Recommended reads: World War II veteran takes you on compelling journey through ‘Small Victories in a Great Big War’

Small Victories In A Great Big War, by John H. Canfield

Treat yourself to a most memorable conversation with a veteran of The Greatest Generation. This impressive, 99-year-old author has written a compelling, vibrant description of his experiences in World War II. Small Victories In A Great Big War reads as if you’re sitting on a bench in a park with a humble man who relates to you his own part in history. It’s a sincere, unique and sometimes gripping account of such a very intense period. John H. Canfield’s account of his service to his country broadens into impacts on his siblings, parents, family life and friends, as well as a wonderful group of people he served with. The author’s smooth writing style carries the reader through sometimes poignant, sometimes quite funny scenes. The subtle, and sometimes outright humor is charming. There are also scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Ripples of World War II reached the coast of Connecticut and the author’s home town of Bloomfield when he was a senior in high school and Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Just over a year later he was drafted into the military. His experiences and posts are quite varied, and all fascinating to learn about. His start was in a stateside army hospital. He quickly discovers ways to battle mentally the stresses of war, and one of those is finding humor. Part of why Small Victories In A Great Big War is such an interesting and fast read is because the author mastered revealing the humor and sometimes irony in awkward situations, and between people. That humor is laced throughout his memoir.

 The author’s assignments were varied. After providing vital service at the hospital, he went on to an engineering appointment. His interest in planes led to training as a paratrooper, and he deployed to France. You’ll read scenes of his in-the-trenches experience while holding your breath.

High principles and the determination to always rise to the challenge before him propelled John H. Canfield through events and deeds he’d never imagined growing up in Connecticut. His book is how he’s sharing priceless experience and emotion with you. Small Victories take big efforts.

“I quickly learned . . . the most important man in the United States Army was not Five-Star General Eisenhower, Supreme commander of Allied Forces in Europe, nor the three- or four-star army commanders, nor the one- or two-star division commanders, nor the colonels who headed regiments, nor the majors who headed the battalions, nor the captains who led the companies, nor the lieutenants who commanded the platoons,” he wrote. “The most important man in the United States Army was the three-stripe buck sergeant who led his squad to victory.”

This is a not-to-be-missed memoir that immerses you in an incredible, personal piece of history. After 72 years, these adventures of the talented author jump off the page as vivid as today.

After his honorable discharge in 1946, John H. Canfield graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in civil engineering. He moved to California where he married his wife, Neva Mae Sharp, in 1954, settling in Sacramento where they had three children. John had a 36-year career with the California Transportation Department, retiring in 1987. He was very active in his community including his church, local and state government, and veterans organizations. His book is dedicated to his wife, to whom he was married for 58 years. Neva Mae Sharp served her country as an Army nurse and was buried with full military honors.

— By Wendy Kendall

Wendy Kendall is an author with The Wild Rose Press. Her mysteries include Kat Out of the Bag and the prequel Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash. Her newest ebook is Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For.



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