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A Real Whole Lot

A World War II Soldier’s Love Letters to His Wife

Love springs eternal!  Its’ depth is most poignant when heard in the voice when handwritten on a finally found sheet of paper.  Upon their deaths, the love of Phil and Jack is revealed in some 200 transcribed v-mail and a dozen paper letters found while going through family papers. Largely from Phil to Jack while he was serving in the Army during WWII, these letters provide a mere glimpse of the author’s parent’s intense love for each other during the early years of their marriage. As young adults, they were separated during most of their first 4 plus years of marriage. On the pages of this book, in a manner seemingly long past, is an opportunity to share the feelings that this couple strove to communicate with each other during their separation at this unforgettable historical moment. Here for those who mean the most and treasured memories through that almost antiquated practice of handwritten letters.





Kirkus Indie Review

A writer shares a collection of letters from a lonely black American soldier to his wife during World War II. …

…(D)ebut author Kane found a stash of more than 200 letters exchanged between her father and mother from 1943 to 1945, a stretch of time during which they were separated by war. Phil Kane enlisted in the Army in 1941—the same year he wed Jacqueline Jones—and as a result, the two were largely apart for the first four years of their marriage. Phil, “Happy Feet” as his family affectionately called him, adored his wife and struggled with solitude in her absence, a sentiment he earnestly recorded often in his letters and in a poem he wrote for “Jack.” … The author also includes many black-and-white family photographs as well as facsimiles of sentimentally significant documents and newspaper clippings. The sweetly insistent declarations … are a pleasure to read and, as a whole, provide a portal into an important historical element of the war: the sacrifices made not only by soldiers, but also by their wives and families.


Blue Ink Review

During WWII, American soldiers stationed overseas could send letters home via Victory or “V-mail,” an expedited postal service that combined stationery and microfilm. A Real Whole Lot collects love letters …, offering a glimpse of wartime romance.

Phil’s letters to Jacqueline (“Jack”) range from newsy to amorous. (The title refers to his habit of signing off with variations of “I love you a real whole lot.”)

… A Real Whole Lot is a portrait of a loving, young couple just beginning their lives together as a turning point in American history put all their plans on hold.