This book should come with a warning to the effect of DO NOT DRINK COFFEE, BEER, SODA OR ANYTHING ELSE WHILE READING THIS BOOK. It’s hysterical! It’s also true!
What got my attention was something the author said. After reading the book, I have to agree one hundred percent with him. He said that if the OSS hadn’t picked him up, he’d probably have been shot for insubordination. These guys made Hawkeye Pierce and the gang on M*A*S*H look like soldiers of the year. Yet, they got the job done.
For those of you who don’t know it, the WW II OSS was the forerunner of today’s CIA. Using operatives trained to work behind enemy lines with partisans and the like, these young men went in and gave the Nazis and Japanese a serious bellyache.
But reading this book makes me wonder if comedy wasn’t one of their central weapons. I’ve met men who were in the OSS, and never once gave any thought to their training and so on. They always struck me as tough guys.
Tough guys with a sense of humor! I read this, and honestly, I haven’t laughed this much in years. Hall recounts the training, some of which sounds like the instructors were ex-mafia types, others where their superior officers didn’t have a clue what they were doing. Granted, things were at an early stage in the development of the OSS, and so we have an organization sometimes in search of a mission. Chaos ensues along the way.
This book is well worth the read. It’s funny, irreverent, but a worthy bow to the men who worked behind the lines to help win the war.