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My War Paperback – October 15, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586481592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586481599
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On July 7, 1941, a young Colgate University football player named Andy Rooney reported for U.S. Army training. He was, Rooney allows, not prime military material. He had a knack for enraging the drill instructors with his wisecracks, and for pulling harsh assignments as a result, and his shenanigans got him disqualified from officer candidacy. Still, Rooney survived boot camp and served for a time as an artilleryman until being reassigned to the daily newspaper Stars and Stripes. Lucky for him, too: in 1942 his old outfit ran into trouble in North Africa, fighting against Erwin Rommel, and although few of them were killed, Rooney writes, "there's a good possibility I would have spent all of 1943, 1944, and six months of 1945 in a German prison camp."

In My War, a fine and wholeheartedly irreverent memoir, Rooney--later to gain fame as a 60 Minutes commentator--recounts what happened instead. As a correspondent, he saw combat up-close while honing his craft alongside such fellow chroniclers as Ernie Pyle and Bill Mauldin. What he witnessed will perhaps not please some survivors and students of the war, especially those who revere Gen. George S. Patton--whom Rooney charges with having committed improprieties, injustices, and even war crimes in the quest to secure personal fame.

Though the book is a personal memoir, Rooney has taken pains to square his anecdotes with the historical record. However, he writes, "It is distressing for me to note how infrequently the facts concur with my memory of what happened." (In such cases, he adds, he assumes that the facts are wrong.) Affecting, occasionally disturbing, and thoroughly well-written, Rooney's memoir is a welcome addition to the literature of "the good war." --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Rooney (Not That You Asked), commentator on 60 Minutes, here with sardonic self-effacement relates how he became a notable combat journalist in WWII, a war he calls "the ultimate experience for anyone in it." For the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes, he covered the air war over Germany, the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Allied drive into Germany. Rooney's simple, ruminative style?"The long slow death spiral of a bomber with its crew on board is a terrible thing to see"?grips the reader as he describes famous events of the war: the liberation of Paris, the Battle of the Bulge, the stirring union of American and Russian troops at the German town of Torgau on the Elbe. The author states that "This is a memoir, not a history book," and he goes on to say that though he checked his facts in writing it, he assumes that when they conflict with memory, the facts must be wrong. Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

There is an existential "bite" to the memoir, that I thought was a perfect tone.
Richard S. Dixon Jr.
It's an easy book to read, relaxing despite its sometimes horrible contents, and informative as well.
Robert J. Maxwell
In my lifetime, I've only read a few books of which I could literally say "I couldn't put it down."
Thomas J. McNulty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By mattriv@mindspring.com (Matt Rivenbark) on November 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As Mr. Rooney states early in the work, writing it is was a cathartic exercise to lay some of his old ghosts to rest. This he certainly does, confessing to past sins, relating old jokes, and paying honor to some of World War II's unknown heroes. Being the grandson of two WWII veterans, I read with awe and began to understand the incredible and heroic actions that were standard behavior for the soldiers of this war. I also understand why they are reluctant to reopen those memories and discuss them. While reading this, I begin to realize the amount of history that is contained in, and dying with, the collective memories of these veterans.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I think the vast majority of the people interested in this book and author are because of his fame from the TV and not as an author. I know this is how I approached this book, I was hopping for the biting humor from his appearances on 60 Minutes but concerned that it would not come through in the written word. What I found when reading the book is that he was representing a different person then the one on TV. He was providing the reader with his experiences during World War 2 in Europe and I found that the writing seemed to come from a much younger and more innocent mind then the current TV personality.
Due to this writing style I found that the book was more enjoyable then I expected. The author gives us some very good stories written in a comfortable way that seems more like holding a conversation with a close friend. This book is not for he person looking for page after page of combat action, just the interesting person story of a war reporter that sees a little bit of everything in the European theater.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By William R. Furst on April 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Short, punchy style typical of the way Rooney talks on 60 minutes. Very good view back of WWII as he saw it. Very entertaining and informative view of some historical figures-esp. Gen. Patton. Lots of wry humor/sarcastic wit.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ron Hunka on December 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"My War"
Andy Rooney
ISBN 1-58648-010-3
As well as being a humorist, Andy Rooney is an iconoclast, and independent thinkers are rarely plentiful. When Tom Brokaw characterized Rooney's WWII age group as "The Greatest Generation", Rooney wrote that it was probably no more special than the current generation, which had not found the occasion for identifying the same qualities in itself. Mr. Brokaw, however, has written the foreword of "My War" and speaks there of Andy Rooney's book as a gift to those who did not come home.
This book is the best work I have read by Andy Rooney. I admire Mr. Rooney's self-effacing approach to writing. For example, he characterizes his assignment as a reporter for the "Stars and Stripes" as a "bungled assignment" by the army that put him in the midst of reporters who had written for papers such as "The New York Times" while his own experience was as sub-editor of "The Thirteenth Field Artillery Brigade Bulletin".
One of the WWII-era personalities Rooney criticizes in this book is General George Patton, whom he views as overrated. Rooney slyly claims people who admire Patton are confusing him with George C. Scott. To Rooney's credit, he quotes a letter received, after unfavorable Patton comments on television, from the general's daughter in which she wrote that the general would not have liked him either. Ernest Hemingway and Charles De Gaulle are also singled out as pompous egomaniacs. General Eisenhower, on the other hand, Rooney praises for allowing "The Stars and Stripes" to have the editorial freedom of regular American newspapers.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By DMF on December 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As someone who loves to read about history, this book encompassed all that I appreciate so much in an historical account: straight, to the point, no nonsense telling of the facts and emotions rellenvant to a time in history as seen through the eyes of an ordinary person. Rooney does an excellent job showing to the reader that there was nothing special about him or how the events unfolded for him. He was just any young man dragged into war and left to experience the events as they happened. That he was able to begin a long and enjoyable career in journalism thanks to the war is quite typical of how life seems to unfold (how many of us look at where we are in life and realize that just a slight curve in the road got us here?). Beyond that, it was a pleasure to read an account of WWII by a person who's honesty and intelligent wit are so looked foward to on sunday nights.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on January 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Didya ever wonder how the US Army -- that bureaucratic bungle of millions that made recruits do things they wouldn't do in peacetime, retained some officers who were jerks, took four days of paperwork to release men from the service at the end of the war and stupidly assigned a private whose only prior journalistic experience was a few weeks work on his high school yearbook to the post of reporter at "Stars and Stripes" -- didyaever wonder how these guys won the war?
They were fighting other country's armies, that's how.
Ok, enough of my attempt to parody Andy Rooney's style above. The guy who lampoons makers of personal care products for a few minutes ever Sunday night does sometimes lend his "what kind of idiot would do this" attitude toward the US Army, WWII version. In those moments, this book sometimes grates -- the same voice that illuminates follies with instant cereal advertising and electric tooth brushes sounds somewhat tinny applied against what was a great undertaking.
Fortunately for this book, those moments are few enough that an interesting picture of the war as seen through Rooney's eyes is not subsumed with his sarcasm and general crankiness. In fact, he keeps those traits generally in check in what reads like an honest look at his service as a front line reporter during the war in Europe.
Rooney's book "My War" is a collection of anecdotes. Fortunately, his travels over German skies in American B-17's, with advancing armor and infantry in France and Germany and to newly (as in a few hours ago) liberated nazi work and concentration camps makes for fascinating anecdotes.
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