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Release Date: May, 2001
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Tom Brokaw was born in 1940, but it wasn't until he was a famous newscaster that he began to contemplate what his parents' generation--those born between 1910 and the mid-1920s--had accomplished. Narrating his own book, he discusses the sacrifices those men and women made: the bodily harm they suffered in war, the diligence with which they built families and businesses, the courage they displayed in rehabilitating their war wounds, the integrity and values that infused their lives. "They never whined or whimpered," Brokaw notes. The stories these men and women tell Brokaw are consistently startling--triumphant, tragic, courageous, sad, miraculous. Although Brokaw never gets maudlin or sappy, most people will find it impossible to listen to this audiobook with dry eyes. (Running time: 4 hours, 3 cassettes) --Lou Schuler
||Random House Trade Paperbacks
||1.3 x 6.1 x 9.0 in.
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Posted by Anonymous on 12/13/1999
I bought this book for my children. I am so thankful that someone told this story. This Greatest Generation is slowly slipping away. I am a baby boomer and my father [their grandfather] was an Italian immigrant. He was very aware of the freedom he enjoyed in this country and was willing to fight against the tyrrany of a very sick dictator! Their other grandfather fought at Pearl Harbor. Their future wives worked hard here at home for the war effort. Both men thankfully survived to go on and help rebuild this country where their families could grow up safely and with more opportunities than they knew. These dear family members have now passed on. I wanted my children to understand what their grandparents endured and to be very proud of the unselfishness of that Greatest Generation. They didn't have state-of-the-art everything, but they had loyalty, integrity, determination and grit that far overshadowed any doubts or fears. Their example of selflessness was an honorable trait. We should all strive to emulate their noble character.
Posted by Anonymous on 12/16/1999
I am only 17, but my Grandfather fought in WWII. A book like this is very rare. As I have learned it's very hard for veterans to talk about their experiences. And, yes, this generation is slipping away from us and to have thier experiences written down for other, future generations to read is wonderful.
An Impressive and Moving Story
Posted by Stan Vernooy on 8/20/2001
This very moving book teaches more lessons than I can include in one review. By now most readers probably already know the basic theme - it's the story of a number of representatives of the generation that lived through the depression, fought World War II, and built post-war America. Many of the stories will bring tears to your eyes and make you recognize how far we have fallen from the standard of sacrifice and non-whining patriotism that these people took for granted as standards to live by.
But perhaps I can point out an additional, less-commented-on lesson from the book: Despite the consistent themes of responsibility and duty which underlie almost every account, these people were far more diverse than we today have given them credit for. They were not monolithically conservative, worshipers of the Establishment, traditionally religious, obsessed with making money, conformist gray-flannel people with 2.6 kids and a stay-at-home mom in each family. For example, when the Viet Nam war and the associated 60s protests arrived, the reactions and tolerance levels of these people varied widely. Their values and lifestyles were about as diverse as those we find in our new century.
The one clear difference between that generation and subsequent ones can be summed up in two words: no whining. In the entire book, I don't recall a single individual even mentioning the word "rights" as they applied to himself or herself. No one believed that he or she was entitled to special privileges or to live at the expense of anyone else. No one expected the world to be fair. They took the world as they found it, and made the best of it.
The only failure that the Greatest Generation can be charged with is that they were so successful in building a society where everything came easily. That in turn gave rise to the generations of adult brats who gave this book negative reviews because they couldn't believe some of the UNsolved problems could have been so hard to solve. The life of ease bequeathed to us by the Greatest Generation has obscured the natural hardships of life that made loyalty and hard work a necessary trait for survival. People now have the luxury of sitting back and leisurely lecturing their forebears on how THEY would have done everything better. When we hear (or read) such nonsense, I don't know whether the proper reaction is to laugh condescendingly or to throw up.