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A Penguin Classic “Age can never dull this kind of writing,” writes the Chicago Tribune of John Steinbeck’s dispatches from World War II, filed for the New York Herald Tribune in 1943, which vividly captured the human side of war. Writing from England in the midst of the London blitz, North Africa, and Italy, Steinbeck focuses on the people as opposed to the battles, portraying everyone from the guys in the bomber crew to Bob Hope on his USO tour. He eats and drinks with soldiers behind enemy lines, talks with them, and fights beside them. First published in book form in 1958, these writings, now with a new introduction by Mark Bowden, create an unforgettable portrait of life in wartime that continues to resonate with truth and humanity.
Myth and the Greatest Generation calls into question the glowing paradigm of the World War II generation set up by such books as The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw. Including analysis of news reports, memoirs, novels, films and other cultural artefacts Ken Rose shows the war was much more disruptive to the lives of Americans in the military and on the home front during World War II than is generally acknowledged. Issues of racial, labor unrest, juvenile delinquency, and marital infidelity were rampant, and the black market flourished. This book delves into both personal and national issues, calling into questions the dominant view of World War II as ‘The Good War’.
When a machine-gun bullet ended the life of war correspondent Ernie Pyle in the final days of World War II, Americans mourned him in the same breath as they mourned Franklin Roosevelt. To millions, the loss of this American folk hero seemed nearly as great as the loss of the wartime president. If the hidden horrors and valor of combat persist at all in the public mind, it is because of those writers who watched it and recorded it in the faith that war is too important to be confined to the private memories of the warriors. Above all these writers, Ernie Pyle towered as a giant. Through his words and his compassion, Americans everywhere gleaned their understanding of what they came to call “The Good War.” Pyle walked a troubled path to fame. Though insecure and anxious, he created a carefree and kindly public image in his popular prewar column—all the while struggling with inner demons and a tortured marriage. War, in fact, offered Pyle an escape hatch from his own personal hell. It also offered him a subject precisely suited to his talent—a shrewd understanding of human nature, an unmatched eye for detail, a profound capacity to identify with the suffering soldiers whom he adopted as his own, and a plain yet poetic style reminiscent of Mark Twain and Will Rogers. These he brought to bear on the Battle of Britain and all the great American campaigns of the war—North Africa, Sicily, Italy, D-Day and Normandy, the liberation of Paris, and finally Okinawa, where he felt compelled to go because of his enormous public stature despite premonitions of death. In this immensely engrossing biography, affectionate yet critical, journalist and historian James Tobin does an Ernie Pyle job on Ernie Pyle, evoking perfectly the life and labors of this strange, frail, bald little man whose love/hate relationship to war mirrors our own. Based on dozens of interviews and copious research in little-known archives, Ernie Pyle's War is a self-effacing tour de force. To read it is to know Ernie Pyle, and most of all, to know his war.
This changes everything we thought we knew about John Steinbeck. After languishing in the CIA’s archives for 60 years, a letter is uncovered in John Steinbeck’s own hand that shatters everything history tells us about the author’s life. Written in 1952, to CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith, Steinbeck makes an offer to become an asset for the Agency during a trip to Europe later that year. More shocking than Steinbeck’s letter is Smith’s reply accepting John’s proposal. Discovered by author Brian Kannard, these letters create the tantalizing proposal that John Steinbeck was, in fact, a CIA spy. Utilizing information from Steinbeck’s FBI file, John’s own correspondence, and interviews with John’s son Thomas Steinbeck, playwright Edward Albee, a former CIA intelligence officer, and others, Steinbeck: Citizen Spy uncovers the secret life of American cultural icon and Nobel Prize–winner, John Steinbeck. •Did Steinbeck actively gather information for the intelligence community during his 1947 and 1963 trips to the Soviet Union? •Why was the controversial author of The Grapes of Wrath never called before the House Select Committee on Un-American Activities, despite alleged ties to Communist organizations? •Did the CIA influence Steinbeck to produce Cold War propaganda as part of Operation MOCKINGBIRD? •Why did the CIA admit to the Church Committee in 1975 that Steinbeck was a subject of their illegal mail-opening program known as HTLINGUAL? These and a host of other resources leave little doubt that there are depths yet unplumbed in the life of one of America’s most treasured authors. Just how heavily was Steinbeck involved in CIA operations? What did he know? And how much did he sacrifice for his country? Steinbeck: Citizen Spy brings us one step closer to the truth.
DIV After food rationing was introduced in 1940, and German U-boats began threatening merchant shipping bringing in essential foodstuffs, the Ministry of Agriculture decided something had to be done to make the kitchens of Britain more self-sufficient. The result was one of Britain’s most successful propaganda campaigns – Dig for Victory – encouraging every man and woman to turn their garden, or even the grass verge in their street, over to cultivating vegetables. By 1942 half the population were taking part, and even the Royal Family had sacrificed their rose beds for growing onions. Now, Daniel Smith tells the full story of this remarkable wartime episode when spades, forks and bean canes became weapons the ordinary citizen could take up against the enemy. It had tangible benefits for the war effort in that shipping could be reallocated for munitions instead of food imports, as well as for the health of the nation in encouraging a diet of fresh fruit and veg. The campaign threw up unexpected celebrities like C.H. Middleton, whose wartime BBC radio talks on gardening reached a vast audience, and it even sowed the seeds for the modern allotment movement. Ultimately it is a war story without fighting or killing, one that shows how even The Little Man with the Spade, in the words of the Minister for Agriculture at the time, did his bit for Victory. /div
Since Achilles first stormed into our imagination, literature has introduced its readers to truly unforgettable martial characters. In Men at War, Christopher Coker discusses some of the most famous of these fictional creations and their impact on our understanding of war and masculinity. Grouped into five archetypes-warriors, heroes, villains, survivors and victims-these characters range across 3000 years of history, through epic poems, the modern novel and one of the twentieth century's most famous film scripts. Great authors like Homer and Tolstoy show us aspects of reality invisible except through a literary lens, while fictional characters such as Achilles and Falstaff, Robert Jordan and Jack Aubrey, are not just larger than life; they are life's largeness-and this is why we seek them out. Although the Greeks knew that the lovers, wives and mothers of soldiers are the chief victims of battle, for the combatants, war is a masculine pursuit. Each of Coker's chapters explores what fiction tells us about war's appeal to young men and the way it makes- and breaks-them. The existential appeal of war too is perhaps best conveyed in fictional accounts, and these too are scrutinized by the author.
An authoritative history of Yugoslavia with a new chapter on the ethnic wars in Croatia and Bosnia, and Kosovo.

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