Alfred

The Quiet History of a World War II Infantryman

Non-Fiction - Memoir
383 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2020
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Author Biography

Louise Endres Moore wrote "Alfred: The Quiet History of a World War II Infantryman," a story which evolved after she learned her 83-year-old father had been a heavy weapons machine gunner in addition to his simple acknowledgement as a barber, chauffeur, and translator.

Raised with seven siblings on a farm of adventures in Lodi, Wisconsin, Louise Endres Moore graduated in Psychology with minors in Mathematics and Education from St. Norbert College. She taught in the Waukesha and Wauwatosa school districts and at Milwaukee Area Technical College, completing a Master of Science in Computer Science Education from Cardinal Stritch University.

It was her interest in psychology that sustained her through the many years of researching her father’s path in World War II and his reluctance to speak of it.

Louise lives with her husband in Cedarburg. Their two grown daughters both live in Kansas City.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite

In Alfred: The Quiet History of a World War II Infantryman, Louise Endres Moore chronicles the wartime experiences of her father, Alfred N. Endres. After completing basic training, he is shipped out to Europe when he joins the campaign in Normandy soon after D-day. As a gunner with the 35th Infantry Division, he takes part in the liberation of Saint-Lô, the game-changing Battle of Mortain, and the Battle of the Bulge. His position in the front line exposes him to almost continuous combat and hardship. Following his discharge, Alfred returns to civilian life. For decades, he remains silent about his wartime service until family members begin to engage him about his experiences. Corroborative narratives from the memories of other veterans, whose experiences followed parallel paths, fill in the pauses in her father’s memories. Numerous photographs, letters, cards, maps, and other documents have been included. An appendix towards the end of the biography gives a chronology of Alfred’s tour of duty.

One of the first things that strike you about this book is the realization that history resides not only in memorials and museums but also in the hearts and minds of our elders. It challenges some of the popular myths of wartime glory, replacing them with the less comfortable realities of surviving in the trenches - cold, wet, dirty, and trying not to get killed. What makes this story particularly compelling is the way it delves into the individual histories of soldiers. What makes it authentic is the absolute priority that is given throughout to the first-person narratives of experiencers. Piecing everything together was no small task. I was left with a very strong impression that the true heroism came after the war, in pushing back the hellish memories to return to ordinary life. Alfred: The Quiet History of a World War II Infantryman by Louise Endres Moore is a must for amateur historians with a particular interest in World War Two, but it probably needs a trigger warning, as some details may upset sensitive readers.

Katherine

This book was life-changing for me. It made me completely change my perspective on the sacrifice of war, and the pain hidden beneath the surface of so many American citizens following World War II. It was so thoughtfully researched and beautifully written - I couldn't put it down. It's funny, its charming, it's historical, it's raw, and it's heartbreaking. Thank you for showing us behind the curtain of your father's experience.

Bruce Kirking

Such a good book that I can’t wait to read it again!