The World War II Love Letters of Sgt. Leland Duvall
Edited by Ernie Dumas
and... A Conversation with Ernie Dumas (AETN)
Duvall was a now-and-again farm worker with a grade-school
education when he received his World War II draft notice at
farm near Moreland, Arkansas, in March of 1942. He departed
in California, where he began to write to Letty Jones, a Pottsville
girl he’d had a crush on for several years. From the
first correspondence through the end of the war, Leland sent
Letty a torrent of letters, hundreds of careful and undeniably
heartfelt missives—utterly tender but never sentimental,
reliably charming and gently humorous—written daily
from desert sands, pup tents, hospital beds, armored cars,
and bombedout buildings. That Duvall’s writing is a
tour de force of wit, elegance, and erudition is all the more
poignant because he was a man who was almost entirely self-taught.
discovered by Duvall’s daughter four years after his
death in 2010, are here enriched by his longtime friend and
colleague Ernie Dumas, who provides facts about where Duvall
was and the perils he endured while penning his epistles,
information that was often missing in dispatches that were
necessarily censored and always guided by Duvall’s effort
not to bore or worry his “dearest Letty.”
lively intelligence and obvious joy in writing come through
every page, joining with vividness the patina of the time
and the bright
shine of a timeless love affair.
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Duvall was a member of the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance
Squadron from 1942 to 1945. After the war, he pursued a career
in journalism and wrote for several Arkansas newspapers, including
the Arkansas Gazette.
Dumas is a columnist for the Arkansas
Times and former associate
editor and reporter for the Arkansas Gazette. He
is the editor of The Clintons of Arkansas and cowriter
with Tom Glaze of Waiting
for the Cemetery Vote.
6 x 9, 259 pages