“Up Front” is a collection of Bill Mauldin’s World War II cartoons featuring Willie and Joe, a pair of dogged infantrymen, who are tired and dirty all the time. Bill was a friend of mine, and when UPI assigned me to cover the Vietnam War in 1965, I called him for advice. “Get a couple of bottles of good wine and come over here.” I did, and we promptly drank the wine. “What the hell do I do,” I pleaded with him. “Take care of your feet,” came the reply. “That’s it?” I slurred. “Yep, that’s it.” It was the best advice I ever had.
“Up Front” is a wonderful collection of drawings showing the truth of being an infantryman. It is done with love, caring, and great accuracy. Forget the generals, colonels, and brass. The infantryman is the basic unit of failed diplomacy and is tough, smart, and adaptive, and willing to give up his life to save his friends. Bill holds a brilliant mirror to these men. He showed us truth. Not only about World War II, but all wars and all infantrymen.
By Bill Mauldin Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1945