The Greatest Generation Comes Home: The Veteran in American Society

Overview

At the conclusion of World War II, Americans anxiously contemplated the return to peace. It was an uncertain time, filled with concerns about demobilization, inflation, strikes, and the return of a second Great Depression. Balanced against these challenges was the hope in a future of unparalleled opportunities for a generation raised in hard times and war.

One of the remarkable untold stories of postwar America is the successful assimilation of sixteen million veterans back into...

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Overview

At the conclusion of World War II, Americans anxiously contemplated the return to peace. It was an uncertain time, filled with concerns about demobilization, inflation, strikes, and the return of a second Great Depression. Balanced against these challenges was the hope in a future of unparalleled opportunities for a generation raised in hard times and war.

One of the remarkable untold stories of postwar America is the successful assimilation of sixteen million veterans back into civilian society after 1945. The G.I. generation returned home filled with the same sense of fear and hope as most citizens at the time. Their transition from conflict to normalcy is one of the greatest chapters in American history.

The Greatest Generation Comes Home combines military and social history into a comprehensive narrative of the veteran’s experience after World War II. It integrates early impressions of home in 1945 with later stories of medical recovery, education, work, politics, and entertainment, as well as moving accounts of the dislocation, alienation, and discomfort many faced. The book includes the experiences of not only the millions of veterans drawn from mainstream white America, but also the women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans who served the nation.

Perhaps most important, the book also examines the legacy bequeathed by these veterans to later generations who served in uniform on new battlefields around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

On Point
Michael Gambone's study of America's greatest generation is well-written, scholarly, and informative. It makes a valuable contribution to the literature of the post-World War II era and represents the first comprehensive treatment of veterans care in the United States. His work is superbly illustrated and it contains an outstanding bibliographical essay, leading the reader to other sources of information.
The Historian

. . . a wide-ranging and clearly written book that provides a welcome and useful study of the return of the veterans to American life. . . . the best overall study of the veterans' return.

Nancy Gentile Ford
". . . outstanding—clear, concise, and with the right amount of drama. I do not know of any book that pulls together so many issues that affected the returning soldiers’ lives."—Nancy Gentile Ford, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, author of Americans All: Foreign-born Soldiers in World War II and Issues of War and Peace
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael D. Gambone teaches American history at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. A specialist on American foreign policy, he is the author of Eisenhower, Somoza, and the Cold War in Nicaragua, 1953–1961.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Home 15
Ch. 2 Healing the wounds 38
Ch. 3 Fitting in 63
Ch. 4 GI Jane comes home 90
Ch. 5 Minority veterans come home 114
Ch. 6 The veteran and the postwar film 147
Ch. 7 Retreads 166
Ch. 8 Legacies 188
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