today. It's in the eyes of the old man sitting in the booth next to Chris and I in a restaurant.
An old man that neither I, nor Chris, know but still it's there And then I get mad at myself and say, no no that can't be it and think maybe he's lonely and jealous of our companionship or youth or anything else. I delude myself with these unlikely scenarios because I can't understand racism, it makes no sense to me!
However, even today it exists and I know in my heart it's in that man's eyes. Murphy's memoir is NOT about Nazism or racism or genocide, it's about the war that came about in Hitler's rein. World War II, I trust you've heard of it?! Yeah, good. Moreover, it's about the army and the toll it took, and still takes, on an entire generation.
War is another one of those fascinating things for me, again, because I don't understand it. Violence is such a poor solution to any problem but yet, how can you reason with hatred?!? Despite the fact that I believe this: I understand enough to know that there was little option at the time because the truth is, you can't reason with hatred. This is Murphy's memoir of his time spent at war and it's jarring and detailed in it's depiction of the horror that is war.
And yet, he paints an image of truth where the soldiers at his sides become men rather than numbers and for that reason alone this is an important work. Too often we see the numbers and not the dreams and passions behind each of them. How can anything be won at the price of ours, or anyone else's, sons lives and dreams?! They call Murphy's the lost generation and the more I read this memoir the more I understood that, it's easy to say that the soldiers that came back were changed but it's hard to comprehend the level of damage that war did even to those who "survived" it.
I felt that in the way the men talked about war or metals: I'd like to be decorated with a discharge.
They're too decent to blast each other's guts out like we are doing. Makes you ashamed to belong to the human race. And like an old flame told me "the most common subject of topic the night before a mission is whose bed your wife or girlfriend will be warming that night" a depressing but fair fact, the way Murphy paints his fellow soldiers. So I finished this book yesterday and I'm on the bus and I couldn't help but overhear a kid, he couldn't have been older than Murphy's 18 when he enlisted, talking about mixing cocaine with sugar and selling it to some girl for a blowjob This is how view spoiler [Lutsky, the sergeant hide spoiler ] - any name of a dead or veteran suffices here - helped download the freedom we cherish and abuse.
Feb 07, carl theaker rated it it was amazing Shelves: About 5 pages in "To Hell and Back" I thought the banter between GIs was witty, though a little too planned for a 5th grade drop out like Audie Murphy, not that I'd begrudge him a little editing assistance. As it was published in , I thought it could well be the bible for all the post war About 5 pages in "To Hell and Back" I thought the banter between GIs was witty, though a little too planned for a 5th grade drop out like Audie Murphy, not that I'd begrudge him a little editing assistance.
As it was published in , I thought it could well be the bible for all the post war films, but curious, I did some research and it turns out Audie remembered his experiences to a David McClure, a friend and screenwriter.
So that explained why the whole book reads like a script. The banter humorous, if a bit corny at times as it has aged over the years. There's no mistaking the action is packed and the story makes you feel like you are ducking bullets in the lines with the squad. Things get tense when you realize blessed Audie is going to make it and you're probably not, in one piece anyway, but at least you're not one of the Germans.
Murphy preaches impersonal, unemotional, unhesitating killing, otherwise that one pause may lead you down the wrong path one day, and he is good at it. At times dispatching Germans so brusquely that it's somewhat disturbing. Audie Murphy was one of those personae that you felt like you always knew who he was. Perhaps that's more for those of the American baby-boomer era.
My father would always watch the old Westerns in which Murphy acted and he'd always point out, that's the most decorated GI. And I remember as a kid watching the movie 'To Hell and Back' in which the reluctant Murphy was talked into playing himself. If you live in Texas, chances are you know someone who knows someone who heard someone else tell them a story about Audie, and it just might be true.
If you visit the Capitol building in Austin, it is true that you can see Audie's portrait hanging there. Despite what almost became his full name 'America's most decorated soldier', there is no mention of the medals in his book, no boasting, just a tell it like it was tale, and I wished I'd read it sooner. Aug 10, Zil rated it really liked it Recommends it for: The thing that most set this war story apart from others that I've read is that Murphy neither glorifies nor vindicates the war throughout his memoirs.
The pages trudge on like a road march and seep through with exhaustion and pain peppered with camaraderie that's grimly accepted until it's over. In the Army, we're force-fed the name "Audie Murphy" until we're about sick of it.
I was glad to find out that he wasn't a bombastic, self-aggrandizing bastard, to be honest. He was just a normal joe i The thing that most set this war story apart from others that I've read is that Murphy neither glorifies nor vindicates the war throughout his memoirs.
He was just a normal joe in extraordinary circumstances. May 13, Ray Pierson rated it it was amazing. I've read and re-read this book many times. For several years I worked with a fellow who had been a scout in Murphy's platoon Irv Tischler and who was present when Murphy intiated the action that led to his Medal of Honor.
Anyone with any sense, Tischler said, got up and ran in the opposite direction. Murphy was convinced that nothing would ever happen to him, and he was almost right. A number of times he was the sole survivor or sole officer survivor of incidents that killed everyone else.
Sep 19, Fred rated it it was amazing Shelves: Being the author and actor of the same title is great. It concentrates on the Platoon's growing mature, descriptions of battles and soldiers surviving injuries.
Audie Murphy rises from private to lieutenant dealing with "brother" loses Brandon, Errigan, Novak, Swope and more. Dec 07, Justin Roberts rated it it was amazing. This book is what made me start reading WW2 history and military books. Dec 02, Bon Tom rated it it was amazing.
