New book explores life on the WWII chow line

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM.

Going in, he doubted that he’d find enough contributors, but to his surprise, each conversation led to additional recommendations of veterans to speak with. Museum historians, Memorial Day events and Fourth of July celebrations also provided valuable connections.

For those veterans that the author couldn’t meet with face-to-face, additional time was spent on correspondence via the telephone, email and old fashioned, handwritten letters.

Understanding that war time is never a popular conversation topic, Whitaker was happy that “bad food” often brought a smile to the faces of the 50 plus veterans he spoke with bringing up stories that contained more laughter than heartbreak.

“They didn’t get too emotional telling their stories, but I sure got tore up listening to them!” said Whitaker.

Topics ranged from soldiers who were fed up of eating mutton stew and searched out alternatives, to tales of fishing with dynamite, to stories of hungry soldiers who would try almost anything to avoid eating spam one more time.

Organization was the key to creating the content for the book and very little technology was used when it came to the interview process.

“I did everything the good old fashioned way,” said Whitaker, “I listened and took notes.”

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