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Cronkite's War: His World War II Letters Home Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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"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
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."
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Found it disappointing. Mostly commentary rather than Cronkite's letters. Nor are his letters very informative.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you were around during the 2nd World War, or had relatives who lived through that time in history. You will find this a revealing book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Patti
I listened to the unabridged audio book and found the entire book fascinating. It is over 11 hours but well worth the time and effort. Read morePublished 6 months ago by W. Terry Whalin
The book is just what it says, letters home to his wife. He writes a letter the way most of us do, what the weather is, who we went out to dinner with and where we went. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Canon Customer
i enjoyed the book very much I felt that I was a part of Cronkites life reading his mail.Published 10 months ago by Charles Chasteen
Excellent book that features Cronkites letters to his wife. In these letters Cronkite shares what his troubles are to his wife,how he misses her and his aspirations for them when... Read morePublished 10 months ago by CatMan
Walter Cronkite begins the book by telling the story of how he entered the reporting industry. At the time the Great Depression was in full swing, Europe was being devastated by... Read morePublished 11 months ago by richard e whitelock