Lila Oliver Asher is a good listener, and she has spent a lot of time with men in bed - hospital beds. This is a tale of the hospitalized servicemen of WW II that the author met while touring with the USO’s newly-formed volunteer Hospital Sketching Program (1943-1946). Artists in this program traveled to military hospitals and spent a week in each. Drawings provided entertainment and had a therapeutic value for the immobile G.I.s who were unable to attend the usual USO shows because of disabling wounds and/or psychiatric problems. “I walked in and found there a silent parade of young kids in white hospital beds with arms strung up or legs poised in rigid marching position - tied up in traction. Beds were three and four deep on either side of a center aisle and the aisle is long - rows of men all lying on their backs in goose-step.” Transcripts of Asher’s letters represent a substantial portion of the book’s text. Letters and narrative are equally detailed, often humorous, and offer an on-the-scene perspective of her times. In one letter she writes: I’m glad you won’t mind being my diary on these trips. It is the only way I shall be able to record my adventures. And a diary that answers is the kind to have. Numerous illustrations enhance the text.
© All rights reserved Lila Asher
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