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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon July 12, 2001
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.
Please read of a Family who, "adopted", an American who was killed, created a memorial for him, and to this day are in touch with his Family. Listen to a conversation between two men who are veterans of the war, one from the USA and one from France. See if you can read it through without a tear.
There is no end to the thanks we owe to all Veterans of the wars this country fought. None of us today would have what we enjoy without their service. The world is far from perfect, black pilots and nurses fought for a country that segregated them as they fought the same war. Today racism is certainly not gone from this country, and that illuminates the importance of those who fought before they left, during the war, and when they came home. How can you possibly find superlatives appropriate to these people?
Mr. Brokaw and his team and all those veterans/families, that contributed to his books have raised the awareness of ideals that too often have to be sought out from obscurity from the, "ME", generations of today.
This trilogy is as important a literary work as has been written, and it deserves to be recognized as such. For such recognition not only honors those that created the work, but even more importantly it honors those that are the subjects of these books.
Thank you to Mr. Brokaw, my Father who enlisted on his 17th birthday, and all veterans wherever they are serving, or may have served.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
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. As a youngster, I was terribly surprised and thrilled when former president Eisenhower came through our hometown and recognized my father in the crowd at the train station, and called Dad by name and rank. We had no inkling that Dad had met the president. Dad's response was simply that he had met a lot of the top brass, but he never told us any of their names.
Our family was lucky. My parents met because of the war, so my life was immeasurably influenced for the better. None of my father or mother's families were killed or physically injured in World War II. One uncle did experience shell shock as a teenager in the Battle of the Bulge, and had to avoid stressful situations for the rest of his life. From this book, I was able to imagine what it was like for families that were not so fortunate.
I was surprised to see that many of the veterans and their families had never been back to the battlegrounds and cemetaries. I asked Dad a number of years ago if he wanted to go back. He said he didn't care if he did or not (a typical Greatest Generation answer), but my Mother did. So my wife and I gave them a trip to England as a present. They had a ball, and saw many of the old sights. My Mother said that it seemed to do him a lot of good to see things back in peaceful circumstances. But there was no way that we could presuade him to go to France or Germany on the trip. He gave no reason. I suspect that the pain of the memories of those he had known who had died om bombing runs over that territory would have been too great for him.
Since then, I have attended a reunion of Dad's old unit, and was pleasantly surprised to see how much the men care for each other. I don't know of another man my father was ever close to after World War II, but here were dozens he knew well and liked. It was a side of him that I had never seen.
This book contains many memories like these. Often written by family members, the introduction then puts letters from the veteran into evidence at the court of history for us to experience.
You will be powerfully moved by the stories of sacrifice (whether from being POWs, lack of supplies, discrimination, or the chilling experience being exposed to grave danger), loss (families losing their only child, wives losing husbands after just becoming pregnant, and veterans losing their buddies), and willingness to serve (great efforts to volunteer when too young or too old, to volunteer for tough duty, and trying to help all and sundry). One of the most powerful for me was the description of the horrors of a concentration camp that was considered well kept by the Nazis in order to make a good impression on the Red Cross. Most moving for me was the sense of forgiveness that many veterans felt towards their former enemies.
If you know someone who served in World War II (whether a family member or not), I hope you will consider giving them this book and saying "thank you." After a few months have passed, ask them if they will tell you their story. If they will share, why not ask them if they would be willing to let you make copies of old letters and memorabilia so that you can send them to Mr. Brokaw? In this way, we can capture more of what happened then, honor these wonderful people, and pass on their legacy to generations yet unborn.
May the best and most important of these memories live forever!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2001
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
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2001
Brokaw has certainly done his share to bring to the current generation the story of the generation which sacrificed and fought so gallantly in World War II. This is the third in a series of remembrances of those whom Brokaw called the greatest generation. The other two volumes are "The Greatest Generation" and "The Greatest Generation Speaks." These stories are for the most part told through letters home from those who were away on foreign soil and through letters written recently to Brokaw from those who lived through the experience. As in the other books in the series, these stories tell of heroism, courage, loss and disappointment, and triumph over tragedy. These stories are no more nor less important to the understanding of the human side of the conflict as those related in the previous books; however, even though each story is unique in its telling, those who have read either or both of the previous books will begin to find a sameness about this volume which comes from familiarity. That sense of having read much of this before somewhat diminished my enjoyment of the book. If, however, this is your first introduction to the triad, I believe that you will be touched deeply by the book's contents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2001
I originally read this with a copy from our library. I delved into it and read each letter carefully. If you have WWII veteran grandparents, this will help you get to know them better. The letters are moving and poignant. After reading part of this, I spent a day with my grandfather asking all about his war experiences. We cried together that day. Our WWII veterans have been highly underappreciated. If you enjoy WWII history or want to know the people in the war, you will love this book. You will also get to know a plethera of war experiences. I never realized how many different situations and battles there were.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 4, 2004
Brokaw provides another moving tribute to what he refers to as the "Greatest Generation." Many of the letters included here are quite emotional and touching. This book also includes timelines for the war in Europe, the Pacific, and the homefront, as well as the depression, and also touches on areas not addressed in the two earlier books. There is also an abundance of period photographs and copies of documents, submitted by the letter writers. These help to put a human face on the various stories.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2002
I found this book while searching on for gift ideas. I have not read the book but it seems to be just what I need to finish a gift for my father. My parents grew up during the Great Depression and as a result saved everything. Last year I cleaned out the attic of the family home and sorted through bags and boxes of what we now refer to as disposable items such as bags of pencil stubs (did they really think they would use them again...especially if they are stuffed in the attic?). However, being the child of "savers" has paid off. I am preparing an "album of memories" of the original letters that my father, Roger Griffith, a WWII Navy veteran, sent to his parents during the war. I plan to buy Mr. Brokaw's "An Album of Memories" as a companion to the my album. Mr. Brokaw has again made gift giving easier for the older and greater generation. Thank you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2001
I am a 24 year old granddaughter of "The Greatest Generation", and after reading this book, I called up both of my grandfathers and thanked them for all that they did. One grandfather was in the Battle of Okinawa (which I did not know until now), and another taught flight school for the Army Air Corps during WWII. I read "An Album of Memories.." first, so now I've ordered all the other books to read. I really enjoyed how the book was comprised primarily of actual letters sent home from the front, as it gave us an actual account vs. an authors standpoint. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in this era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2008
I,m sixty-one yrs old. My heroes have always been the WWII veterans. I'm stocked with books, video tapes and dvd's of WWII. But my favorite is Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation". I gave my 31yr old son a set for Christmas, when they first came out. I hate to see them(WWII vets) go. There will never be another quite like them. No, never! Through out the universe, we can not fathom what they went through, for US. My greatest memory of a WWII veteran, is when I was aboard the USS Lexington. I was a tour guide when it opened as a museum in Oct '92, in Corpus Christi, Tx. I was wearing my Viet Nam veteran pin. He extended his hand to me and said Thank you! I was perturbed for a minute, but then he said, "for your service in Viet Nam". Those are the men Tom is talking about. It had been twenty-five years since Nam. That was the first time anyone thanked me for my service in Viet Nam. 1st Mar Div. 1st Shore Party Battalion, '67,'68. And proudly served my Country. Porfirio Moreno.
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