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"There is nothing quite so compelling as history told through the eyes of ordinary people." -Amazon reviewer, Vol. 1.
From the Author
I don't know how to explain the feeling of sitting down and going back to re-listen to and edit these conversations, which in many cases took place years ago. As the writer/historian you spend days if not weeks with each individual, researching their stories, getting under their skin. You really have the feeling that you are doing a kind of cosmic CPR,taking their original words and breathing new life in a readable format that places readers at the kitchen table with that person who had something important to say. The reader shares the intimate moments with them as he/she gets absorbed in a real story being told. As an interviewer it happened many times to me directly with our World War II veterans, in living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms all over 'Hometown USA', in the classroom, and at reunion'hospitality rooms' and hotel breakfast tables across America.
But memories are short. A World War II memoirist once wrote, 'Ignorance and apathy are the greatest dangers to freedom.' I agree, but as a lifelong history teacher, I contend that it begins with people simply not being exposed to the history to begin with. For how could one not be drawn into these stories, the human drama, the interaction and the emotion that goes into putting an ideal first? After sitting at their table, how could you not give weight to what they have seen, and where they think we are going, as a people, as a nation? I saw this spark kindled time and again in my classroom, when we got to hear from real people who had a front row seat, who acted in the greatest drama in the history of the world.
Perhaps now I ramble. Now it is better to have them tell you themselves, about the world they grew up in, the challenges and obstacles placed on life's course, and how a generation of Americans not only rose to the challenge, but built the country and the freedoms that we enjoy today. They truly saved the world. Be inspired. Share their stories; give them voice. Lest we forget.
Really some lovely information in here. Awesome perspective of the men who lived the action. However, this feels like what it is, a vet who is in the twilight of life talking to a couple of 17year olds. Monumentous things are glossed over or omitted that happened in and around these vets lives. At times I feel like these are simply some tales of nice old men who we sat down to have coffee with and then we asked them, "tell me about being in the war." This book is definitely ied the viseral imagery that many great WWII memoirs have. That doesn't take away from the fact that these are living breathing survivors or the greatest conflict the world has ever known or what they did in the air. Plus there are some true harrowing and heartbreaking tales to be read in this book.
Overall, if you are looking for an entertaining read, this is a good book to pick up. I look forward to reading book number 3.
I have to thank the author for this book, and the previous book about the Pacific War. Getting to know the individuals and they're personal stories, experiences, and training they went through was very interesting and gratifying for me, I had family that served in WW2 but never knew they're stories, many vets do not wish to remember those days of they're lives. The stories in these books have provided glimpses into the lives of the WW2 veterans and only served to strengthen my respect and love for them, all Americans should take the time to know them and increase they're knowledge of The Greatest Generation.
Our country owes a debt of gratitude to this author & his pupils participating in this project facilitating the recording of the personal stories of our WWII vets. These books should be required reading for every child attending public school in the USA
Author’s style is comfortable and easy to read. Disturbing, but true description.of the sheer madness of sending hundreds of bombers, with crews of 9-10, on missions in which 30 -60% did not return. Even a cursory reading reveals the guts, patriotism, and sense Of manhood that so many of our citizens displayed during and after WW2. Unfortunately, it appears that our recent generations are so “wise” and self focused, that the US of the 1940’s and it’s basic goodness will be No more.
This series of books tells it as it was through the eyes of the men themselves, no glossing up, but in their own words. This is important to me because in this way the true history, the pure history, is preserved without bias. None of these guys will claim to be a hero even though they overcame fear not just once but every day, and witnessed horrors and suffered losses that no man should . That is true heroism. They did this, mind you, so that we, the unborn generations could live in a prosperous and peaceful world, not for medals or personal recognition. I salute them all, living and gone.
I am amazed by these up tight and personal stories about our citizen warriors who walked into the jaws of danger and death seemingly undaunted day after day after day. Just regular guys (and ladies, too) doing a tough job. I try with little success to project myself into their various roles. A terrible period.
I love Matthew Rozell's books. Each with interviews from those who served in World War II. I've read all of them, and it is like being in the room and listening in. If you love history and World War II era in particular, you can't go wrong with these books.