"There were piles of rubble everywhere and, yet, it was easy to see that Berlin had once been very lovely."

Much material has been written regarding the inhumane horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and the utter ruthlessness of the Imperial Japanese Army. But the surrender of the Axis powers brought its own set of challenges, including the question of how to deal with post-war Germany. In this autobiographical work, the author shares her experiences working in Germany as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army. Gilchrist was motivated to travel abroad out of curiosity for post-war Germany and a patriotic love of serving her country. When she departs for Germany, the Nuremberg trials had already begun. The first impression one gets from Gilchrist's recollections is that of sheer chaos. She learns first-hand that the post-war goings-on are poorly organized and fraught with red tape. Following her highly eventful trip to Berlin, Gilchrist settles into her role as a stenographer for the Office of Military Government for Germany (US) or OMGUS. Gilchrist worked in the Coal Section office.

While her administrative work certainly served an important function, the highlights of this book are her first-hand experiences of just how desperate the situation in Europe was. Infrastructure had been destroyed, countless families were displaced and starving, and the unofficial currency was cigarettes. The U.S., France, Britain, and Russia each printed their own version of the German Mark, but cigarettes reigned supreme. In the midst of the rubble, Gilchrist falls in love with her future husband, Bob McMann, an Army officer. Gilchrist has contributed a valuable addition to the collection of wartime narratives. The reader is treated to remarkable insights regarding the upheaval of European society through her impressive recall of the details of her adventures abroad. Under her skillful pen, the haunting images of post-war Europe come to life.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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