"The Good War
Oral History of World War Two New edition
By (author) Studs Terkel
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Good War by Studs Terkel
Book DescriptionThe Good War , for which Studs Terkel won the Pulitzer Prize, is a testament not only to the experience of war but to the extraordinary skill of Terkel as interviewer. As always, his subjects are open and unrelenting in their analyses of themselves and their experiences, producing what People magazine has called a splendid epic history of World War II. With this volume Terkel expanded his scope to the global and the historical, and the result is a masterpiece of oral history."
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781565843431
(210mm x 139mm x 25mm)
Imprint: The New Press
Publisher: The New Press
Publish Date: 30-Jan-1997
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Studs Terkel
View all books by Studs Terkel
US Kirkus Review » In World War II memories, Terkel has found a great, untold story - with fore-shadowings of Vietnam and aftershocks of atomic warfare. Terkel explains the title, matter-of-factly, as the Vietnam, nuclear-war contrast; the testimony - even from those whose lives peaked in WW II - exposes the irony of the phrase. First witness is "Hawaiian"-Californian John Garcia: in December 1941, as a pipefitter apprentice at Pearl Harbor, he retrieved live and dead bodies from the water and hulls; his girlfriend was killed by misfired American shells, he petitioned FDR to get into service, then was asked his race (great-grandparents?) and, as "Caucasian," separated from "the other Hawaiians"; on Okinawa, "I'd get up each day and start drinking. . . . They would show us movies. Japanese women didn't cry. They accepted the ashes stoically. I knew different. They went home and cried." In that same lead-off section appear the Nisei, uprooted and interned; a child-witness to, and a-participant in, the hysteria; an American-born Japanese, trapped in Japan on a visit. One of the last sections has to do with the Bomb. In an Indiana farm kitchen, Terkel talks with Bill Harney, radar operator on the plane that bombed Nagasaki. In a New York hotel lobby, he talks to Marnie Seymour who, with her husband, worked at Oak Ridge. "Out of the eighteen couples at the motel we lived in, most have never been able to have children. We are rather fortunate. We have four children. Two have birth defects." (Later, living in "very swish" New Canaan, she'd see the Hiroshima Maidens, brought over by Norman Cousins, at the supermarket.) There are several things to be said about Terkel, and his material. He has sought out people with real, unpredictable, history-brushing (sometimes history-revising) stories - but also persons whose experiences could be called typical, who become archetypal (like Chicago business executive Robert Ramos, "the skinny nineteen-year-old kid who's gonna prove that he can measure up"). He has a light intermix, too, of onlookers and leaders - yielding comments from both Pauline Kael and a retired admiral on the vacuousness of WW II films (but contrast, as well, between Kael's approval of The Clock and a war bride's contempt). He doesn't, however, construct his groupings mechanically, to make obvious points: blacks, for instance, turn up everywhere; under the rubric "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" we hear only from Marine Andrews; pronouncements on Vietnam differ, one after another Pacific veteran attests to gratitude for the Bomb. What is inescapable, though, is the recognition of war as brutal, and brutalizing; the reservations about "the Good War" utterable only in Vietnam-and-after retrospect. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel (1912 2008) was an award-winning author and radio broadcaster. He is the author of Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession; Division Street: America, Coming of Age: Growing Up in the Twentieth Century; Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times; The Good War: An Oral History of World War II; Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do; The Studs Terkel Reader: My American Century; American Dreams: Lost and Found; The Studs Terkel Interviews: Film and Theater; Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression; Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith; Giants of Jazz; Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times; And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey; Touch and Go: A Memoir; P.S.: Further Thoughts from a Lifetime of Listening; and Studs Terkel s Chicago, all published by The New Press. He was a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and a recipient of a Presidential National Humanities Medal, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, a George Polk Career Award, and the National Book Critics Circle 2003 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award."
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