Professor Mary Lou Roberts has a new book titled, Sheer Misery: Soldiers in Battle in WWII (University of Chicago Press, 2021). According to the publisher’s website, “Sheer Misery trains a humane and unsparing eye on the corporeal experiences of the soldiers who fought in Belgium, France, and Italy during the last two years of the war. In the horrendously unhygienic and often lethal conditions of the front line, their bodies broke down, stubbornly declaring their needs for warmth, rest, and good nutrition. Feet became too swollen to march, fingers too frozen to pull triggers; stomachs cramped, and diarrhea stained underwear and pants. Turning away from the accounts of high-level military strategy that dominate many WWII chronicles, acclaimed historian Mary Louise Roberts instead relies on diaries and letters to bring to life visceral sense memories…”
Professor Mary Lou Roberts is the WARF Distinguished Lucie Aubrac Professor and Plaenert Bascom Professor of History at UW-Madison. For the 2020-2021 academic year, Roberts was the Charles Boal Ewing Chair in Military History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Her previous books include D-Day Through French Eyes: Memoirs of Normandy 1944 (University of Chicago Press, 2014), What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France (University of Chicago Press, 2013), and Disruptive Acts: The New Woman in Fin-De-Siecle France (University of Chicago Press, 2002).