When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

by Molly Guptill Manning


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, May 14



“Heartwarming.” — New York Times

“Whether or not you’re a book lover, you’ll be moved.” — Entertainment Weekly

“A readable, accessible addition to World War II literature [and] a book that will be enjoyed by lovers of books about books.” — Boston Globe

“Four stars [out of four] . . . A cultural history that does much to explain modern America.” — 
USA Today

When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned 100 million books. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and rucksacks in every theater of war. These Armed Services Editions were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity and made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is the inspiring story of the Armed Services Editions, and a treasure for history buffs and book lovers alike.

“A thoroughly engaging, enlightening, and often uplifting account . . . I was enthralled and moved.” — Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544570405
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 10/27/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 123,826
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

MOLLY GUPTILL MANNING is the author of The Myth of Ephraim Tutt. She is an attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 A Phoenix Will Rise 1

2 $85 Worth of Clothes, but No Pajamas 17

3 A Landslide of Books 31

4 New Weapons in the War of Ideas 59

5 Grab a Book, Joe, and Keep Goin' 75

6 Guts, Valor, and Extreme Bravery 92

7 Like Rain in the Desert 113

8 Censorship and FDR's F - th T - m 133

9 Germany's Surrender and the Godforsaken Islands 151

10 Peace at Last 170

11 Damned Average Raisers 181

Afterword 193

Acknowledgments 195


A Banned Authors 198

B Armed Services Editions 202

Notes 233

Index 261

Customer Reviews