I'll have to go back and reduce a star for some other war memoirs, because this one is on another level.
That's how good it is. Actually, it's right there with Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer, almost a twin book. One man surviving against all odds on Allied side, the other fighting for Germans. This one has its own specialty though: Insane amounts of humor interspersed with tragedies of war. There's so much wisecracking lines documented from soldiers, one comes to think war is one hell of a catal I'll have to go back and reduce a star for some other war memoirs, because this one is on another level.
There's so much wisecracking lines documented from soldiers, one comes to think war is one hell of a catalyst for stand up comedians. I found myself laughing out loud several times. If those dialogues and monologues really happened, the humor must be kind of a defense mechanism that enables the mind to hold on to the last traces of sanity. Otherwise, it's damn easy to go down the road to what the soldiers in this book ironically call "battlefield happy" state.
This is great book. Read it. Holly shit! Thinking about how good of a movie script the whole book would be, I just found there's indeed a movie of the same title, with Murphy in the role of himself, from !
Can this day get any better? View 2 comments. Jul 23, Connie rated it really liked it. Growing up I remember watching Audie Murphy Westerns with my Dad and had no idea of his life before becoming a movie star. That changed when as a teenager I watched "To Hell and Back" and found out that this was his own story! He was the most decorated soldier of WW2. It had been on my wish list ever since.
I recently read this book and it was interesting to read of the war from his perspective. When all of his friends, one by one, are killed you can see why soldiers retreat and isolate themselv Growing up I remember watching Audie Murphy Westerns with my Dad and had no idea of his life before becoming a movie star. When all of his friends, one by one, are killed you can see why soldiers retreat and isolate themselves from making new friends.
In those days there was no diagnosis of PTS Syndrome, they called it shell shock. Sadly he was killed in a plane crash while only in his 40's. Jan 14, Kristen rated it it was amazing Shelves: I loved this book. Sometimes I would stop enjoying it as a well written story and remember that this was an auto-biography. When one of the guys killed his good friend by accident it was heart wrenching.
The way that these men are so close, honest, and crude when death is always at hand, is a side of life we rarely live. Audie is witty and the characters are incredibly colorful and real. View all 4 comments. Jan 24, Brandon rated it really liked it. Really different from any other war book I've read.
It's all first person, reads more like a series of extended journal entries. There's no backstory, no history, no maps. You're just there, experiencing the war day to day with Audie Murphy. Makes you really appreciate the soldiers that went through this and other wars, and very thankful that I haven't had to. Jun 04, Chanda rated it it was amazing. I looked him up and was intruigued.
He was the most decorated soldier of WWII. This is his biography and reads like a war movie. I couldn't put it down. I can't believe people can experience those kinds of things and move on. Jan 13, Joe rated it really liked it. This is an excellent depiction of what a Soldier and a leader experience in combat, and it comes from the best.
Analysis, comments and some sound advice from a seasoned skeptic
If you're going to read any autobiographies or first-hand accounts of war, then read this one. Apr 16, Margaret rated it liked it Shelves: You get a real sense of what it is like to be in the midst of war.
Sometimes I felt that it read more like a movie script than a memoir but then it gave the book life. Aug 16, Christopher Taylor rated it it was amazing. Every so often you find a book that stands above most of the rest you read. I've been trying to go back and read older books that I missed or should have by now in my life, and for the most part great books are great no matter how old they are.
But some are simply exceptional, and this is one of those books. Both hilarious and deeply tragic, fascinating and awful, Audie Murphy's account is very well written and engaging.
Its one of those books I read slowly, to savor as opposed to ripped through Every so often you find a book that stands above most of the rest you read. Its one of those books I read slowly, to savor as opposed to ripped through because they are so fun I can't wait for the next page. Murphy is incredibly humble and even goes so far as to credit one of his fellow soldiers for a poem he apparently wrote.
His accounts of his jaw-dropping heroics come across not as heroics or even jaw-dropping but grim and in the moment, simply someone doing what they had to do often in a moment of madness.
His book is written more as a testimony and honor to the friends and soldiers he served with, to their quiet courage, their raw heroism, and their strength in almost unbelievable adversity.
Sometimes it is hard to believe such men could have ever existed, but they were commonplace in the fight against the Axis. Men who did what they had to do, no matter how tired, awful, terrified, or empty they felt. Men who were there and did what was right at all costs. The interplay between the different characters is simply amazing, often gut busting.
Murphy's often unflattering, unflinching portrayal of himself is similarly amazing.
I recommend this book to everyone. Nov 13, Cindy rated it really liked it Shelves: Audie Murphy was a poor farm boy from a little dirt town in Texas. His mom died when he was young and his dad took off.
He scrambled a living until war broke out and he wanted to sign up. Too skinny to be a Marine, too short for a paratrooper, he finally got taken on in the infantry. They shipped him off to North Africa, but by then, most of the fighting was over.
So he didn't get in on the war until Italy, but he made up for lost time once he was there. He was wounded several times, but kept ru Audie Murphy was a poor farm boy from a little dirt town in Texas.
He was wounded several times, but kept running off from the hospital to rejoin his unit. This is a raw book, not necessarily full of profanity exactly, but lots of talk about VD and that's not V-Day, either , chasing women, killing, and getting drunk.Murphy finished out the war near Munich in Germany. At its blast, I scramble from the pit with my carbine. Too often we see the numbers and not the dreams and passions behind each of them. I am conscious only that the smoke and the turret afford a good screen, and that, for the first time in three days, my feet are warm.
As the lacerated bodies flop and squirm, I rake them again; and I do not stop firing while there is a quiver left in them.
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