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War through the Hole of a Donut


MADISON, Wis. – They were some of the unsung heroes of World War II. The American National Red Cross volunteers brought hope, a steaming cup of coffee, smiles and their famous donuts to the young men and women stationed throughout the battle zones of Europe.

In diary entries and a series of letters to her friends and family back home, Angela Petesch has captured the experience of living in “small, uncelebrated villages” in the book, War Through the Hole of a Donut (ISBN 0-9744143-2-8, $15.95). Petesch spent 27 months with the Red Cross bringing the organization’s support via Clubmobiles to soldiers in isolated areas.

Readers will chuckle at Petesch’s description of the Army’s latrines as “plushless, blushless and flushless.” The chaplain was referred to as “G.I. Jesus.” Being able to drive a 2˝ ton truck, live in tents and talk about tanks, rifles and airplanes earned them the respect of the male soldiers.

May 21, 2006 marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the American Red Cross. Petesch’s account will reclaim an underreported part of World War II history. The 236-page book includes 12 black and white photos and the famous Red Cross donut recipe.

Before joining the war effort, Angela Petesch was a features writer for the Chicago Tribune. She later became a jewelry designer and sales rep in the California fashion industry.


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