Available through BarnesAndNoble.com & Amazon.com,
"Another River, Another Town: A Teenage Tank Gunner
Comes of Age in Combat - 1945"
Hardcover (176 pages) and paperback
By John P. Irwin
Published by: Random House
First Edition: 2002
The Library of Congress ISBN # 0-375-50775-2
About the book:
Its Dedication: "To the men of Spearhead 1944
From the publisher:
Many narrative accounts of men in combat during World War
II have conveyed the horrors and emotions of warfare. However,
not many reveal in such an intimate way the struggle of innocent
youth to adapt to the primitive code of "kill or be killed,"
to transform from lads into combat soldiers.
Another River, Another Town is the story of John P.
Irwin, a teenage tank gunner whose idealistic desire to achieve
heroism is shattered by the incredibly different view of life
the world of combat demands. He comes to the realization that
the realm of warfare has almost nothing in common with the civilian
life from which he has come.
The interminable fighting, dirt, fatigue, and hunger make
the war seem endless. In addition to the killing and destruction
on the battlefield, Irwin and his crew are caught up in the unbelievable
depravity they encounter at Nordhausen Camp, where slave laborers
are compelled to work themselves to death manufacturing the infamous
V-rockets that have been causing so much destruction in London,
and that are expected one day to devastate Washington, D.C.
At the end of the war, the sense of victory is, for these
men, overshadowed by the intense joy and relief they experience
in knowing that the fighting is at last over.
About the author:
JOHN P. IRWIN was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, in 1926,
and enlisted in the army in August 1944. He was honorably discharged
in July 1946 and went on to Ursinus College in 1952, eventually
earning his Ph.D. in philosophy from Syracuse University. He
taught philosophy at Lock Haven University from 1964 until his
retirement in 1990. He lives in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.
Included by the author in the Acknowledgements:
"I am indebted to the official record of the 3rd Armored
Division, Spearhead in the West, for certain details such
as specific dates, several place names, and other information
that had faded from my memory over the years."
From the book jacket:
"In the intensity of the action that followed, I completely
forgot about who was doing what. For the moment I forgot how
immediate death could be and how vulnerable we all were. I focused
on the range marks in my telescopic sight, the machine-gun trigger
on the power traverse I was gripping, and the targets I was searching
for. The turret smelled like wet diapers, and time once more
stopped." - from Another River, Another Town