Review — ANGELS OF BASTOGNE by Glenn H. Ivers (Liberia)


Angels of Bastogne: A Remembrance of World War II
by Glenn H. Ivers (Liberia 1974-1976)
Peace Corps Writers
February 2022
web site:
315 pages
$19.95 (paperback), $9.95 (Kindle)

Reviewed by Philip Fretz (Sierra Leone 1967–69)

Angels of Bastogne is an exceptionally comprehensive telling of the conditions faced by a team of medical personnel in WWII.  Although it deals with one battlefront over the course of only several days, it is an emotionally riveting account.

As Bastogne, Belgium is surrounded and under siege, desperate conditions in a makeshift aid station overcrowded with wounded bring out a level of dedication and compassion inconceivable in any other situation. The American Army doctor and the Belgian nurses who are the chief protagonists of the story turn to each other for emotional support in the face of unrelenting bloodshed and trauma. Together, they overcome exhaustion and despair to find the courage to face another day.

Outside the aid station and across town, citizens face deprivation with grim stoicism as they hunker down in basement shelters. On the defensive perimeter, soldiers hug the ground in ditches and foxholes hoping for the relief and reinforcement of the town. The terror and tension that build in the story are alleviated by love and camaraderie on the one hand, and by moments of incongruous happenstance and humor on the other. The tears, laughter, suspense, and drama that meet the readers at every turn of the page, and the loves, desires, hopes and dreams of multiple characters in the face of fear, make Angels of Bastogne a most compelling read.

Moreover, the juxta-positioning of the timing in the story, wartime in the 1940s and fifty years after the battle at a reunion of the combatants, makes one realize that wartime experiences don’t end with an armistice. Time cannot erase the bonds forged under fire that had a direct bearing on chances of survival. Even after the passage of so many years, the anguish of losing comrades remains. Some wounds, whether physical or cerebral, never heal. Only the act of remembrance brings redemption.

Sadly, given the current state of affairs in Europe in 2022, this book is a truthful rejoinder of how history is repeated, despite the pain and sorrow it triggers. Just as bombs fall indiscriminately upon Ukraine today, innocent Bastogne townspeople, women and children were collateral damage in 1944, their lives cut short by mindless, soulless inhumanity.

Angels of Bastogne left me laughing, crying, and shuddering.

Reviewer Philip Fretz (Sierra Leone 1967-69) is the author of Softball, Snakes, Sausage Flies and Rice: Peace Corps Experience in 1960’s Sierra Leone (Independently published, 2013)



Leave a comment
  • Congratulations and Thank you for sharing! Just ordered the book. Looking forward to reading it.
    Also would like to read Philip Fretz book also.
    I am also a Return PCV – Tunisia 1989-1990, China One Trainee Summer 1989.

    My Peace Corps Friend Lora Parisien Beign also wrote a book through Peace Corps Writers called The Measure of a Dream about her PC experience in Tunisia

    I’m so inspired by you all and very proud of you all for writing your books and sharing your stories.
    Thank you. Many blessings.

    • Karin
      Forgive my delay in responding to your email. I was unaware that people leave comments on the PCW page.
      If you have read Angels of Bastogne, you know that my topic diverged from many other Peace Corps writers who tell fascinating stories about their time in the Peace Corps. I have also thought about writing about my time in Liberia in the 70s.

      But PCW is interested in any book on any topic by a former Peace Corps Volunteer that meets their high standards. I am proud to be among the authors who met or exceeded those standards.

      I would be very interested in hearing what you think of Angels of Bastogne. Email me directly at

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.