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

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dec 2, 2014 - History - 224 pages
7 Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“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


 

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User Review  - Sullywriter - LibraryThing

A fascinating look at the efforts to provide books to American sailors and soldiers serving overseas during World War II, which led to the publication of American Service Editions which were ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JanaRose1 - LibraryThing

This book recounts the efforts of librarians, governmental agencies and individuals to ensure that our soldiers had books to read during WWII. Although I thought the book was very repetitive, it also taught me a great deal. Overall, good for informational purposes. Read full review

Contents

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 FDRs F th T m
133
9 Germanys Surrender and the Godforsaken Islands
151
10 Peace at Last
170
11 Damned Average Raisers
181
Back Matter
193
Back Flap
269
Back Cover
270
Spine
271
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

MOLLY GUPTILL MANNING is a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and sits on the board of editors of the Federal Bar Council Quarterly. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in American history from the University at Albany and a J.D. at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Molly lives in Manhattan with her husband.

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