Voices of War: Stories of Service from the Home Front and the Front Lines

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War has touched every American generation of the past hundred years, not only the millions of men and women on the front lines but also the families and friends who await them at home. Of the countless books that document our nation's conflicts from World War I to the Persian Gulf War, few bring the personal experience of "how it really was" so vividly to life as this wide-ranging, wonderfully illustrated volume.

These scores of intertwining stories have been carefully culled ...

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Overview

War has touched every American generation of the past hundred years, not only the millions of men and women on the front lines but also the families and friends who await them at home. Of the countless books that document our nation's conflicts from World War I to the Persian Gulf War, few bring the personal experience of "how it really was" so vividly to life as this wide-ranging, wonderfully illustrated volume.

These scores of intertwining stories have been carefully culled from the monumental Veterans History Project, which has already accumulated some 30,000 collections including interviews, letters, unpublished memoirs, scrapbooks, and photographs preserved by the Library of Congress. Together they create a unique eyewitness record of 20th century America at war.

Following a moving introduction by former U.S. Senator Max Cleland, himself a wounded and decorated veteran of Vietnam, seven thematic sections address every aspect of military and civilian life as our country fought for freedom in Europe and the Pacific, in Korea, in Southeast Asia, in the Middle East, and at home. From the recruiting office and basic training to the routines of camp life and the rigors of combat, we listen in as servicemen remember what it was like to be a doughboy on the way "Over There", a GI battling the forces of fascism and communism, a grunt in Vietnam, or a soldier in the Persian Gulf. We meet soldiers and sailors, pilots, and M.A.S.H. nurses, officers and enlisted men-every one with a story to tell about the potent mix of excitement and fear in a firefight, the delight of a letter from home, the sorrow at the death of a friend, and much more.

In addition to these brief but powerfully evocative reminiscences, each chapter singles out a representative individual for a more in-depth profile and presents a portfolio of remarkable images, from Tracy Sugarman's vivid watercolors of World War II to "The Goofein Journal", a charmingly hand-drawn series of family "newspapers" sent by Marion Gurfein to her husband at the front. And these are just a few of the 175 illustrations that capture wartime life in five crucial eras.

By turns fierce and reflective, wryly funny, and deeply poignant, Voices of War celebrates the can-do spirit, sense of duty and sacrifice, and sheer stubborn courage that have seen America safely through one of the most tumultuous and fast-moving centuries of our history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chosen from among the more than 30,000 oral histories collected by the Library of Congress's Veterans History Project, these first-person impressions of some 60 men and women who took part in the U.S.'s most salient 20th-century conflicts-WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm-come together to form a meaningful narrative. The object, editor Weiner notes, was "not to cover every engagement in each war, but rather to offer an impressionistic and intensely felt portrait of the ground-level soldier, slogging through the mud of France, the jungles of the Pacific, or the desert of Kuwait," and many other places in between. The book contains scores of brief entries organized by topic ("Under Fire"; "Coming Home") and war, enhanced by 175 color photos. Sometimes the flow constricts as narrators shift from doughboys in European trenches to Kevlar-helmeted infantrymen in the Kuwaiti desert, but the editors have chosen their testifiers well. As with any oral history, what we get are personal reflections, not historical syntheses. And with a foreword by Rep. Ron Kind, an introduction by former Sen. Max Cleland and an afterword by Sen. Chuck Hagel, there is plenty of veteran elected representation here, too. (Nov. 11) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This is the first book to showcase the oral histories collected by the Veteran's History Project, the Library of Congress's nationwide effort to collect and preserve the stories not only of war veterans, but also of those who served in support of the frontline troops. The book encompasses the full military experience-from first enlisting (or draft) to the excitement of returning home to civilian life. The personal accounts cover the major conflicts of the 20th century, from World War I to the Persian Gulf War, and include letters, diaries, and journals. The chapters are nicely arranged to show the commonalities of military experience, e.g., basic training, daily life, combat, the home front, and returning home. The inclusion of the stories of women, both in uniform and on the home front, rounds out the book nicely, and the almost 200 photographs bring the stories to life. Recommended.-David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792278382
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 11/1/2004
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.87 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.11 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    War and Americans Spanning a Century

    VOICES OF WAR is the product of the Veterans History Project form the Library of Congress. It is a book of letters, notes, memoirs, paintings, drawings, photographs, and other memorabilia from World War I through World War II through the Korean War through the Vietnam War to the Persian Gulf War. The quality of paper is the highest obtainable for books, the photograph and art reproductions are superb, and the graphic layout of the letters and memos and interviews are excellent. So as a book it ranks as an Art book.But that is only the superficial gloss that binds this body of thoughts that have survived a century of warfare. Here are the responses of men and women who volunteered or were drafted, the families and sweethearts left on American soil to keep vigil for those who would return and those who would not. Images of entertainers such as Bob Hope and Martha Raye and the countless others who brought some sense of credibility to the 'cause' worth fighting for are juxtaposed with photos of buddies, and backhome families, and of posters and art that accompanied these wars.The most impressive portion of this book is the interviews conducted by volunteers, young men and women who listened and recorded countless hours of reminiscences from veterans, nurses, families - the spectrum of those stamped with wars' tattoos. Some read as though script for Audie Murphy films: some read with hidden pain and permanent wounds like those of British poet Wilfrid Owen.And in the end this book simply bears witness to the horror of the history of WAR. How timely for this book to arrive on the shelves when yet again we as a nation that should have learned from history are capturing more material for, unfortunately, another volume. When will we learn? Perhaps if everyone reads this excellent book, there may be hope. Grady Harp, Veterans' Day 2004

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