The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw has coined the World War II generation the greatest generation ever. In this book, he chronicles the lives and times of those who fought in World War II and how it affected them. The book is broken up into sections with miniature biographies of individuals telling of their lives before, during, and after the War.
Undeniably, there were tremendous sacrifices by those in uniform and at home and the whole country rallied to help the troops win the war. The book includes average Joe and Jill type of people as well as more well known veterans such as Hank Greenberg, Bob Dole, Andy Rooney, George H.W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, and Art Buchwald. It also covers the story of women's contributions to the war effort whether in or out of uniform. Additionally, the civil rights issues of equality to minorities is covered in fairly extensive detail. Some of the stories describing the inequalities and discrimination which occurred provided better insight into the nature of things in that day.
By and large, veterans following the war were eager to get on with life, start families and successful business and political careers. The war helped shape their focus and sense of purpose. This generation helped create a framework upon which all living in America today now benefit.
Towards the end of the book, things seemed to slow down a bit and the overall flow of the book could probably have benefited from cutting down the length 50 or so pages. This is not to say the stories were not worthy of being told, it simply had a feeling of weightiness and length at 390 pages.
This book should be a required part of high school curriculum so that all students would better understand the tremendous sacrifice, efforts, and heroics performed by the incredible men and women of this generation. By understanding the values and things that drove this generation, the youth and upcoming leaders of today can draw upon their wisdom and positively shape the future of our nation. Like individual pieces in a jigsaw puzzle come together to create a picture, the individual stories of the regular folks and well known come together to create a picture of the greatest generation America has yet seen.
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