Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen

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Harper Collins, Mar 17, 2009 - History - 288 pages
13 Reviews

In search of "the best America there ever was," bestselling author and award-winning journalist Bob Greene finds it in a small Nebraska town few people pass through today—a town where Greene discovers the echoes of the most touching love story imaginable: a love story between a country and its sons.

During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte, Nebraska, on troop trains en route to their ultimate destinations in Europe and the Pacific. The tiny town, wanting to offer the servicemen warmth and support, transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen.

Every day of the year, every day of the war, the Canteen—staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers—was open from five a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight. Astonishingly, this remote plains community of only 12,000 people provided welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food and treats to more than six million GIs by the time the war ended.

In this poignant and heartwarming eyewitness history, based on interviews with North Platte residents and the soldiers who once passed through, Bob Greene tells a classic, lost-in-the-mists-of-time American story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - piersanti - LibraryThing

This book is certainly interesting and it shares accounts I, and probably most people, have never heard before. However, even though each account is amazing and almost brings a tear to your eye, it gets a bit repetitive. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brendajanefrank - LibraryThing

The story brings the historical gem of the North Platte Canteen to light. However, the writing is mawkish and redundant. It's tough to make a whole book out of giving out free food and help to soldiers at the train station. Read full review


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Section 8
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22

Section 9
Section 10
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Section 23
Section 24
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Section 26

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Page 95 - Peak and California are revived. Every house is a saloon, and every saloon is a gambling den. Revolvers are in great requisition. Beardless youths imitate to the life the peculiar swagger of the devilmay-care bull-whacker and blackleg, and here, for the first time, they try their hands at the "Mexican monte," "high-low-jack," "strap," " rougc-ct-noir" " three-card monte," and that satanic game, " chucka-luck,
Page 83 - She also mentioned that her older brother was her parents' favorite and she "just accepted that that was the way it was and that was the way it had to be.
Page 95 - BLOW and night the saloons are in full blast, and sums of money varying from five dollars to fifty and even one hundred change hands with a rapidity astonishing to one who is not accustomed to the recklessness which their wild frontier life invariably begets.
Page 73 - ... not be transferred. It must be held and used only by or on behalf of the person to whom it has been issued, and anyone presenting it thereby represents to the Office of Price Administration, an agency of the United States Government, that it is being so held and so used. For any misuse of this book it may be taken from the holder by the Office of Price Administration.
Page 74 - Rationing is a vital part of your country's war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share and will create hardship and help the enemy. This book is your Government's assurance of your right to buy your fair share of certain goods made scarce by war.
Page 24 - I always knew darn well that a lot of those soldiers in the Canteen were never coming back. But I was an optimistic girl, and I tried not to let it enter my mind. They were handsome young men in the Canteen, people I admired, and I wasn't going to think about them not coming home.
Page 73 - Imprisonment or $10,000 Fine, or Both, may be imposed under United ->tates Statutes for violations therof arising out of infractions of Rationing Orders and Regulations. 2. This book must not be transferred. It must be held and used only by or on behalf of the person to whom it has been issued, and anyone presenting it thereby represents to the Office of Price Administration...
Page 74 - Give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods. Be guided by the rule: 'If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT.
Page 15 - To see the spirits and the high morale among those soldiers should certainly put some of us on our feet and make us realize we are really at war. We should help keep this soldier morale at its highest peak. We can do our part.

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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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