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Comment: Ex-library copy with copy number on base; marked out ownership stamp on inside cover; no other marks found; text is bright and unmarked; spine is strong.
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The Good War Paperback – January 1, 1984


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 589 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; 1ST edition (1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565843436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565843431
  • ASIN: B000N8GX0A
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Studs Terkel (1912-2008) was a free spirit, an outspoken populist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a terrible ham, and one of the best-loved characters on the American scene. Born in New York in 1912, he lived in Chicago for over eight decades. His radio show was carried on stations throughout the country.

Customer Reviews

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I started reading this book and was hooked, and I mean hooked!
iheartevil
With this recommendation I accepted the agreement and found one of the most interesting and entertaining books I have ever read.
Joe Jacobs
Those books, and many others like them, are very good - but the people in them are all larger than life.
William Sugarman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Rodney Meek VINE VOICE on December 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a collection by noted author Studs Turkel of oral accounts given to him that relate to experiences in World War II. There are many of these vignettes, and they cover a lot of ground. Turkel has carefully gathered tales from combatants and non-combatants alike. Included in the latter category are reminiscences from Japanese-Americans who were placed in West Coast internment camps, conscientious objectors, "Rosie the Riveters", senior civil servants, wives of soldiers serving overseas, and workers in the Manhattan Project. As for the warriors, Turkel draws from both the European and Pacific theaters, and from various ranks in all of the military branches, and from several of the warring nations.
What I found most surprising was the significant degree of disappointment and disillusionment expressed by many of the interviewees. Far more of these people than I would have expected felt the war was unjust or unnecessary and that the U.S. should not have been involved, or, having been drawn into the conflict, that America was prosecuting the war foolishly and narrow-mindedly. A large number also state their contempt for the government in the post-WWII years and the dawn of the Cold War.
It is quite striking to see the pessimism and fatalism of a good number of the people whom Terkel interviewed, so much so that I wonder if the author was deliberately skewing his samples to adhere with his own beliefs. Indeed, it's not a mistake that the book's title is in ironic quotation marks; clearly, Terkel begs to differ with those who have held WWII to be a "good war". There is a distinct tone throughout that this was a war that was forced upon the American people, and that many opportunities for lasting peace in the aftermath were squandered.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mark Greenbaum on January 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Good War" has had a profound on my perspective of history. I have always been a fascinated student of World War II, but Terkel's masterpiece led me to completely re-evaluate how I viewed the Second World War.
The book is somewhat deceiving because while it seems light, it is the exact opposite. Many of the accounts given by the men and women affected by the war are extremely powerful, and it is difficult to read through many of them in a row without having to stop and ponder their implications.
There is no doubt Terkel wrote this book to push his support of pacifism. While he probably edited the accounts to make his message more pointed, it does not really matter. Yes, World War II was "good" in that it was necessary to stop the Nazi war machine. But it was not "good" because no war can be good. World War II is often portrayed as this great event, but Terkel reveals the War for what it really was: vital for the future of the world, but devastating to millions whose lives were transformed by it.
"The Good War" is a lot of like "Flags of Our Fathers" by James Bradley. It is shows the amazing heroism displayed by people during the War, but at the same time vividly illustrates the horrors sometimes forgotten when people think about World War II. Make no mistake: I agree that the heroism of our vets during the war is unparalleled in history. I just think the book gives an important perspective that should not be ignored.
If you want to gain a new perspective of what many call the "good war" I highly recommend Studs Terkels' powerful book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By William Sugarman on January 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Studs Terkel's book was on my shelves for many years, and I've basically ignored it for all that time. But when it was time to pick a new book to read from my library, I saw it sitting there - and in light of the events of September 11, it somehow seemed that this was the perfect time to read this book, and that this was the perfect book for the time.
For this book, Terkel interviewed men and women from all walks of life, and from both sides of the war, in order to paint as complete a picture of that time as possible. He has more than succeeded. Some of his interviewees were for the war; a few were against it, even when they were in the thick of it. Some told of the injustices done to Japanese-Americans, and some told of what they found when they arrived at the gates of Buchenwald.
Each man and woman has their own story to tell, and Terkel lets them tell it in their own voice. The grammar, syntax, etc. varies from person to person, told exactly as Terkel recorded it. There are some accounts from famous people (John Kenneth Galbraith, Mike Royko, and Maxine Andrews, to name a few), but most of the stories are told by the so-called common people. And even those people whose names are known outside of this book don't put on any airs when they allow Terkel to record them.
That single fact makes this the best book on or about any war that I've ever read - beyond even such admitted classics as "From Here to Eternity", "The 13th Valley", and "Battle Cry". Those books, and many others like them, are very good - but the people in them are all larger than life. You don't get that impression reading these accounts.
Kudos to Studs Terkel for preserving these stories and letting us see the real face of World War II.
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