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Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene

Once Upon a Town (2002)

by Bob Greene

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3181353,860 (3.75)21



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A nice little read, I was given this book as a gift many years ago by a teacher who said my writing reminded her of Bob Greene. As nice a compliment I've received.

This collection of stories were each heart-warming, if a little redundant when read as a collection. It certainly engaged in the usual mythologizing about the second World War and the so-called "Greatest Generation"- a collective trait of the American experience I particularly dislike. ( )
  jscape2000 | Jul 5, 2015 |
This book is certainly interesting and it shares accounts I, and probably most people, have never heard before. However, even though each account is amazing and almost brings a tear to your eye, it gets a bit repetitive. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
The story brings the historical gem of the North Platte Canteen to light. However, the writing is mawkish and redundant. It's tough to make a whole book out of giving out free food and help to soldiers at the train station. ( )
  brendajanefrank | Jun 22, 2014 |
We all agreed the story was sweet, the pictures were the best part, and it gave us all (aged 63-77) a good insight into what our parents went through and how people coped in another area of the country- Nebraska. And it did fill in the list for my Fifty States Challenge - I needed a Nebraska book. Basically it's a reporter's story, told like a reporter (he was on NPR for years), After the 1st 25 pages, the story had been told. Read them, look at the pictures, and then go on to something else. 2 1/2 stars. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | May 19, 2013 |
This is the story of North Platte, Nebraska duing WWII. It will briing smiles to your face, along with a few tears.

The town heard that a troop train filled with soldiers from Nebraska was due to stop for ten minutes at the North Platte station. A group of women got together and brought food, drink, and magazines to the station to meet the train. When they discovered the troop train carried soldiers from other states, they smilled and passed the food out anyway. The next day, someone wrote a letter suggesting that the residents meed every troop train, and the North Platte Canteen was born. ( )
  wearylibrarian | Jul 30, 2011 |
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On Interstate 80, three or hour hours into the long westward drive across Nebraska, with the sun hovering mercilessly in the midsummer sky on a cloudless and broiling July afternoon, there were moments when I thought there was no way I'd ever find what I had come here to seek: The best America there ever was.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006008197X, Paperback)

Millions of American soldiers, many of whom had never left their hometowns before, crossed the nation by rail during the years of World War II on their way to training camps and distant theaters of battle. In a little town in Nebraska, countless thousands of them met with extraordinary hospitality--the "miracle" of veteran journalist Bob Greene's title. "The best America there ever was. Or at least, whatever might be left of it." So Greene writes of North Platte, now a quiet town along the interstate, its main street all but dead. It was a quiet town then, too, at the outbreak of the war, but still a hive of activity as its citizens gathered to provide, at their own expense, coffee, sandwiches, books, playing cards, and time to the scared young men who rolled through by the trainload, "telling them that their country cared about them." Greene's pages are full of the voices of those who were there, soldiers and townspeople alike, who took part in what amounted to small acts of heroism, given the shortages and rationing of the time. Greene, generous in his praise if rather disheartened by the modern world, against which he contrasts the past, turns in a remarkable account of the home front. It deserves the widest audience. ---Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:41 -0400)

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Bob Greene reveals the story of the North Platte Canteen, a railroad stop in North Platte, Nebraska, through which would pass trains bearing United States soldiers en route to Europe or the Pacific. Volunteers from the city of twelve thousand made it a place where soldiers could enjoy music, home-cooked food, magazines and friendly conversation, if only for a short time. Based on interviews with North Platte residents and the GIs who once passed through.

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