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An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation Kindle Edition

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Length: 314 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

Tom Brokaw has turned his popular book The Greatest Generation into a trilogy. After that first success came The Greatest Generation Speaks. Now there's An Album of Memories, a collection of letters and photos sent to Brokaw by readers who grew up during the Depression and came of age during World War II.

An Album of Memories simply overflows with nostalgia. "We were privileged to grow up in a time when honor, truth, loyalty, duty, and patriotism were real and meant something," writes Robert Cromer. Another correspondent, Douglas G. Fish, describes his own wartime experience--and that of many others--with an elegant simplicity: "I went in the service as a boy and came out a man." There are poignant letters from the dead. One reader submitted this one, sent home in 1942: "Dear Mom, I got your package and Dot's letter today. Boy, the cookies were swell, all the boys send their thanks. Not a one of them was crushed either." Almost exactly a year later, the writer was killed on a bombing run. Another man shares "the last letter my father wrote, three days before he died." It reads: "Tomorrow is D-Day at Iwo Jima--right on Japan's front doorstep--we will go in and lay nets sometime during the assault.... I have faith in God to help us through to victory but am prepared to die for America and face our Lord if He so wills it." The son who sent this letter to Brokaw wasn't even born until after his father had been killed: "I read [this letter] every year on Memorial Day, cry a lot, and think of what a hero he was," he writes.

It's hard not to agree with that assessment, and it applies to so many of those who fought bravely in Europe or the Pacific, as well as those who maintained the home front. All of them have their say in this attractive volume. --John J. Miller

From Publishers Weekly

Ever since he released his tribute to The Greatest Generation, Brokaw has been inundated, happily, by a generous and appreciative outpouring of responses from those who built modern-day America. Their voices in his sequel, The Greatest Generation Speaks, triggered even more memories of the American experience in WWII. To honor both these additional stories and the new WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. (proceeds from the book will help fund it), Brokaw has compiled this new collection of letters and photos in an arrangement that is, appropriately, both familial and formal. Most of the selections were written by men who served in the armed forces, but Brokaw also includes letters from veterans' wives, children and grandchildren who have inherited a legacy they want to share. Brokaw divides the contributions into categories such as "The Great Depression," "The Home Front" and "The War in Europe," and provides a brief overview of each period. Although his historical introductions are somewhat simplistic accounts of well-known events, he does include more controversial information on the internment of Japanese-Americans and the racism within the armed forces. But the strength of this collection lies in the engrossing and evocative letters. They document the actual experiences of men and women who risked their lives and endured great hardships for what they strongly believed was a good cause. Women widowed by the war provide haunting memoirs of the young men they loved and lost. Running through the correspondence are the values of patriotism, self-sacrifice and courage under fire that so characterized this wartime generation. 90 b&w photos, time lines and maps. Agent, Ken Starr.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 14103 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (July 31, 2001)
  • Publication Date: July 31, 2001
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1GHY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,073 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on July 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this volume, which makes a trilogy of Mr. Brokaw's work on this generation of Americans, shortly after reading the latest update on the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. I continue to be incensed over the fact that 56 years have passed since the war ended and there are groups who continue to attempt to stop the construction of this monument. Elsewhere I have read that we lose almost 4,000 veterans of this generation every month. The youngest are in their seventies. Who will be left when this colossal bureaucratic snafu is finally put to rest and all legal challenges cease? The Korean Memorial finally was built, and their Memorial honors the Veterans of Viet Nam. It's reprehensible that this monument has not been completed decades ago.
There have been only 3 reviews of this work and yet it resides on the top of the best-selling books in the nation. I wonder why the comments have to date been so few? Perhaps people believe they have said all they can say to thank Mr. Brokaw and his team that produced these books, and the generation that has been the topic. If that is the case, say again what you have said in the past, for these men and woman can never be thanked enough.
In many ways this is my favorite of the three books as the voices and stories come from an incredible range of people. A man from Germany who was a child in The Hitler Youth writes of his experiences with Americans. A Viet Nam Veteran writes with awe towards the commitment the participants of WWII made. And there are even letters that bring attention to men and woman who served in areas that did not receive the attention they were due by History or the books that have documented the war.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book brings the dangerous and trouble-laden world of the 1930s and 1940s to life in a remarkably vivid and compelling way. Almost every letter comes with a photograph or memorabilia that make you realize that many of the servicemen and women were just kids when they moved into their place in history. They wanted to fall in love, marry, and raise a nice family. But first they had to take on incredible risk on land, on the beaches, at sea, and in the air around the world in places that they had never heard of. If they didn't become injured or killed, they knew that it was just a quirk of fate that they did not. Everyone lost family members, friends, buddies, and heroes. If they worked as a medic, they saw more ravaged bodies than we can imagine. Many still bear the pain of their wounds today. Nightmares continue to haunt the dreams of many others. Yet most have spared their families the full horror of that experience. Through Mr. Brokaw's books, we can better imagine some of what it might have been like.
My Dad was pretty open about many of his experiences in the Eighth Air Force, but every so often a new one slips out. I suspect that even in these stories we are getting a censored version of what the actual experience was like. Dad did share the number of times that Luftwaffe bombs blew up part of his barracks (while he was sleeping there) and obliterated his sleeping area (when he was away on leave). What he remembered most searingly were the horrors of the shot-up crews returning from bombing runs over Europe (especially when they crashed in a ball of flames) and officers committing suicide by jumping off the top deck of his ship on the way home.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on May 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Tom Brokaw is no stranger as a journalist and news reporter. In this book, he once again reveals his true character and sheer ability to reach out to his audience, magnetically draw their attention, and touch the hearts and souls of readers. "An Album of Memories" is just as the title implies. Based around the Depression Era and World War II, this haunting book reveals letters, photographs, drawings and other documents based primarily on the armed forces. You will encounter letters written by veterans and their families; letters that will touch your heart in such a profound way that you will impulsively smile, shed a compassionate tear, and become deeply moved by the events and the stories which unfold. I highly recommend "An Album of Memories". Brokaw deserves a thousand ovations for what is destined to be a literary success. It is an intense book charged with emotion and strength, love and loss.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Also read The Greatest Generation Speaks: Letters and Reflections by Tom Brokaw since these really belong together.And they are books that young people will love as well as those older.
Got the books because my birth father was a POW in WW2 and all I had was memories of what others remembered of him and the basic TV, etc., series on WW2 etc. And I wanted to know more about what his generation was like. In reading both of Mr. Brokaws books I also have gained a whole new respect for the quiet nature of these heroes who live amongst us.
Buy the books and get copies for your local library and public school libraries. And if your parents are still alive consider reading them aloud to them and discussing the book, WW2, Korean War and what they remember.
Mr. Brokaw has reminded me that it is true "military cemeteries are full of books never written."
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