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Cronkite's War: His World War II Letters Home Hardcover – May 7, 2013


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Frequently Bought Together

Cronkite's War: His World War II Letters Home + Assignment to Hell: The War Against Nazi Germany with Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A.J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; 1 edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426210191
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426210198
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fascinating glimpses of a stirring time that was a crucible for so many journalists." School Library Journal starred review

"What a treasure! If you like the news, if you like a good adventure story or if you're just a sucker for a good old fashioned love story, you will love this book." —Bob Schieffer, CBS News

"The immediacy of these letters provides an unforgettable glimpse into how people lived during the most devastating war in human history, and shed light on how Walter Cronkite became one of our greatest newsmen." —Susan Eisenhower

"An extraordinary journey with the most trusted man in America." Kirkus Reviews

“There’s no question that Cronkite’s book represents a bygone era of journalism.” --The Washingtonian 
 
 “A fascinating and informative collection of Walter Cronkite Jr.’s personal World War II letters to his wife." --AARP blog

"Something not all would expect: A completely different side of Walter Cronkite.” --CBS News 

"A highly personal view of the man whose face became familiar to every American in the 1960s and ’70s." --The Buffalo News 

"
Illustrated with heartwarming photos of Walter and Betsy Cronkite during the war from the family collection." --Book Bargains & Previews 

"Tom Brokaw, whose career followed Cronkite's, describes this book as the 'quintessential American story.' Indeed it is." --NewsOK
 

About the Author

WALTER CRONKITE IV is an associate producer with CBS News. 

MAURICE ISSERMAN is the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of History at Hamilton College.
His most recent book is the prize-winning Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes, co-written with Stewart Weaver, which the New York Times called "the book of a lifetime...an awe-inspiring work of history and storytelling."

Customer Reviews

He said they were too repetive and quite boring.
Elaine Anderson
The letters portray Cronkite as a man who was very much in love with his wife and incredibly lonely for her presence.
Andrew W. Johns
It gives you a first hand view of his experiences during World War II--the personal as well as professional.
Susan Verstegen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Field VINE VOICE on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was looking forward to this book. Growing up in Britain in the 40s and 50s I heard a considerable amount about the war and the numerous hardships it brought. I hoped this book would give me some more insight, but Cronkite lived what was then regarded as a luxurious life. He stayed in hotels or rented expensive apartments.

The average American soldier had access to the PX, with all the foods in it that were denied to the British. Cronkite spent most of his time living in London, and would take short periods to go to American airbases around Britain. He'd interview many of the bomber crews and his published articles brought home what the war was like.

However, the British had a term about American servicemen in England. They said that Americans only had three problems - "They were overpaid, oversexed, and over here." But of course that was how civilians saw them. The Nazis didn't give Americans any special treatment and tried to kill them just as much as they tried to kill British bomber crews.

When you read the little bits of Cronkite's articles you can see how he involved the American public in the war in Europe. But when it came to writing home to his wife, he was obviously very loving, but he could not put any details about the war. I searched for nuggets about life in England at that time, but there wasn't that much.

So, as someone said here, is one letter to his wife the same as all the rest? It's tempting to say that, but if you are separated from your loved one you will tend to repeat yourself. His wife was beautiful, from the photos in the book, and he obviously missed his dog as well. But I'm sure there were American soldiers all over Europe who were writing the same sort of things.

Cronkite was no coward.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rita Marbury VINE VOICE on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cronkite's War: His World War II Letters Home does not disappoint in its glimpses into the private life of the broadcasting icon as he shared his experiences with the love of his life in letters home. The book is written by Cronkite's grandson and namesake in collaboration with Maurice Isserman and is a study in respect and admiration, tinged by just a touch of envy -that envy that every historian feels for those who lived in the world we can only experience vicariously.

As you read the letters the young Walter wrote to his beloved Betsy, you see his brave front in perilous places, and can enjoy and admire his careful recounting of moments he had to know were historic in order that the woman who shared his life could share these times with him.

I love this historical period, and read and study everything I can about it. That aside, I grew up, as many of us did, watching Walter Cronkite bring honest journalism into my world, and now I am reading about the world that formed the man himself. It is heady stuff, and I recommend this book heartily.
Cronkite's War: His World War II Letters Home
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A book titled Cronkite's War would seem to have at least two enthusiastic audiences: fans of the late Walter Cronkite, famously referred to as "the most trusted man in America," and readers interested in World War II. The title, however, is a bit misleading, and it's the subtitle that gets to the heart of the matter: "His World War II Letters Home." The subtitle would seem to betoken an appeal to the same two audiences, and in a more intimate, less formal way, as if to say "this is what Cronkite really thought and felt, an eyewitness account produced by one of our most respected journalists."

Unfortunately, however, things don't work out that way, and the reader is left with Cronkite's officially censored letters to his wife Betsy, which are a good deal less informative and less interesting than one might expect. I'm tempted to say that if you've read one of Cronkite's letters to Betsy, you're read them all. That, however, would be a misrepresentation, but not by much. There is an enormous amount of repetition from letter to letter about the most mundane things imaginable. The life of a correspondent based in London and covering the air war over Europe was sometimes exhausting, sometimes frantic in a catch-as-catch-can way, occasionally a bit scary, and, if you worked for United Press, poorly paid. But for occasional exceptions -- firing at a German fighter plane with the nose gun of a bomber and landing with glider-borne troops to mop up after D-Day -- there is really nothing interesting, exciting, or particularly informative in Cronkite's letters.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. M Young VINE VOICE on April 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although we watched our news--and all the space mission coverage!--on NBC (Chet Huntley and David Brinkley), there's nothing I like better than watching retrospectives of the past and seeing Walter Cronkite, listening to his authoritative, comforting voice, whether it tells about the anguish over the assassination of a president or the joy of watching man leave his home planet. His THE TWENTIETH CENTURY was a Sunday-night staple in our home.

Cronkite's news career during World War II was what brought him to the fore in news reporting, but, as for almost every other reporter and every other soldier in the fight, his heart was at home with his family and especially with wife Betsy, whom he was separated from for three years. His letters vividly speak of his loneliness.

Unfortunately, they don't speak of a lot else all that interesting. Due to censorship, Cronkite doesn't write much about the war, except for a few poignant bits, like a few lines about a aircraft gunner who stuck to his gun even when the turret cover was ripped off and was so severely frostbitten he had no face left, or a personal experience in which a buzz bomb struck the rear of the building in which Cronkite and a buddy shared an apartment. Mostly he speaks of how much he misses Betsy (and the other red-head in his life, their cocker spaniel Judy), the bad weather, the bad food, his annoying roommates, the lack of fuel, the aborted war assignments. When he does get to go on something significant, he can't write of it to Betsy except in passing, although we do get passages from many of the articles he wrote about those missions via inserted news stories.
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