We Are Going to Be Lucky: A World War II Love Story in Letters

SUNY Press
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 Tells the story of a young couple in love during World War II, and the difficulties they faced both at war and on the home front.
We Are Going to Be Lucky
 tells the story of a first-generation Jewish American couple separated by war, captured in their own words. Lenny and Diana Miller were married just one year before America entered World War II. Deeply committed to social justice and bonded by love, both vowed to write to one another daily after Lenny enlisted in 1943. As Lenny made his way through basic training in Mississippi to the beaches of Normandy and eventually to the Battle of the Bulge, Diana struggled financially, giving up her job as a machinist to become a mother. Their contributions to the war effort—Lenny’s crucial missions as an Army scout and Diana’s work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard—are the backdrop to their daily correspondence, including insightful discussions of democracy, politics, and economic hardship.

Faced with grueling conditions overseas, Lenny managed to preserve every letter his wife sent, mailing them back to her for safekeeping. The couple’s extraordinary letters, preserved in their entirety, reveal and reflect the excruciating personal sacrifices endured by both soldiers at war and their young families back home. After decades of gathering dust, their words have been carefully transcribed and thoughtfully edited and annotated by Elizabeth L. Fox, Lenny and Diana’s daughter.

“This beautiful book reveals both the quotidian lives on the military and home front as well as big political issues of the day like the death of Mussolini and the fight against fascism. Throughout it all, the reader gets glimpses of American society through a first-generation Jewish American perspective as they comment on the mundane details of daily finances as well as looming issues like racial politics in the wartime United States. The result is a pure joy and a window into a lost world.” —David Shneer, author of Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust

“At the heart of this fascinating and educational tale about a soldier and his wife during wartime is a wonderful love story. Lenny and Diana become relatable almost immediately. Their excitement at their experiences—the eagerness with which they anticipate their few reunions, the battles he is in, the pregnancy and birth of their daughter—draws readers in and allows them to live through the era as ordinary people experienced it day in and day out.” — Richard Aquila, author of Home Front Soldier: The Story of a GI and His Italian American Family During World War II

“This is a truly remarkable story, contextualized just enough by the editor to provide the reader with a sufficient understanding of the history of the times without taking away the daily realities of a young couple making their way through letters and the occasional souvenir, till their final reunion. It pulls you in in such a way that you will not want to put the book down until the finish.” — Melissa Suzanne Fisher, author of Wall Street Women

“The correspondence of Lenny and Diana is a compelling account of the war though the eyes of an American soldier in Europe and his wife who stayed in the United States. The drama centers on the birth of their first child in America and Lenny’s increasingly dangerous war. Lenny was to go on to become an eminent scholar of John Milton, and these letters show the young scholar at work, struggling to obtain research materials while recovering from serious injuries sustained at the Battle of the Bulge.” — Gordon Campbell, University of Leicester

“Is there any genre of writing more immediate and soul-bearing than the love letter? In We Are Going to Be Lucky, Elizabeth L. Fox allows us inside the lives of one New York couple as they endure the challenges of living apart through World War II—Lenny from the battlefront and Diana at home in Brooklyn. From arduous training to the difficulties of factory work, from the hopefulness of pregnancy to a near-fatal injury and painful convalescence, this carefully edited collection of correspondence reveals the pain, sacrifice, and everyday struggles—and magnanimity—of the Greatest Generation, and the universal beauty of human connection.” — Julie Scelfo, author of The Women Who Made New York
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About the author

 Elizabeth L. Fox has served for more than twenty years in a leadership role on the National Board of Hadassah, where her responsibilities include writing, training, and public speaking. She has a BA in history from the City College of New York and an MA in vocational rehabilitation counseling from New York University. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Additional Information

SUNY Press
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Published on
May 23, 2018
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HISTORY / Europe / Western
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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