Silver Star Eugene Curnow
Iwo Jima veteran’s book a page turner
I was only going to scan Life, the Hard Way: Up from Poverty Flat. I would be talking to author Eugene Curnow soon and didn’t have time to read it entirely, so I was just going to choose things to talk about. But four hours later, I had to force myself to stop reading and adopt the mantra “Scan! Scan!” The range of stories quickly drew me in. His religious mother who, in fits of guilt, would report her husband’s bootlegging. The difficulty of staying fed during the Depression. The only-possible-when-young schemes and adventures of two unrepentant, fearless boys. The sobering horror of serving as a corpsman (the Navy 's version of an Army medic) with the Fourth Marine Division on Iwo Jima. Half a lifetime of keeping the war inside him, never talking about it. Curnow has written a compelling book about his growing-up years in poverty, his mischief making, his losses, and his accomplishments over the course of 83 years. The epilogue is beautiful.
He’s also not one to mince words. When I thanked him for his service to our country, he responded, “I wouldn’t say it was a pleasure, but it was a ticket to an education that gave my wife and me a wonderful life, free of worries about money, and I’ve been all over the world.”
Yes, he’s direct—and he loves telling stories.