The Heart of a Soldier is a moving collection of letters from a brave and loyal American soldier; through his words, we get a glimpse of the courage, sacrifice, and love that sustained him and his comrades in the face of unspeakable hardship.

Written first-hand by American soldier George Donald and compiled by his daughter, Eleanor D. Alspaugh, The Heart of a Soldier is a remarkably intimate portrait of the young soldier’s time serving in the United States Army during World War II. The book consists of more than four years of almost daily letters that Sergeant George Donald sent to his sweetheart, who later became his wife, while he was training and fighting with the Sixth Armored Division of General Patton’s Third Army. With added commentary and reflection from Alspaugh, the book chronicles his journey from a drafted private in November 1941 to a decorated 1st Sergeant in an armored infantry company in May 1945, during which he spent time in England, France, Germany, and Belgium until the end of the war in Europe. He was wounded in action once and received the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star for his valor and leadership.

The Heart of a Soldier is a fascinating and authentic account of war, its effects on those who fight and those who love them. Donald’s letters, which have been skilfully edited and contextualized by his daughter, reveal not only the difficulties of combat, but also the humor, friendship, and faith that helped him survive. They also show the deep, lasting love between Donald and his wife, who supported him with her own letters and prayers. Alspaugh adds historical and biographical information to enhance our appreciation of her father’s experiences. She also incorporates photographs, drawings, newspaper clippings, and other artifacts that illustrate the life and times of her father and his comrades. She does an admirable job of preserving her father’s legacy in a captivating way, such that the book is not only a tribute to Donald and his generation, but also a valuable source of insight for anyone interested in history, military, or personal testimony.

The book is well-written, well-structured, and well-researched. But, perhaps, more compelling than its technical aspects, is the story of family and sacrifice at the heart of it. Readers are brought face to face with the human side of war, and it’s hard to look away. This is due in large part to the way that Alspaugh bridges the letters together with her writing, but it’s really the juxtaposition of the letters and her reflections of them that make the book so special and unlike anything else out there. The story told has a certain ineffable completeness to it; it covers the fear, the hope and the love — the good times and bad. It’s truly something special.

The Heart of a Soldier is a book that will warm your heart and stir your spirit; it is a testament to the courage, honor, and dedication of one man and his family during one of the most challenging times in history. It is a book that deserves to be read and remembered.