Military Writers Society of America — Book Review
Battle Rattle by Roger Boas
Reviewed by Pat Avery
In his mid-nineties, Roger Boas pens a memoir of his World War II experiences. Battle Rattle relates the author’s war journey as a forward observer in the Fourth Armored Division under General Patton.
Boas, of Jewish descent, was raised a Christian Scientist. Both his heritage and his faith led him down the path he followed. This Jewish boy would be one of the first American soldiers to enter a Nazi concentration camp. I appreciated the honesty with which Boas approached this and other defining moments in his life. Rather than painting himself a hero, Boas opens his heart and soul to the reader, reliving his mistakes, regrets, and guilt.
Even before he shipped to Europe, we know his strengths and weaknesses. He shows us his family life through letters he wrote home as he grew from an innocent, untested boy into a soldier trained for war.
After his first encounter with German soldiers in which he pulls the trigger first, he writes: “The outrageousness of war struck me hard, even if I didn’t fully process it at the time, and has remained with me ever since.”
If you’re looking for a non-sugar-coated version of a soldier’s life, Battle Rattle is a must read. The author’s willingness to reveal his own character brings an added layer of depth to an often-told story. His recollection of seventy-plus-old details is amazing.