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The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus…

The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army

by Glen Craney

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The Yanks Are Starving, by Glen Craney is a poignant look at a piece of American history that is an embarrassment to the nation. The story (I would ‘almost’ call it historical fiction, although most of it is factual) tells of the Bonus Army, a contingent of nearly 20,000 First World War veterans who marched, with their families, on Washington DC in 1932, trying to collect on a bonus promised by the federal government. Because of the economic hardship of the time caused by the Great Depression, they hoped to receive their money early (it was technically only payable in 1945), as nearly all of them were having great difficulty finding employment, with some on the brink of starvation. Considering that the bonus included compound interest, it would have been in the government’s favour to actually pay them out early. President Herbert Hoover however, blundered through the situation, with the help of his advisors and steadfastly refused to pay the veterans.

If I had read this book, without knowing that the premise behind the story was actually true, I would have credited Craney with having a slightly over-active imagination. Sadly however, the story is true, and even sadder still, some of the United States’ most popular military leaders played a large part in it. After being ordered to remove the veterans from certain areas of the city, General Dougal MacArthur, made a horrific decision to attack the veterans and expel them completely. He was supported by, and it pains me to type this, Major George S. Patton, one of my military heroes, who during the conflict with the veterans, ignored a man who had saved his life in France. In the ensuing carnage, lives were lost, the veterans understandably, lost all hope, and their families lost almost all of their meager belongings.

A short time later Franklin D. Roosevelt became President and some of the veterans, hoping for a better outcome, marched on Washington again. That is when we see the kind of man Roosevelt was, and why to this day he is loved by so many. He couldn’t afford to pay the bonuses then, but unlike Hoover, he ordered the veterans taken care of, given proper meals, and put nearly all of them to work on the many projects he created to bring the United States out of the Depression.

The Yanks Are Starving is well written and researched. Craney has done an excellent job of interweaving the stories of real people with the few fictional ones he created to bring a balance to the narrative. I like that his creations are based on people who probably were there, and who did the best they could to help this ‘army’ of men who had risked everything for their country, only to find that country wanting in the end.

www.daniellittle.com ( )
  Sturgeon | Mar 29, 2017 |
The Yanks Are Starv­ing: A Novel of the Bonus Army by Glen Craney is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book telling the long for­got­ten story of the Bonus Army of World War 1 vets and how they were treated.

The Yanks Are Starv­ing: A Novel of the Bonus Army by Glen Craney is a long book, but is very enjoy­able for his­tory buffs and those who enjoy his­tor­i­cal fic­tion. I have heard of the Bonus Army before read­ing this book, it is one of those events we don’t like to talk about very much, but never read any­thing about it besides and arti­cle or two.

From my lim­ited read­ing about the World War 1 and the Bonus Army, it seems that the events depicted are based on facts and is worth read­ing. From the treat­ment of our vet­er­ans, to that of con­scious­ness objec­tors. While some of the main char­ac­ters are fic­tional, I found them to be most inter­est­ing and engag­ing, even more than the one who did exist.

This is not a “war” book, even though there is plenty of that as well. The book talks about the strug­gles of vet­er­ans which par­al­leled the strug­gles of the coun­try. The com­plex rela­tion­ships of the peo­ple, the com­man­ders, and the coun­try are well illus­trated in this book.

When I fin­ished the book I was very impressed with the scope of what it cov­ered and the author’s won­der­ful effort to cover it. You can cer­tainly tell that the author picked a side, but he han­dles the sub­tleties gen­tly and elegantly.

For more reviews and bookish posts please visit http://www.ManOfLaBook.com ( )
  ZoharLaor | Apr 19, 2016 |
For anyone who enjoys history and wants many pages to read this might be the book for you. The introduction of all the characters is interesting but at times I had trouble keeping track of who everybody was. I was intrigued by the treatment of conscientious objectors during the First World War and hated to think that such things happened. From reviews written by others it seems this is a novel based on fact and one well worth reading. I believe I enjoyed the story of Anna, the Mennonite coerced into becoming a nurse, the most as I could most relate to her story. If you are reading about this time period, want to learn more about the Bonus Army and the way the veterans were treated after the war this book might be the one for you. I will admit that when I got bogged down I would read from another book but always wanted to return to this book and continue reading. (3.5 stars) ( )
  CathyGeha | May 29, 2014 |
I kept plugging on even though this was a very long book because it contained great material. I wanted to think that most were true events but still am wondering. I think the author showed us how many have forgotten the men that have fought for our freedom. ( )
  lubazuck | May 28, 2014 |
This is a very long book - to long for the storyline. It was a very slow developing story. Why the author used a third of the book introducing the characters for the true story is a mystery to me.

On the plus side, I had never heard of the veteran's uprising of the 1930's. I have no way of knowing how accurate the story is and to what extent. However, this book certainly paints some powerful people in our government as very bad people. Given how bad they acted in the 1930's. they are surprising heroes only a decade later. How quickly the people forget the bad.

I found the book a worthwhile read since I learned from it. ( )
  honoliipali | May 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
". . . I know of no other fiction writer who has made this brave, tragic protest movement the main theme of a novel, until now. Glen Craney deserves praise for recognizing the significance and dramatic potential of the Bonus Army story and developing it in The Yanks are Starving."
"Craney has written an outstanding social and military historical novel of the United States covering the crossing over from the nineteenth century mentality into the twentieth century. Simply put, an outstanding novel." -- Joseph Spuckler, Author Alliance reviewer and U.S. Marine veteran
"[A] wonderful source of historical fact wrapped in a compelling novel. . . . Each of the characters is written in a depth that makes them come alive. The second section on the Bonus Army is well written, vivid, and highlights every aspect of the clash between the war vets and the federal government. . . . If you want to learn about one of America’s darkest days, one that rarely gets any attention, this is a book that will both teach and entertain."
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