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"The Good War": An Oral History of World War II

Terkel, Studs

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Studs Terkel, the noted Chicago-based journalist, gathers the reminiscences of 121 participants in World War II (called "the good war" because, in the words of one soldier, "to see fascism defeated, nothing better could have happened to a human being"). These participants, men and women, famous and ordinary, tell stories that add immeasurably to our understanding of that cataclysmic time. One Soviet soldier recounts that, surrounded by the Germans, his comrades tapped the powder from their last cartridges and inserted notes to their families inside the casings; Russian children, he goes on, still turn these up every now and again and deliver the notes to the soldiers' families. Terkel touches on many themes along the way, including institutionalized racism in the United States military, the birth of the military-industrial complex, and the origins of the Cold War.

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"A work of remarkable power and sensitivity...deeply moving and profoundly important...Studs Terkel has produced a work that is not only his finest oral history to date, but also the richest and most powerful single document of the American experience in World War Two I have ever read."--Alan Brinkley, The Boston Globe

"I promise you will remember your war years, if you were alive then, with extraordinary vividness as you go through Studs Terkel's book. Or, if you are too young to remember, this is the best place to get a sense of what people were feeling."--Garry Wills, Chicago Tribune Book World

"Tremendously compelling, somehow dramatic and intimate at the same time, as if one has stumbled on private accounts in letters long locked in attic trunks...Mr. Terkel's book gives the American experience in World War Two great immediacy...In terms of plain human interest, Mr. Terkel may well have put together the most vivid collection of World War Two sketches ever gathered between covers."--Loudon Wainwright, The New York Times Book Review

"Incontestably one of the great human documents of all time. It has the essence and cumulative force of a hundred powerful war novels, without drawing on a single word of fiction. Among major historians Terkel is now in orbit all by himself, world class."--Norman Corwin

"Read this important book."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

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