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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. Loudon Wainwright, The New York Times Book Review Tremendously compelling, somehow dramatic and intimate at the same time, as if one has stumbled on private accounts in letters long locked in attic . Terkel's book gives the American experience in World War Two great 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.
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