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Frank Mathias was a teenager in a small town when the draft swept him into the army and then halfway around the world to the jungles of the South Pacific. He served in the huge invasion force in the Battle of Manila, the deadliest single battle of the Pacific War. As an army musician attached to the 37th Infantry Division, Mathias saw the war from the bottom of the heap, where young privates lived and died. In his best selling book The GI Generation, Mathias tells of growing up in small-town America between the wars. In GI Jive he recalls the gritty experience of combat as well as the music and the homefront pleasures the GIs fought to preserve.

A fascinating account of one soldier’s adventures in the Pacific. -- American Studies

A minor masterpiece that tells how things really were in those days. -- Army

The musicians played as important a role as any machine-gunner, for they kept hope alive in the war-weary infantrymen. -- Asiaweek

A very readable account of a naïve young man from a small Kentucky town thrust like millions of his peers into a worldwide conflict. -- Cincinnati Enquirer

Has recaptured what it was like to make war in the 40's—a G.I.'s frank fear, his innocence and naivete, his uncertainties and ignorance, his excitements, his sense of being a helpless, even meaningless pawn of the generals, and his ultimate sense of growth and achievement. -- Journal of Philippine Studies

Will surely stand as one of the best war memoirs written by a Kentuckian. -- Lexington Herald-Leader

Mathias has recreated the experiences of a small town boy who became a man under the stress of war. -- Military History Review

A true gem among works of its kind and belongs in every serious World War II collection. -- Ohio History

A well-written and unusual account of the latter part of the war in the Pacific, combining the reminiscences of a participant with the sensitivity of a historian. -- Ohioana Quarterly

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Frank Mathias, World War II, Bandsmen, Army musicians, Soldiers


Military History

GI Jive: An Army Bandsman in World War II
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