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Once Upon a Town (2002)
by Bob Greene
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
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)
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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