to the home page of Joe Desloge, Jr., author of Passport to Manhood, an autobiography of an unpretentious St. Louis kid from a prominent Missouri family. The book reveals his transition from an enfant terrible growing up during the Depression to a sensitive care giver in World War II. As a front line ambulance driver, Desloge loaded the wounded and buried the dead of the British 8th Army and the French Foreign Legion in North Africa and Italy. In lively vignettes, Desloge brings his war years to life, mixing humor with horror and poignancy.

On 3 May, 1992, for the first time, I left an interesting movie before it ended. In the movie A Midnight Clear a squad of war weary Germans is trying to surrender during the Christmas season of 1944. I left after the soldiers sang Christmas carols around a tree in the forest with potatoes and hand grenades for ornaments. The audience knew the old Jerry and the very young Jerry would never successfully surrender. I left because it was much too close to my own experience as a 19 year old.

I recalled the officer who bragged of shooting prisoners one by one because his men didn't want to obey his order to kill them. The fighting was heavy and the Americans couldn't be bothered with prisoners.

It also reminded me of the
16 exhausted Jerries I captured. All they said was "Kamrad" and "Deutchland Kaputt" and the only things they lost were a cheap watch and a ruksack--now in my attic. Even the feared Gurkhas, whose buddy they'd killed just an hour earlier, and whose rifle I'd "borrowed" to make the capture, bore no grudge. "

Joseph Desloge, Jr.

Post war years are vividly related in accounts of mining explorations and repeated travels to Latin America, where Desloge responded to the "kind, gentle people in the back country that tourists don't see." These meetings inspired him to create a foundation for supporting their efforts in family planning to address what Desloge sees as the major problem facing society: "No matter what your cause, it's a lost cause if we don't come to grips with overpopulation."

This is an enjoyable book both for its candor and its ability to capture scenes for a simpler life we all miss in passing moments.

The American Field Service recently reviewed my book. Check out what they have to say at: http://www.afs.org/news/special4.htm#PARTNERSHIPS

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Copyright © 1998, Joseph Desloge Jr.

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last modified 9/3/98