Daddy's Gone to War: The Second World War in the Lives of America's Children / Edition 1

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Looking out a second-story window of her family's quarters at the Pearl Harbor naval base on December 7, 1941, eleven-year-old Jackie Smith could see not only the Rising Sun insignias on the wings of attacking Japanese bombers, but the faces of the pilots inside. Most American children on the home front during the Second World War saw the enemy only in newsreels and the pages of Life Magazine, but from Pearl Harbor on, "the war"—with its blackouts, air raids, and government rationing—became a dramatic presence in all of their lives. Thirty million Americans relocated, 3,700,000 homemakers entered the labor force, sparking a national debate over working mothers and latchkey children, and millions of enlisted fathers and older brothers suddenly disappeared overseas or to far-off army bases. By the end of the war, 180,000 American children had lost their fathers.
In "Daddy's Gone to War", William M. Tuttle, Jr., offers a fascinating and often poignant exploration of wartime America, and one of generation's odyssey from childhood to middle age. The voices of the home front children are vividly present in excerpts from the 2,500 letters Tuttle solicited from men and women across the country who are now in their fifties and sixties. From scrap-collection drives and Saturday matinees to the atomic bomb and V-J Day, here is the Second World War through the eyes of America's children. Women relive the frustration of always having to play nurses in neighborhood war games, and men remember being both afraid and eager to grow up and go to war themselves. (Not all were willing to wait. Tuttle tells of one twelve year old boy who strode into an Arizona recruiting office and declared, "I don't need my mother's consent...I'm a midget.") Former home front children recall as though it were yesterday the pain of saying good-bye, perhaps forever, to an enlisting father posted overseas and the sometimes equally unsettling experience of a long-absent father's return.
A pioneering effort to reinvent the way we look at history and childhood, "Daddy's Gone to War" views the experiences of ordinary children through the lens of developmental psychology. Tuttle argues that the Second World War left an indelible imprint on the dreams and nightmares of an American generation, not only in childhood, but in adulthood as well. Drawing on his wide-ranging research, he makes the case that America's wartime belief in democracy and its rightful leadership of the Free World, as well as its assumptions about marriage and the family and the need to get ahead, remained largely unchallenged until the tumultuous years of the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam and Watergate. As the hopes and expectations of the home front children changed, so did their country's. In telling the story of a generation, Tuttle provides a vital missing piece of American cultural history.

Tuttle presents a fascinating, often poignant exploration of wartime America, and of one generation's odyssey from childhood to middle age, in a collection of excerpts from 2,500 letters solicited from men and women who were homefront children during World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An exemplary combination of solid primary source-work, elegant readability, and theoretical creativity, William Tuttle's Daddy's Gone to War will be of particular interest to historians of childhood and the life course, and of potentially more generl interest to anyone born in the United States between the mid-1930s and the mid-1940s."—Journal of Social History

"This analysis of testimony from more than 2,000 is a valuable and moving book."—The New York Times Book Review

"In a felicitous synthesis of history, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, Tuttle represents in rich detail the intersection between public events and the way young children perceived them during World War II. Identifying differences of class, race, religion, age, gender, and geographical and ethnic background, Tuttle describes the psychic landscape and the challenges that shaped a generation of children now entering its 50s....Artful and absorbing."—Kirkus Reviews

"Well written, balanced....The human story Tuttle tells makes a fascinating book."—The Kansas City Star

"Tuttle creates a vivid picture of American children during the Second World War through the letters and recollections of home-front children themselves....From the first page to the last, the reader will hope that the narrative will not end. In the 263 pages of text the reader will be glued to each and every vignette discovering another fascinating aspect of the American home front. By using childhood experiences, Tuttle has demonstrated the value of social history as an important tool in understanding the Second World War, and in the process we discover more about ourselves."—Kansas History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195096491
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Lexile: 1310L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

William M. Tuttle, Jr., is Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Kansas. His books include Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919; W.E.B. Du Bois; with David M. Katzman, Plain Folk; and with Mary Beth Norton and others, A People and A Nation.

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Table of Contents

1 Pearl Harbor: Fears and Nightmares 3
2 Depression Children and War Babies 16
3 "Daddy's Gone to War" 30
4 Homefront Families on the Move 49
5 Working Mothers and Latchkey Children 69
6 Rearing Preschool Children 91
7 School-age Children Fight the War 112
8 Children Play War Games 134
9 Children's Entertainment: Radio, Movies, Comics 148
10 The Fractured Homefront: Racial and Cultural Hostility 162
11 Children's Health and Welfare 190
12 "Daddy's Coming Home!" 212
13 Confronting War's Enormity, Praising Its Glory 231
14 Age, Culture, and History 236
15 The Homefront Children at Middle Age 254
Notes 265
Notes on Sources 345
Index 353
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012


    As the dark sun shines.....the solar eclipse
    Five are made............five kits are born
    And an evil creeps in.......that is explanatory
    To raise the dead........brings back a banished cat
    The father is blood........his name Bloodfeather
    The mother is light..........her name Starlight
    And the kits will be raised to battle the night.......duh as warriors
    Five will be four and four will be three until two are standing the only ones free......three of the cats at apprentice ship age will be drawn the dark
    The two will fight until theyvcant fight no more.....explanatory
    Then all five will unite and will be for ever more.....they win.
    Now. The characters. Well i need a clan. A non power one cept for starclan giving them like in pprophecy. I need the father and mother. I need an evil cat and evil followers. The evil cat will have a soothing voice that entices the cats to follow him or er. I need four kits as i will be one. Here are the five kits. Swankit...Swanpaw......Swanwing....ny personlity any color but he is given the power of being able to glide like a flying squirrel. Jump from a high height and float to the ground. He is one who will tun evil and thn back to good. Lastkit.......Lastpaw........Lastsong. any color any personality but a she cat. She is given the ability to hear other animals. Their speak. She stands with Swankit. Lashkit......Lashpaw.......Lashlight. any color any personality but a tom. He has the ability to fight like lionblaze in the series. He stands with Swankit. There is one thing about him. I will tell the cat who has him later. Butterkit......Butterpaw.....Butterscar. A tom cat. Any color and personality. He has the ability to seak around quietly. He never makes a sound. He is one of the two who stays on the good side. Flarekit........Flarepaw........Flareeye.......Flarestar. She is mine and yes she will be the leader. So the clan has to be comfortablebwith that. She is a hright red orange tabby she cat with supposed to be icey blue eyes. Her name is because of her right eye that on the lunar eclipse. Changed to a gold color. Her fur is fluffy but sleek. She is mysterious. Her ability is to call upon the ancestors to solid form to help her. And to use her spirit to heal.............So. i alsneed a couple of starclan members. Thevclan has to be comfirtable with Flarekit being the deputy and the leader later. Of course it will be later. Tjisbwhole thing will prob take two months. So yeah. To ask for a charcter or questios go to the result befire this one. Thanks.

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