Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War

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Harper Collins, Mar 17, 2009 - History - 304 pages
3 Reviews

When Bob Greene went home to central Ohio to be with his dying father, it set off a chain of events that led him to knowing his dad in a way he never had before—thanks to a quiet man who lived just a few miles away, a man who had changed the history of the world.

Greene's father—a soldier with an infantry division in World War II—often spoke of seeing the man around town. All but anonymous even in his own city, carefully maintaining his privacy, this man, Greene's father would point out to him, had "won the war." He was Paul Tibbets. At the age of twenty-nine, at the request of his country, Tibbets assembled a secret team of 1,800 American soldiers to carry out the single most violent act in the history of mankind. In 1945 Tibbets piloted a plane—which he called Enola Gay, after his mother—to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, where he dropped the atomic bomb.

On the morning after the last meal he ever ate with his father, Greene went to meet Tibbets. What developed was an unlikely friendship that allowed Greene to discover things about his father, and his father's generation of soldiers, that he never fully understood before.

Duty is the story of three lives connected by history, proximity, and blood; indeed, it is many stories, intimate and achingly personal as well as deeply historic. In one soldier's memory of a mission that transformed the world—and in a son's last attempt to grasp his father's ingrained sense of honor and duty—lies a powerful tribute to the ordinary heroes of an extraordinary time in American life.

What Greene came away with is found history and found poetry—a profoundly moving work that offers a vividly new perspective on responsibility, empathy, and love. It is an exploration of and response to the concept of duty as it once was and always should be: quiet and from the heart. On every page you can hear the whisper of a generation and its children bidding each other farewell.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lamour - LibraryThing

Greene is a columnist at the Chicago Tribune as well as a broadcast journalist. This book is about his father who is dying, a man he has never been close to. Greene does remember that his father came ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - zimbawilson - LibraryThing

This is a great multi part story told masterfully by Bob Greene. It is the story of both his father's service in WWII and interviews with Paul Tibbets the pilot/commander of the Enola Gay that dropped ... Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
10
III
14
IV
24
V
30
VI
37
VII
43
VIII
54
XIII
125
XIV
181
XV
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XVI
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XVII
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XVIII
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XIX
255
XX
279

IX
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X
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XI
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XII
101
XXI
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XXII
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Page 18 - It's not an easy thing to hear, but please listen. There is no morality in warfare. You kill children. You kill women. You kill old men. You don't seek them out, but they die. That's what happens in war.
Page 226 - Army Group. I know you will face the task ahead with the same magnificent. generous and indomitable spirit you have shown in this long campaign. Forward, to final victory. God bless you all.
Page 17 - My mother was a very calm, pacific individual, and I learned from her to be the same way. You get a lot damn further by being calm when you're doing a job. Our crew did not do the bombing in anger. We did it because we were determined to stop the killing. I would have done anything to get to Japan and stop the killing.
Page 15 - I looked at that city—and there was no city, there was nothing but the fringes of where the city used to be. There had been a city when we were making our approach, but now there was no humanity there.
Page 260 - But then, as we flew away.. . it was like something I'd never seen before. Parts of buildings were coming up the stem of the bomb-you could tell that something strange was going on, because you could see parts of the city, pieces of the buildings, like they were being sucked
Page 18 - the Germans had not surrendered, I would have flown the bomb over there. I would have taken some satisfaction in that—because they shot me up.
Page 21 - If you could fix me up so that I could do the same things in an airplane now that I could do in 1945?

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About the author (2009)

Award-winning journalist Bob Greene is the author of six New York Times bestsellers and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Op-Ed page.

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