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During WW II, the closest most Americans ever came to combat was through the cartoons of Bill Mauldin, the most beloved enlisted man in the U.S. Army.
This new paperback edition of the 2008 two-volume, deluxe hardcover set brings together Mauldins complete works from 1940 through the end of the war under one cover. This collection of over 600 cartoons, most never before reprinted, is more than the record of a great artist: it is an essential chronicle of Americas citizen-soldiers from peace through war to victory.
Bill Mauldin knew war because he was in it. He had created his characters, Willie and Joe, at age 18, before Pearl Harbor, while training with the 45th Infantry Division and cartooning part-time for the camp newspaper. His brilliant send-ups of officers were pure infantry, and the men loved it. Mauldins cartoons and captions recreated on paper the fully realized world of the American combat soldier.
Willie & Joe is edited by Todd DePastino, Mauldins official biographer. Willie & Joe contains an introduction and running commentary by DePastino, providing context for the drawings, pertinent biographical details of Mauldins life, and occasional background on specific cartoons (such as the ones that made Patton howl).
Download a 30-page PDF excerpt (2.7 MB).
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Praise for the hardcover edition:
"A terrific collection... With a few chiaroscuro strokes and a wry caption, Mauldin cuts to the bone." Los Angeles Times
"Glorious... this loving collection... is essential reading for a nation in search of its Greatest Generation. Far from creating demigods among men, Mauldin argues, combat exposes humanity's most stubborn flaws... Grade: A" The A.V. Club
"Stunningly produced... The cartoonist's humanistic brush paintes a sober picture of war that a news camera can never achieve." Print
"An amazing and beautiful collection of more than 600 of his wartime cartoons." Chicago Tribune
"Willie & Joe is an extraordinarily compiled and presented tribute to Bill Mauldin, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who chronicled life in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945. There are many scholarly works written on the topic of World War II, and those books can teach us a lot about the war, but anyone who wants to feel what American soldiers felt during the Second World War should seek out Willie & Joe. ... For the man who was once America's most celebrated enlisted man, Willie & Joe is a fitting, and wonderful, tribute." BiblioBuffet
"There's a sad wisdom on virtually every page here." The Austin American-Statesman
"These gritty, essential cartoons everything Mauldin published during the war that still exists is compiled here are the real thing and then some. On at least one occasion during the war, the engraved plates were made from the zinc lining of caskets. That gravity and humanity is among the things that hit you most about these panels: even when every vestige of civility and society has been stripped away, Willie and Joe remain good and decent men." NPR.org
"Effortlessly capturing the atrocious conditions, precarious positions and often ridiculous situations endured on a day to day basis by his comrades, it's easy to see how Mauldin ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize for his cartoons. Combining an incredible work rate there are over 600 drawings in this collection with his own experiences, and infusing everything with a breezy humour, Mauldin paints a vivid and memorable picture of the life of a combat soldier. You'd be hard pushed to find a more accessible, instantly engaging account of the Second World War." Rob Power, Comic Heroes