We Are Going to Be Lucky

A World War II Love Story in Letters

Edited by Elizabeth L. Fox
Notes by Elizabeth L. Fox

Subjects: World War Ii, New York/regional, American History, World History, Jewish Studies
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438470580, 492 pages, August 2018

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Table of contents

Preface—From Letters to a Book
Part I. Training
1. Induction
Camp Upton, Long Island, New York, May 7–20, 1943

2. Basic Training: The First Six Months
Camp Shelby, Mississippi, May 21–November 20, 1943

3. Basic Training: The Second Six Months
Camp Shelby, Mississippi, November 21, 1943–June 4, 1944
Part II. Overseas

4. To the Front
On the USS Wakefield, June 5–13, 1944
Camp Barton Stacey, England, June 13–July 7, 1944

5. Somewhere in France, Somewhere in Belgium
Betty Lou and the Breakout from Normandy,
July 9–September 11, 1944

6. Somewhere in Holland, Somewhere in Germany
Mid-September through Mid-December, 1944

7. The Battle of the Bulge
Ardennes, Belgium,
Mid-December, 1944, through January, 1945
Part III. Recovery

8. The Long Road Home
January 25–May 1, 1945

9. The Final Phase: Recovery
May 2, 1945–June 15, 1946

Epilogue—Life after the War, 1946–1994
Appendix—Names that Appear in the Letters
Further Resources
About the Editor

Tells the story of a young couple in love during World War II, and the difficulties they faced both at war and on the home front.


We Are Going to Be Lucky tells the story of a first-generation Jewish American couple separated by war, captured in their own words. Lenny and Diana Miller were married just one year before America entered World War II. Deeply committed to social justice and bonded by love, both vowed to write to one another daily after Lenny enlisted in 1943. As Lenny made his way through basic training in Mississippi to the beaches of Normandy and eventually to the Battle of the Bulge, Diana struggled financially, giving up her job as a machinist to become a mother. Their contributions to the war effort—Lenny's crucial missions as an Army scout and Diana's work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard—are the backdrop to their daily correspondence, including insightful discussions of democracy, politics, and economic hardship.

Faced with grueling conditions overseas, Lenny managed to preserve every letter his wife sent, mailing them back to her for safekeeping. The couple's extraordinary letters, preserved in their entirety, reveal and reflect the excruciating personal sacrifices endured by both soldiers at war and their young families back home. After decades of gathering dust, their words have been carefully transcribed and thoughtfully edited and annotated by Elizabeth L. Fox, Lenny and Diana's daughter.

Elizabeth L. Fox has served for more than twenty years in a leadership role on the National Board of Hadassah, where her responsibilities include writing, training, and public speaking. She has a BA in history from the City College of New York and an MA in vocational rehabilitation counseling from New York University. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.


"The time is ripe for this love story in letters, polished to a gloss by Elizabeth L. Fox … Because so many of the letters are about routine comings and goings in the lives of the two separated lovebirds, it would be easy to dismiss the correspondence as mundane. But that would be wrong, since they allow us to understand why a spouse is eager to share every thought, every feeling and happenstance to bond with a partner." — Hadassah Magazine

"This beautiful book reveals both the quotidian lives on the military and home front as well as big political issues of the day like the death of Mussolini and the fight against fascism. Throughout it all, the reader gets glimpses of American society through a first-generation Jewish American perspective as they comment on the mundane details of daily finances as well as looming issues like racial politics in the wartime United States. The result is a pure joy and a window into a lost world." — David Shneer, author of Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust

"This remarkable collection of letters gives us a unique glimpse into the experiences of a World War II soldier and his wife on the home front. The correspondences between Lenny and Diana are both relatable and fascinating—full of funny anecdotes, powerful impressions of combat, profound insights into human nature, and a shared hope for a better world. Elizabeth L. Fox, the daughter of the letter writers, has edited this collection beautifully, vividly bringing to life a deeply personal love story within the dramatic context of a world war. From page one, we find ourselves rooting for this couple—for their commitment to fighting for justice, for their daily triumphs and struggles as soldiers and parents, and, ultimately, for them to be 'lucky' enough to hold each other again in a time of peace." — Andrew Carroll, editor of War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars

"At the heart of this fascinating and educational tale about a soldier and his wife during wartime is a wonderful love story. Lenny and Diana become relatable almost immediately. Their excitement at their experiences—the eagerness with which they anticipate their few reunions, the battles he is in, the pregnancy and birth of their daughter—draws readers in and allows them to live through the era as ordinary people experienced it day in and day out." — Richard Aquila, author of Home Front Soldier: The Story of a GI and His Italian American Family During World War II

"This is a truly remarkable story, contextualized just enough by the editor to provide the reader with a sufficient understanding of the history of the times without taking away the daily realities of a young couple making their way through letters and the occasional souvenir, till their final reunion. It pulls you in in such a way that you will not want to put the book down until the finish." — Melissa Suzanne Fisher, author of Wall Street Women

"The correspondence of Lenny and Diana is a compelling account of the war though the eyes of an American soldier in Europe and his wife who stayed in the United States. The drama centers on the birth of their first child in America and Lenny's increasingly dangerous war. Lenny was to go on to become an eminent scholar of John Milton, and these letters show the young scholar at work, struggling to obtain research materials while recovering from serious injuries sustained at the Battle of the Bulge." — Gordon Campbell, University of Leicester

"Is there any genre of writing more immediate and soul-bearing than the love letter? In We Are Going to Be Lucky, Elizabeth L. Fox allows us inside the lives of one New York couple as they endure the challenges of living apart through World War II—Lenny from the battlefront and Diana at home in Brooklyn. From arduous training to the difficulties of factory work, from the hopefulness of pregnancy to a near-fatal injury and painful convalescence, this carefully edited collection of correspondence reveals the pain, sacrifice, and everyday struggles—and magnanimity—of the Greatest Generation, and the universal beauty of human connection." — Julie Scelfo, author of The Women Who Made New York