The Battalion Artist Reviews
“With the 75th anniversary of World War II upon us, The Battalion Artist is a timely and compelling look at Navy life in the South Pacific island campaign through the eyes of a talented young artist who found himself in a Navy uniform. Part of the vaunted Navy Seabees whose Construction Battalions built the bases and airfield across the Pacific on the way to Japan—often operating their heavy equipment with rifles in hand—Nat Bellantoni provides us a unique look at his part of the war.
Featuring some three dozen high quality reproductions of both his sketches and finished art, and backed up by insightful commentary by the author and often Nat’s own words, this book allows the reader to follow the course of the Pacific war with a very human perspective on both the routine operations and the heart-pounding stress of combat. Janice Blake as author, and Nat’s daughter Nancy as designer, have produced an outstanding tribute to a member of the Greatest Generation, and added to our World War II knowledge with this handsome book.”
— Captain Todd Creekman, USN (Ret.) Executive Director Emeritus, Naval Historical Foundation Preservation, Education and Commemoration since 1926
“The Battalion Artist is a great adventure. A gifted young painter leaves his prestigious art school in Boston, and the girl who loves him, to join the Navy and go off to World War II. The belly of a ship carries him to far tropical islands in the South Pacific to fight the Japanese. The islands refresh his color palette and his senses. It’s all here—the daring and heroism that once were as American as apple pie, the self-sacrifice, the fascination with distant corners of the planet that needed defending. Through these lovingly-preserved paintings, we see the world he saw, we cheer his and his comrades’ bravery, and we return to the beautiful girl who waits for us. History made personal, and one of the final unexpected sagas retrieved from WWII.”
— Anthony Weller, author of Weller’s War: A Legendary Foreign Correspondent’s Saga of World War II on Five Continents Author, Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road: Calcutta to Khyber, The Land of Later On, The Garden of the Peacocks, The Polish Lover, and The Siege of Salt Cove
— Captain William Hilderbrand, Captain, USN (Ret.) President, CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation