This book contains the text of actual letters received by Tom Brokaw, in response to his original successful book "The Greatest Generation." Letters written by and to soldiers, wives, families and friends give a first hand account of WW II and great insight into the WW II generation, as they lived through the depression, went and returned from battle, and came home often finding that their lives would be changed forever. Many of the letters were written at the battlefront, others at the kitchen table, and paint a true picture of the scene for the reader. Families of many of the forgotten heros were anxious to pass these gems kept in old boxes and dresser drawers, on for others to examine. Readers will experience a variety of emotions as they peruse these irreplaceable jewels from love to loss, loneliness to joy. It doesn't matter if the reader agrees with how and what took place or doesn't, but every human being can learn and benefit from the experiences of these people and their families. A great reading experience, and one that you won't soon forget. Read it, and encourage others to do so.
on January 3, 2000
How wonderful it is, as a result of Brokaw's first book, that so many communication barriers have broken down and that so many people have shared their previously untold stories with us. I was moved beyond words by so many of these first-hand accounts. As a 47 year-old daughter of a WWII veteran who has never spoken of his wartime experiences, Brokaw's books have provided me with a deeper respect for and understanding of my dad. This past November I viewed Veterans Day in a way I had never done before. Thank you, Tom Brokaw, for contributing so significantly to our appreciation of this generation.
on December 10, 1999
In 1987, my mother, brother, and I walked through the American Military Cemetary in Luxumburg - where thousands of men are buried from the Battle of the Bulge. It is a peaceful, dignified place. We met a women who had finally found the grave of her brother who had died in the battle more than 40 years before. I cried for these men who gave the supreme sacrifice nine years before I was born. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you, Mr. Brokow, for a well written book that gives honor where honor is due.
on January 21, 2000
I Sent Mt. Brokaw a short essay in response to his first WWII Book Greatest Generation. Several months later his office contacted me for permission to use my essay in his new book. I agreed and a version of my essay appears on pages 191-92.
It was never my intention to write to him for publication. I was telling him a story in return for his telling a large number in his book.
I note that he says that he received many manuscripts fomr vets like me. I visited a the National Archives (College Park Maryland)and ther Library of Congress. Neither one had a place to receive and protest manuscripts like the ones Mr. Brokaw received.
If we are, as he contends, the Greatest Generation, then that which documents our "greatness" deserves to be preserved.
After all the Library of Congress has all of Adolph Hitler's papers How about us?
Great Book Mr. Brokaw and in the right spirit of things. Mr. Brokaw, in lucid English and great sense of editing and selection serves well those old WWII GI's to whom he attributes greatness.
on December 2, 1999
I have heard so many stories from my deceased father that I felt so familiar with all of this. I only wish I had know Tom Brokaw was writing this book. I have an incredible letter written by my father, who flew a bomber in WWII. The letter was written after the troops were not allowed any contact with home, it describes their flights, and happenings in awesome detail.
There is absolutely nothing that is less than superlative about this book. Mr. Brokaw has at once paid tribute to those who do not receive our thanks often enough, and has ensured these men and women and what they gave to us is never forgotten. I am one of the thirty-something's that were a group who were felt may not be interested or moved by these stories. It is not possible to experience every emotion from joy to despair, and finally horror as this book is read. To those who say we take what we have for granted, they are, for the most part correct. Over 274,000 men and women died in WWII alone to preserve what they had then, and then passed to us a Country that was so loved, that immigrants would arrive here, turn around and risk and lose their lives for their new home, many times fighting their original birthplaces! I don't know a stronger way for someone to endorse this Country. And in the last Presidential Election only 43% of those with the gift of freedom to choose their leaders bothered to do so. I was astounded by the men of the "Sweet 16" who's story I never knew. These men, these black men, fought for their Country, the same Country that allowed Prisoners Of War, to use facilities that were denied to them due to the color of their skin! What is the word for that? Patriotism, not even close. Read the words of Walter Morris of the "Sweet 16", and then try not to place him on a hero's pedestal. "Hispanics" produced 12 Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients. Women served at the front lines, and were as exposed to combat danger as the men. And many of them never came home. Why does it take a war to create moments, hours, and days, that we do not experience every day? A Rabbi giving council and comfort to non-Jews, Protestant Ministers doing the same for a Jewish or a Catholic soldier, a Priest doing likewise. There is no word in my opinion that can describe the Rabbi that placed his hand into the "Fertilizer" that were once Families. Maybe there would be words if the Holocaust were an entirely unique event, instead of a recurring event to this day. Hitler referred to the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Turks, and the fact that "who remembers?" when a general expressed concern as to how they could possibly carry out such evil as they had planned for the Jews. Horror, evil, read "The Rape of Nanking", very tough to read through. Stalin's slaughter of tens of millions, The Khmer Rouge slaughter of Cambodians, Hutu And Tutsi of Africa just a few short years ago, and the "Former Yugoslavia" with the hideous phrase "Ethnic Cleansing" is still not really over. There need be no worry that this "Greatest" generation, those that came before and after, and who fought for their Country will be ever be forgotten. Mr. Brokaw has set in motion a wave of remembrance, the fact that every day we need realize what we have, and what we could have lost. A sad revelation is that we who owe what we have, have allowed the erosion of respect to the point that Veterans must seek a Constitutional Amendment so the Flag Of The United States, the flag they fought under and for, should not be allowed to be burned by those who's ability to express themselves is so impaired that burning a flag is the best they can do. A mindless, offensive act will always draw attention. The idea that burning the flag is a freedom is difficult to deny. But what is worse are the generations who are so bereft of respect, they burn a symbol that represents the freedom for their hostile behavior. If we all could understand our History and not just know it as facts of the past, Flag-Burning would be a non-issue. Democracy is the most demanding form of citizenship; it is not one that suffers passive or oppressive behavior. (The words that follow are a mix of quotes, and for that I apologize.) "Democracy is advanced citizenship, it will demand that you stand in rage and silence, while a fellow citizen advocates something that you would spend your lifetime resisting" Sir Winston Spencer Churchill (half American) "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time" 11/11/47
on January 10, 2000
Have you ever told someone from The Greatest Generation thank you for all they endured during those years from 1941-1945? Read this book and you will discover more than enough reasons to appreciate the contributions of men and women, blacks and whites during the War Years. Was everything perfect? No, but they all worked to make things better for the world. Read the book and understand.