Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Panther Soup"

New from Knopf: Panther Soup: Travels Through Europe in War and Peace by John Gimlette.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 2004, John Gimlette set off across Europe, following in the footsteps of one of the greatest armies ever assembled: the United States forces of 1944–45. His guide (emotionally if not geographically) was Putnam Flint, an eighty-six-year-old Bostonian who had landed in Marseille in the midst of World War II with his tank destroyer battalion, nicknamed The Panthers. With Flint’s help, Gimlette traveled back through the war to try to grasp the physical, social, and psychological realities of the smashed and sodden continent that Europe had become. Panther Soup is the heartfelt, keenly observed—and often unexpectedly humorous—chronicle of that journey: a brilliant hybrid of travelogue and personalized military history.

From Marseille, north to Dijon and Alsace, Paris and Lorraine, across the Rhine into Germany, and eventually south through the Alps into Austria, Gimlette provides a vivid impression of the route as it is today, from spectacular landscapes to cities that have risen from cinders. He reveals the ways in which the war is both memorialized and buried, and meshes his account with recollections from Flint and other survivors they meet along the way: former enemies and refugees, heroines and r├ęsistants, children of the blitzkrieg.

Here is an uncommonly evocative mixture of past and present, a meeting of cultures, and a deeply personal assessment of one of the most tumultuous moments in world history.
Visit John Gimlette's website.