The Greatest Generation

by Tom Brokaw

Hardcover, 1998


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Call number

940.54 Br


Random House (1998), Edition: 1, 432 pages


Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:The instant classic that changed the way we saw World War II and an entire generation of Americans, from the beloved journalist whose own iconic career has lasted more than fifty years. In this magnificent testament to a nation and her people, Tom Brokaw brings to life the extraordinary stories of a generation that gave new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and honor. From military heroes to community leaders to ordinary citizens, he profiles men and women who served their country with valor, then came home and transformed it: Senator Daniel Inouye, decorated at the front, fighting prejudice at home; Martha Settle Putney, one of the first black women to serve in the newly formed WACs; Charles Van Gorder, a doctor who set up a MASH-like medical facility in the middle of battle, then opened a small clinic in his hometown; Navy pilot and future president George H. W. Bush, assigned to read the mail of the enlisted men under him, who says that in doing so he �learned about life�; and many other laudable Americans. To this generation that gave so much and asked so little, Brokaw offers eloquent tribute in true stories of everyday heroes in extraordinary times. Praise for The Greatest Generation �Moving . . . a tribute to the members of the World War II generation to whom we Americans and the world owe so much.��The New York Times Book Review �Full of wonderful, wrenching tales of a generation of heroes. Tom Brokaw reminds us what we are capable of as a people. An inspiring read for those who wish their spirits lifted.��Colin L. Powell   �Offers welcome inspiration . . . It is impossible to read even a few of these accounts and not be touched by the book�s overarching message: We who followed this generation have lived in the midst of greatness.��The Washington Times   �Entirely compelling.��The Wall Street Journal.… (more)

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User reviews

LibraryThing member doxtator
The glossy style, which always sounded like it was written to be read outloud for a broadcast, made this book somewhat less appealing. Also, the breezing through of the individual stories was disappointing. A few chapters here and there contained nuggets of details that were a glimpse into the
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reality of their lives. Otherwise, it was a solidly tempered book that paints broad strokes, but leaves you desiring more details. The short chapters make it an easy book to read if you only have limited bits of time, or are often interrupted.
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LibraryThing member MeredithYvonne
What can you say about a book that tells one amazing story after another? It's just a great read. I loved this book because you can put it down and pick it up later and not loose much of what the book is about.
LibraryThing member sapsygo
I expected a bit more from this book - I think Brokaw did a good job interviewing his subjects and finding interesting people to talk to (and I would hope so, given his background and experience!) but I thought his analysis and writing was rather weak. At times I felt like I was reading a
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hagiography of WWII veterans, rather than a biography. I also felt that Brokaw belabored his ideas and had a hard time occasionally with the transition between his interview and his overall points. Still, I'm glad I read it, as the book had an excellent premise and raw material, it just could have used a better implementation.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
I enjoyed reading this book. First person memories are much more interesting to me than bland histories with lots of place names and dates.
This is the generation just before my parents, one which I have not known much of, except through books. I appreciate Mr. Brokaw's attempt to try to know and
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understand the men and women who experienced WWII. To find out about their thoughts, feelings, experiences and memories.
A very moving and personal read.
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LibraryThing member brose72
Glimpses of ordinary American heroes during extraordinary times. Some real good personal stories found within the covers of this book.
LibraryThing member rorispaniel
Tom Brokaw interviews a number of WWII veterans about their war experiences and how their lives were changed after they gt back to the states. The stories told are very interesting, as well as their perspectives on their lives and how the world has changed since that time.
LibraryThing member sadiekaycarver
I was excited to get into this book. As a long-time fan of Tom Brokaw, I knew of his desire to honor this generation. I found it a compelling read. The personal stories touched my heart although, a few seemed repetitive. While not a sit on the beach, light read, it is a good book, not great, but
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LibraryThing member joebart33
great book of history and honor
LibraryThing member brian_irons
I don't belong to this generation but my parents did and I love this era. The war was only a small piece of what was going on in America.
LibraryThing member HadriantheBlind
Pretty good set of mini-biographes, which seek to show by example the range of virtues and lives that members of "The Greatest Generation" lived. They all had very impressive lives, of course. The writing style is a bit uneven and doesn't do them all justice, but still a very informative read.
LibraryThing member wenestvedt
There was a lot of wind over this book, but it deserves a reading on its own merits. (I love oral history.) To be fair, set next to Studs Terkels' "The 'Good' War" it reveals a lot of the burnishing of the WWII generation's image in the years between the two books' publications.
LibraryThing member AntT
Interesting, not bad, but not particularly compelling.
LibraryThing member AntT
Interesting, not bad, but not particularly compelling.
LibraryThing member mbmackay
A series of stories of US WW2 veterans. Actually much better than it sounds.
Read Mar 2004
LibraryThing member SABC
Brokaw goes out into America to hear the stories of men and women who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II and went on to build the modern America.
LibraryThing member golfjr
My father, who was a member of the "greatest generation" loved this book, so I felt I owed it to him to read it. It is a fine book well written and conceived. Somewhat ordinary people are profiled. They are removed from ordinary lives and put in harm's way and respond with simplicity, courage and
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fellow-feeling. It is a good lesson about our parents and true patriotism.
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LibraryThing member steve02476
Read about a third of it. A long string of tiny biographies of WWII generation people, written in readers digest style. Not my kinda book.
LibraryThing member atozgrl
Tom Brokaw recounts the stories of a number of people, both ordinary and famous, who served in the military during World War II, or who served in some capacity on the home front. The stories tell of what they did during the war and also go on to tell of their accomplishments after the war and how
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their war experience played a role in those accomplishments. Many of them learned discipline and leadership skills that were instrumental in their success. While celebrating the bravery and heroism of Americans during the war, Brokaw does not overlook America's flaws. He includes a chapter on the (mis)treatment of minorities including African-Americans and Latinos and the forcible relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. The book provides a good insight into that generation of Americans. I thought it was an interesting book.
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LibraryThing member gaillamontagne
4 hours: abridged. I bought it at a second-hand store and now I want the unabridged version. This is a compilation of the lives of individual men and woman who told of their experiences during the fighting of WWII. I marveled at the selfless dedication and bravery of ordinary people and even some
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famous ones. Tom Brokaw states, "I am in awe of them, these men and women who have given us the world we have today. I feel privileged to have been witness to their stories". You might be shocked at how different our cultural worldview presents itself today in just the span of 68 years. (For me, it is just one generation) . Tom Brokaw inspires as retells each hero's experience.
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LibraryThing member kslade
Good stories of war generation.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

432 p.; 6.45 inches


0375504621 / 9780375504624
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