Author: Stephen J. Weiss

Publisher: Military History Publishing

ISBN-13: 978-1-78039-232-5

War is Hell. In his memoir, Second Chance, Stephen J. Weiss has been through that Hell and so much more, reliving his eleven months in the U.S. Army as a First Scout soldier during World War II and recalling his post-traumatic events after it.

This riveting paperback book of three hundred and ninety-six pages has a brown and white photograph of a barrage of war soldiers on the front cover with three reviews written against a faded men-in-the-trenches scene on the back. Beside the dedication, table of contents, list of figures, acknowledgements, introduction and prologue at the beginning of the book, it has forty-three page epilogue, citations and awards page, a glossary and index. There are several black and white photographs, mainly of the author during the war and his many well-deserved medals. No grammatical or typographical errors were noticed. Some of the war scene depictions, sexual encounters and minor profanities may be unsuitable for a young reader.

This story is about a soldier’s instantaneous, premature climb to adulthood during World War II as an eighteen year old naive male. Put on the front lines in Europe as a First Scout, he witnesses the damage, dismemberment and death of new found friends and the attack of the ever invasive enemy that surrounds him constantly. At one time several soldiers and he are lost behind enemy lines, evading capture with the help of the French Resistance. The shell shock and constant battle fatigue wear him down physically, emotionally and spiritually to the point that twice he walks off the battlefield, only to return on his own due to his patriotic loyalty. With his fragile, fractured emotional state of mind, he faces a court-martial and is temporarily a prisoner until he is relocated due to his psychotic breakdown.

With almost two hundred pages devoted to the war itself and his disparaging, depressive and heart-breaking yet sometimes endearing tales, he writes with such clarity, remembrance and conciseness that one would not have guessed the explicit events happened almost seventy years ago. After the war, Weiss remains in Europe as an Army photographer who tries to keep his mental demons at bay by avoiding returning to reality in the States. The book’s epilogue does a comprehensive job tying together the outcome and whereabouts of many of the comrades, companions and characters of the war years and while he remained in Europe.

Not of the Greatest Generation, this reader was impressed yet humbled to read what a too-young of a man had to bear to become a soldier, rifleman, and day-to-day war survivor during such a tumultuous era. The author writes of each skirmish, each friendship and each quick, passionate romance so compassionately that it brings dimension and factual realization of how war effects not only those participating in it but those loved ones who have to accept or deal with its emotional outcome.  I thank Dr. Weiss for his bravery, loyalty and service protecting my country so many years ago and for writing such an honest yet gut-wrenching book.

Follow Here To Purchase Second Chance: In Combat with the US 'Texas' Infantry, the OSS, and the French Resistance during the Liberation of France, 1943-1946