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Worshipping the Myths of World War II: Reflections on America's Dedication to War Hardcover – November 15, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Previous Books by Edward W. Wood, Jr.:

From the Publisher

Examines how American world leadership is badly served by widespread misunderstanding of the nature of war in general and of World War II in particular

Bestselling author Paul Fussell on Wood's first book, On Being Wounded: "An intelligent memoir, about one person to be sure, but also a moral and psychological history of the past half century in America. Sensitive and intense, this book resonates with intelligent disillusion. I hope it has many readers."

Bestselling Zinn on the author's second book, Beyond the Weapons of Our Fathers: "A poignant search for a world beyond violence, a quest for tenderness and compassion in one's own life. It is widely read, it could have a profound effect on how people behave in this new millennium."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1St Edition edition (November 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597970166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597970167
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynda Rands on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Anyone wanting to understand the experience of war should read this book. Mr. Wood offers a valuable take on the ways in which the individual soldier is changed by war, not only as it relates to WWII but in terms of how those currently fighting in Iraq may be affected. His discussion of the devastations wrought by PTSD will change the view of many who sneer at those who suffer from "combat fatigue". He is also very good on the manner in which the societal view of war shapes society's willingness to go to war, much as Paul Fussell explored in "The Great War and Modern Memory". Finally, Mr. Wood offers an excellent bibliography for those wanting to read more on the subject.

In a day when armchair warriors reign supreme, from TV to the White House, Mr Wood gives us the true warrior's view. This is an excellent book.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a well written testament to the author's thinking about war. He says that there are four myths about World War II that we need to abolish as a prelude to stopping our passion for war.

He makes some very good arguments, but I'm not so sure that I agree with him.

Myth #1: The Good War -- His argument is that this was not a 'Good War.' That this was a war about killing. Yes, he is right. On the other hand, would he have allowed the Holocaust to continue, to be a matter of policy for all of Europe under Nazi domination, should we have done nothing about Japan's Unit 731 which researched biological weapons by releasing them on Chinese towns? And if not by war, how would we have stopped them?

Myth #2: The Greatest Generation -- He is right again, each generation that fought a successful victorious war has been called something similar. This began with the Revolutionary War and continues.

Myth #3 -- We Won World War II Largely on Our Own. He is correct again. World War II was indeed a world war. Decisions were made early in the war that the US would be the 'Arsenal of Democracy.' We produced a significant percentage of the airplanes, tanks, ships, trucks, etc. used by the Allies. Our combat losses were small when compared with other countries.

Myth #4: When Evil Lies in Others, War is the Means to Justice. I haven't made the transition he has in thinking that the Holocaust, Unit 751 and the other evils could have been stopped in any other way. Should we do nothing in Darfur, Bosnia, and all the other places? I don't have the answer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Himes on March 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
An amazing book I read recently was Worshipping the Myths of World War II, written by Edward Wood, a combat veteran of World War II. Wood was an 18-year-old thrown into battle in France after D-Day in June of 1944 with virtually no military training. He was severely wounded -- within a few days of arriving in the midst of the war -- and he spent the rest of his life living with the consequences, with terrible physical pain and suffering as well as deep psychological injuries.

Wood begins his book by acknowledging that he was haunted by an irresolvable conflict: "I knew on the one hand that the war had to be fought so as to preserve the nation and the democracy I so loved... On the other hand, to the flesh and heart of me, I knew the horror of that war: the stark terror of combat; the wounds that changed my life forever; childhood friends killed or badly maimed; battle fatigue; the murderous destruction of English, German, and Japanese cities from the air; the shock of atomic weaponry; and the death of millions of innocent civilians, mostly women and children, in the Holocaust and the war's other atrocities."

Wood writes that he was saddened, and then suddenly angry, as he watched the harsh reality of the war become softened, sweetened, by a set of myths. One of those myths was that WWII constituted a "good war" -- as if any war could be considered good regardless of whether it could be justified or defended as a way to deal with some terrible reality. And another myth was that great evil in the world invariably lies outside of us and our country, and war is the only means available to deal justly with that evil.

Only when I read Wood's book did I understand how war had been framed for me, for my culture and my country, for all of my life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Illiniguy71 on August 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I view this book as informative, of essential importance, and even inspiring. After many years of reading, I, too, have come to believe that the reason the United States so often attempts a military solution to a foreign difficulty is that our comparatively easy victory in the Second World War caused us to draw some false lessons. It was our victory in WWII along with victory in the 40 year-long armed stand-off with the Soviet Union that has led us to think of ourselves as the world's military policeman. We have reached the point where we have as much military spending as the rest of the world combined and where we can no longer afford vital social services and prepairs and modernization of our public infrastructure, in part due to our military spending.
Our whole economy is so dependent upon military spending, our (false) fear of foreign enemies is so prevasive, and general militarism is now so deeply ingrained in our culture that many of us dispair of ever living to see change. My dispair was lightened by Edward W. Wood's comparison of the struggle against militarism in America with the centuries-long struggle against slavery in this country. The very fact that Wood, a wounded combat veteran of WWII, has developed such views over the years itself brings hope
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