Nelson Column on WWII Soldier Published in News & Record

Tom Nelson, an associate professor in the School of Communications, had a column published Oct. 10 in the News & Record on his reflections of a new documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns. Nelson describes watching the documentary and following the story of a soldier named "Babe," from his days after Pearl Harbor to the battlefields of Italy.
 
While many Americans tend to view World War II soldiers as characters in novels or films, Nelson concludes, the documentary was a reminder that tens of thousands of men and women - people with families, and jobs, and lives they left behind to fight tyranny - never returned from the fight.
 
"Authors don't kill characters like Babe. At least, American authors don't. But it was not Americans writing this larger-than- life epic called World War II," he wrote. "Other people had put their pen to page, and the premise of their story would be murderous and its final chapters dark as they often are in the literature of the Old World."
 
The story of "Babe" ends in such a fashion.
 
"I find myself very angry that a noble, finely drawn character such as Babe was wiped off the page so close to the end of the story, just when you felt sure he would survive," Nelson wrote. "Only, Babe is not a finely drawn character on an author's page and the war that claimed him was no novel. If only it were so."


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