"ALL THAT I'VE TRIED TO SAY IN THIS BOOK": ESPECIALLY MEMORABLE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF BRAVE MEN, 1944, INSCRIBED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION BY ERNIE PYLE, SIX MONTHS BEFORE HIS DEATH
PYLE, Ernie. Brave Men. New York: Henry Holt, (1944). Octavo, original tan cloth, original dust jacket. $1750.
First edition of the classic WWII memoir by America's most beloved war correspondent, written just before his death in the war, an exceptional presentation/association copy inscribed in the year of publication by Ernie Pyle to a close journalist colleague, Scripps-Howard newspapers executive editor, "For my friend John Sorrells—who knows by intimate proxy all that I've tried to say in this book—Ernie Pyle 11/28/44." Ernie Pyle was killed only six months after the date of his inscription.
"Brave Men is a collection of journalist Pyle's newspaper columns from 1943 and 1944, in which he details the fighting in Europe primarily from the perspective of the common U.S. G.I. This angle of reporting brought the front-line war back to the families of those serving in the armed forces and endeared Pyle to the troops. An essential piece of Americana for all collections" (Library Journal). "Ordinary soldiers, in addition to a reading public estimated to number 13 million at the peak of his success, revered Pyle because of his humor, sensitivity, warmth, sense of camaraderie, and eagerness to share their mud-and-blood dangers. His unique style combines detail and terseness, objective evaluation, humor, and poignancy. Many World War II correspondents concentrated on politics, the 'big picture,' and strategies and tactics. Others analyzed postwar implications of wartime decisions. Still others clung to high and mighty persons and sketched their personalities. Among Pyle's near-peers, Ernest Hemingway, Edward R. Murrow, and William L. Shirer may be named. Pyle almost exclusively sought to interpret the ordinary enlisted man's thoughts and behavior" (ANB).
On April 19, 1945, just months before the end of the war, "Ernie Pyle died… just west of Okinawa, like so many of the doughboys he had written about. The nationally known war correspondent was killed instantly by Japanese machine-gun fire" (New York Times). "First Printing" on copyright page. This distinctive presentation/association copy is inscribed by Pyle to John H. Sorrells, who was executive editor of the Scripps-Howard chain of newspapers throughout most of the 1930s and 40s. In WWII he was also "part of the leadership of the U.S. Office of Censorship… Sweeney's 2001 book on the censorship office, Secrets of Victory, for example, casts Sorrells as a veteran newspaperman who knew all aspects of the industry and was equally adept at handling people" (Journalism History). In 1942, when Ernie Pyle's column was featured in 42 newspapers, including 22 Scripps-Howard papers, Sorrells praised Ernie's work as 'the best column now being written by anybody'" (Tobin, Ernie Pyle's War, 88; emphasis in original). Sorrells died tragically after the war in 1948.
Text very fresh, mild rubbing to cloth; light edge-wear, toning to spine of colorful dust jacket. A near-fine inscribed copy.