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The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
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The Greatest Generation (1998)

by Tom Brokaw

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4 hours: abridged. I bought it at a second-hand store and now I want the unabridged version. This is a compilation of the lives of individual men and woman who told of their experiences during the fighting of WWII. I marveled at the selfless dedication and bravery of ordinary people and even some famous ones. Tom Brokaw states, "I am in awe of them, these men and women who have given us the world we have today. I feel privileged to have been witness to their stories". You might be shocked at how different our cultural worldview presents itself today in just the span of 68 years. (For me, it is just one generation) . Tom Brokaw inspires as retells each hero's experience. ( )
  gaillamontagne | Jul 29, 2013 |
A good read, however, the greatest generation was the Founding Fathers. You need to read the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Founding Fathers ( )
  virg144 | May 1, 2013 |
"'I think this is the greatest generation any society has ever produced.' I know that this was a bold statement and a sweeping judgment, but since than I have restated it on many occasions. While I am periodically challenged on this premise, I believe I have the facts on my side."

So writes Tom Brokaw in the introduction to this book about the World War II generation, and he proceeds to make his case by telling individual stories of survival, courage, leadership, and trail-blazing.

I pretty much loved this book. I have always liked reading books centered around WWII, but I haven't actually read much non-fiction, and especially not exactly like this. I got what I expected and more.

I expected stories about the heroes, both celebrated and unsung, and their exploits in the war. I may have even expected stories about the women on the home front.

I did not expect Brokaw to tackle some of the issues this generation had to overcome. He did not shy away from segregation, both in civilian life and the military. He confronted the issue of the Japanese internment camps. He took a close look at the women in uniform during the war and the paths they had to forge to get anything that even resembled equality. I was impressed that he included those topics, and I learned a lot from the personal stories he used to make his points about these issues.

I also didn't really expect the personal stories to dwell so much on life after the war. I was a little disappointed at first; after all, the war was what drew me to the book. But I quickly got over it and realized that this generation didn't let one major event define their lives completely. They moved on and shaped the world in the ways they thought best. And that is part of what makes them great.

I'm struggling to find a way to say what I mean with this next thought. Here goes. The people who told these stories all came home to live successful lives, in big ways and small. There had to be people who came home and just couldn't adapt to civilian life. It felt like, in order for the picture to be truly complete, some of that should have been included. Of course, who wants to be interviewed about why they started drinking too much and wound up homeless, right? Or maybe those guys mostly passed away before this book was written. The point could be made that including that kind of thing would weaken the book's central argument, I know. But ignoring the facts doesn't make them go away, and addressing all the facts makes your case stronger. It's a small thing, but I noticed it because of the thoroughness of the rest of the book.

This was also an interesting study in how times have changed. This generation was very much about patriotism, duty, honor, and personal sacrifice. They had widely experienced crushing poverty during the Depression, and they never forgot the lessons they learned in those times. In comparison to our current society, where we just have to have the newest phone/video game/book, or whatever, it made me feel shallow and small. I don't think that's bad at all. Sometimes we need to be reminded about how blessed we truly are.

There are surprising tales of heroism on all fronts, both during the war and in the years following. Tom Brokaw makes a strong argument that the WWII generation was truly the greatest generation. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
Pretty good set of mini-biographes, which seek to show by example the range of virtues and lives that members of "The Greatest Generation" lived. They all had very impressive lives, of course. The writing style is a bit uneven and doesn't do them all justice, but still a very informative read. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 29, 2013 |
I don't belong to this generation but my parents did and I love this era. The war was only a small piece of what was going on in America. ( )
  brian_irons | Nov 16, 2011 |
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For Meredith, of course, and her parents, Vivian and Merritt Auld, and my parents, Jean and Anthony "Red" Brokaw
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In the spring of 1984 I went to the northwest of France, to Normandy, to prepare an NBC documentary on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, the massive and daring Allied invasion of Europe that marked the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375502025, Hardcover)

Veteran reporter and NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went to France to make a documentary marking the 40th anniversary of D-day in 1984. Although he was thoroughly briefed on the historical background of the invasion, he was totally unprepared for how it would affect him emotionally. Flooded with childhood memories of World War II, Brokaw began asking veterans at the ceremony to revisit their past and talk about what happened, triggering a chain reaction of war-torn confessions and Brokaw's compulsion to capture their experiences in what he terms "the permanence a book would represent."

After almost 15 years and hundreds of letters and interviews, Brokaw wrote The Greatest Generation, a representative cross-section of the stories he came across. However, this collection is more than a mere chronicle of a tumultuous time, it's history made personal by a cast of everyday people transformed by extraordinary circumstances: the first women to break the homemaker mold, minorities suffering countless indignities to boldly fight for their country, infantrymen who went on to become some of the most distinguished leaders in the world, small-town kids who became corporate magnates. From the reminiscences of George Bush and Julia Child to the astonishing heroism and moving love stories of everyday people, The Greatest Generation salutes those whose sacrifices changed the course of American history. --Rebekah Warren

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:06 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In this book, Tom Brokaw goes out into America, to tell through the stories of individual men and women the story of a generation, America's citizen heroes and heroines who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America. This generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values - duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country, and, above all, responsibility for oneself. In this book, you will meet people whose everyday lives reveal how a generation persevered through war, and were trained by it, and then went on to create interesting and useful lives and the America we have today.… (more)

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