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

New Press/ORIM
13
Free sample

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize: “The richest and most powerful single document of the American experience in World War II” (The Boston Globe).
 
The Good War is a testament not only to the experience of war but to the extraordinary skill of Studs Terkel as an interviewer and oral historian. From a pipe fitter’s apprentice at Pearl Harbor to a crew member of the flight that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, his subjects are open and unrelenting in their analyses of themselves and their experiences, producing what People magazine has called “a splendid epic history” of WWII. With this volume Terkel expanded his scope to the global and the historical, and the result is a masterpiece of oral history.
 
“Tremendously compelling, somehow dramatic and intimate at the same time, as if one has stumbled on private accounts in letters locked in attic trunks . . . In terms of plain human interest, Mr. Terkel may well have put together the most vivid collection of World War II sketches ever gathered between covers.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“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.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“A powerful book, repeatedly moving and profoundly disturbing.” —People
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About the author

Studs Terkel was an actor, writer, and radio host. He was born Louis Terkel on May 16, 1912 in New York City. He took his name from the James T. Farrell novel, Studs Lonigan. Terkel attended the University of Chicago and graduated with a law degree in 1934. Terkel acted in local stage productions and on radio dramas until he began one of the first television programs, an unscripted show called Studs Place in the early 1950s. In 1952, Terkel began Studs Terkel's Almanac on radio station WFMT in Chicago. Terkel compiled a series of books based on oral histories that defined America in the 20th Century. Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do received a National Book Award nomination in 1975. The Good War: An Oral History of World War II won the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction in 1985. Working was turned into a hit musical in 1978. Terkel was named the Communicator of the Year by the University of Chicago in 1969. He also won a Peabody Award for excellence in journalism in 1980 and the National Book Foundation Medal for contributions to American letters in 1997. He died on October 31, 2008 at the age of 96.

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Additional Information

Publisher
New Press/ORIM
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Published on
Jul 26, 2011
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9781595587596
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War II
History / United States / 20th Century
Literary Collections / Interviews
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“This memoir illuminates key aspects of the war experience: the enthusiasm for fighting, tensions with officers, tedium with regard to noncombatant work, the variety of trench experiences, the sharp learning curve that the army underwent on the ground, and the confusing nature of combat for ground troops. As the centennial of the war approaches this well-annotated memoir that connects Patterson’s individual experiences to the larger U.S. experience of the war will appeal to general readers and specialists alike.” —Jennifer D. Keene, author of World War I: The American Soldier Experience

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J. Garry Clifford, a professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, is the coauthor of America Ascendant: American Foreign Relations since 1939 and The First Peacetime Draft, as well as the coeditor of Presidents, Diplomats, and Other Mortals.




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Not in Vain: A Rifleman Remembers World War II looks at American involvement in the war from the firsthand perspective of this nineteen-year-old soldier. As an infantryman in France and Germany during the latter part of the war, Standifer experienced the numbing boredom of daily routine and the adrenaline-pumping excitement of combat. He recalls the anguish of losing friends in battle and the decisive moment when he slit the throat of an enemy soldier, memories that still haunt him.

But Not in Vain is far more than a conventional soldier's memoir. Although he recounts in vivid detail his personal experiences, Standifer also makes a far broader inquiry into the forces that turned a sheltered young man from a religious, small-town background into an effective soldier. Growing up in the Baptist church, Standifer thought he had learned the differences between good and evil, right and wrong. But after his days in battle, moral distinctions were no longer as clear.

Not in Vain documents Standifer's lifelong debate with himself over the justification for war by considering not only his reactions during combat but also the feelings that have remained with him for life. He describes these intense emotions in his account of a trip taken to Europe many years after the war and of his reunion with some of the former members of his rifle company. Written in an effort to come to terms with his involvement in the war, Not in Vain is a probing and timely study of a citizen's dedication to his country.

The instant New York Times bestseller!

From one of America's most beloved sportswriters, a collection of true stories about the dream of greatness and its cost in the world of sports.

"Wright Thompson's stories are so full of rich characters, bad actors, heroes, drama, suffering, courage, conflict, and vivid detail that I sometimes thinks he's working my side of the street - the world of fiction." - John Grisham

There is only one Wright Thompson. He is, as they say, famous if you know who he is: his work includes the most read articles in the history of ESPN (and it's not even close) and has been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series ten times, and he counts John Grisham and Richard Ford among his ardent admirers (see back of book). But to say his pieces are about sports, while true as far as it goes, is like saying Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove is a book about a cattle drive. Wright Thompson figures people out. He jimmies the lock to the furnaces inside the people he profiles and does an analysis of the fuel that fires their ambition. Whether it be Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or Pat Riley or Urban Meyer, he strips the away the self-serving myths and fantasies to reveal his characters in full. There are fascinating common denominators: it may not be the case that every single great performer or coach had a complex relationship with his father, but it can sure seem that way. And there is much marvelous local knowledge: about specific sports, and times and places, and people. Ludicrously entertaining and often powerfully moving, The Cost of These Dreams is an ode to the reporter's art, and a celebration of true greatness and the high price that it exacts.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Prepare to be entranced by this addictively readable oral history of the great war between humans and zombies.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
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THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

“Will spook you for real.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Possesses more creativity and zip than entire crates of other new fiction titles. Think Mad Max meets The Hot Zone. . . . It’s Apocalypse Now, pandemic-style. Creepy but fascinating.”—USA Today
 
“Will grab you as tightly as a dead man’s fist. A.”—Entertainment Weekly, EW Pick 
 
“Probably the most topical and literate scare since Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds radio broadcast . . . This is action-packed social-political satire with a global view.”—Dallas Morning News
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