This superb collection of some 200 entries by nearly 90 writers, drawn from newspapers, magazine articles, broadcast transcripts and book excerpts, recalls WWII campaigns and battles in all theaters but pays attention to the home front as well. It begins with an excerpt from William L. Shirer's Berlin Diary and ends with one from John Hersey's Hiroshima. Among the selections are the earliest report of genocide in Eastern Europe (NYT, June 30, 1942); A.J. Liebling's New Yorker piece on the relationship between the press and the military; several of Ernie Pyle's combat stories; Walter Bernstein's expos of a wartime ``sin city'' serving an army base in Georgia; and Roi Ottley's ``Negroes Are Saying...,'' which covers wartime discrimination (the latter two are book excerpts). Readers will find many interesting pieces by writers not usually associated with war reporting: E.B. White's Harper's piece on a war-bond rally in Maine; James Agee's Time essay on the reactions to FDR's death; Helen Lawrenson's description of the Battle of the Atlantic. This is a treasure trove of war reporting, featuring writing of the highest order. Illustrated. 25,000 first printing; Readers' Subscription main selection; History Book Club selection. (Sept.)
With 1995 marking the 50th anniversary of the close of World War II, countless volumes are being produced by numerous publishers. This duo from the venerable Library of America takes a different tack as it approaches the war through the eyes of the reporters and photographers who first delivered its harsh images from the front lines of the jungles, beachheads, and ravaged villages to the American public, often at great personal peril. The text is an amalgam of hard news dispatches, letters, and articles from writers as far-ranging as Ernie Pyle, Bill Mauldin, John Hersey, Edward R. Murrow, and Martha Gellhorn to John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein. Together they impart not only the where and when of events but the emotional toll of war as well. With the advent of television, this is also an archive of a brand of journalism unfortunately long gone. The volumes include 64 pages of photos and more than 200 cartoons, drawings, and maps. The Library of America has outdone itself with this set; Reporting World War II is quite simply outstanding. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
School Library Journal
YAA vast kaleidoscope of impressions in over 145 different articles and excerpts from books (including Bill Mauldin's Up Front and John Hersey's Hiroshima). Students seeking information on The Munich Conference can read selections by William L. Shirer and Dorothy Thompson; they can learn about the London Blitz from Edward R. Murrow; and about rescue at sea from Margaret Bourke-White. They will find Ernie Pyle, A.J. Liebling, or Roi Ottley among these multiple short, readable, primary-source selections. Journalism and history students can track both the war and American attitudes through these narratives.Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Back when literate people read instead of watched, their journalists filed riveting stories about the century's biggest news event. Some pieces became instant classics, such as Mauldin's "Up Front" or Hersey's "Hiroshima", both of which grace this collection. Naturally, it calls the roll of the greats--Murrow, Pyle, Shirer--but it also revives skilled scriveners who would otherwise molder in obscurity in old issues of the "New Yorker", "Life", or "Harper's" magazines. Perhaps the most visceral impact is leveled by the combat reporters: no matter how gruesome the crimson gore modern minicams transmit to our homes, the black-and-white type more authentically conveys the insane, wasteful experience. Reporters like Richard Tregaskis at Guadalcanal, Beirne Lay on a bombing raid over Germany, or Tom Lea hitting the beach of Peleliu concretely record the fury and soul-shaking anxiety of fighting. Away from the front, the editors have included items protesting discrimination against blacks and Japanese Americans, as well as the initial rumor items about a Nazi mass murder program, followed by eyewitness revelations from the liberated camps. Copiously adorned with pictures, this engrossing resource lays a foundation no library collection will regret holding.
Samuel Hynes is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of several major works of literary criticism, including The Auden Generation, Edwardian Occasions, and The Edwardian Turn of Mind. Hynes's wartime experiences as a Marine Corps pilot were the basis for his highly praised memoir, Flights of Passage. The Soldiers' Tale, his book about soldiers' narratives of the two world wars and Vietnam, won a Robert F. Kennedy Award. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.