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

Molly Guptill Manning

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

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

  • Title: When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II
  • Author: Molly Guptill Manning
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • 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 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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    One thought on “When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

    1. Jason Koivu on said:

      They don't call them The Greatest Generation for nothing! I knew they were called that because of the sacrifices they made during World War II. What I didn't know was that part of their legacy was solidified after the war. Soldiers in WWII LOVED to read. Some of them hadn't so much as picked up a book outside of mandatory school reading. However, when they got into the Army and Navy they realized they had a lot of boring down-time. Without video games and things like movies not being readily ava [...]

    2. Diane Barnes on said:

      "More books were given to the American armed services than Hitler destroyed.". That just about sums up the goals of the American government in creating and publishing the ASE, Armed Services Editions, for distribution to American servicemen in WWII. Remembered fondly by veterans, it provided free, small, easily transportable paperback books for servicemen to fit in their pockets to be read whenever they needed the escape books provided. For book lovers, this is an informative account of how read [...]

    3. Biblio Files (takingadayoff) on said:

      In a slice of history that's hard to imagine could be repeated today, When Books Went to War tells the story of a program that delivered millions of books to Americans in the military overseas during World War II. For some reason, this story has been all over place recently, in an article in Atlantic magazine, in a book about The Great Gatsby by Maureen Corrigan (So We Read On), and now here. It was no secret, but I never heard of the program until a few months ago.It's a fascinating history and [...]

    4. Laura on said:

      I vividly remember the American Service Edition of W. H. Hudson's Green Mansions that was among my parents' books, with its distinctive shape--the width about double in size from the height, its double columns of type, and its floppy cover. I suspect that my father brought this book back from his Army service in World War II. A draftee from the Chicago slums, he exemplified the person for whom these books were distributed by the U.S. Army and Navy. Thrown together with draftees from places as re [...]

    5. Connie on said:

      American librarians worked together in a campaign to collect books for the troops in World War II. The hardcover books were very appreciated in training camps and on transport ships. But the hardcover books were too heavy and awkward for the troops to carry in their packs. In 1943, the War Department and publishers joined together to make lightweight books that were small enough to fit into the soldiers' pockets. 1,200 different titles were published. They served as a distraction from the pain o [...]

    6. Darlene on said:

      Excerpt from a letter written to Betty Smith, the author of 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' from a 20 year old Marine in sick bay during World War II… "Ever since the first time I struggled through knee deep mud… carrying a stretcher from which my buddie's life dripped away in precious blood and I was powerless to help him, I have felt hard and cynical against the world and have felt sure that I was no longer capable of loving anything or anybody… I can't explain the emotional reaction that too [...]

    7. Anne on said:

      This is just a fascinating topic to me. I had no idea the ASE Program existed during WWII. Certainly none of the manly men (think John Wayne) portraying servicemen in all the war movies I ever saw would ever be caught dead reading a book. And yet, we learn from this book that reading was ubiquitous in all theaters of war. Who knew? The introduction to this book was wonderful, and had me in tears, thinking I needed to re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The rest of the book I found to be, for the m [...]

    8. Lee Anne on said:

      A classic example of a book that would have made a great magazine article. I didn't know about the ASE editions of books printed for soldiers in WWII, and I would have been riveted if it had been short form reading. But Molly Guptill Manning gets so bogged down in recounting political maneuverings and brave librarians and censorship battles and so on that she sucks all the readability out of the story. Even the best part of the book, where she prints excerpts of the fan letters the soldiers wrot [...]

    9. Steven Z. on said:

      As a professed bibliophile I was intrigued when I learned of the publication of When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning. The concept of the book was fascinating and it seemed to me that the topic, the impact of reading on American military personnel during World War II has never been given much attention. Now, with Manning’s monograph we have a short history of the role of books during the Second World War ranging from Nazi book burnings, the ideological war between Nazism and Democrac [...]

    10. Book Concierge on said:

      While Nazis were burning books in Europe, Americans were trying to get more books distributed to the men fighting in the war. Their first efforts were a massive book drive, collecting about 10 million books to send to various training camps and overseas bases to support military libraries. But the hardcover books that were donated were too heavy for soldiers to carry into combat. So an unprecedented collaboration was born, including publishers, librarians and the military, and the Armed Service [...]

    11. Lauren on said:

      Guptill Manning's When Books Went to War traces the various campaigns led by citizen groups, librarians, and the publishing industry during World War II to provide American service members with books for entertainment and education. In an effort to ease anxiety and loneliness/homesickness for service members, the facilitators of the Victory Book Campaign, and later the Council on Books in Wartime brought millions of books in the form of Armed Service Edition (ASEs). Over 1200 titles were publish [...]

    12. Bookworm on said:

      Did I read the same book as other reviewers? I have to say, I'm really confused by the high praise this book is getting. It's a really interesting topic: the role books played for US soldiers in WWII. I don't think I've ever encountered this particular topic (there's propaganda, but that's more for people at home, rather than the soldiers themselves). I thought, a book about books? During a very dark time at home and for soldiers abroad? Sounds interesting! Instead, it's an incredibly dry retel [...]

    13. Diane on said:

      This was the most bookish book I've ever seen on World War II. And because of its extreme bookishness, it also managed to be the most heartwarming nonfiction book about that war I've read. (There just aren't a lot of heartwarming books about Nazis. Not sure why)Anyway, the author set out to chronicle how books helped American soldiers serving overseas. Librarians organized massive donations of books to send to soldiers, but eventually the Armed Services started printing their own editions of lig [...]

    14. Monty on said:

      This book is a minor gem in portraying and describing a little-known but very important aspect of the Second World War. Most people are aware of the physical and psychological damage inflicted on the world by the Axis powers, but many probably are not aware of the cultural, literary and intellectual damage perpetrated by those barbaric and inhuman thugs. While the Nazis closed and sealed libraries in France, Holland and other Western European countries--they treated Eastern Europe far worse. The [...]

    15. Marla on said:

      As a book lover I found this book very interesting. Plus I'm fascinated with anything to do with World War II. It's a good audiobook, the narrator does a good job.

    16. Arief Bakhtiar D. on said:

      SETELAH BUKU-BUKU TERBAKAR"In the long run, books will win."─H. G. WeelsPADA tahun 1939 dan 1940 terjadi perang di Benua Eropa. Kita tahu salah satu penyebabnya: Jerman merasa dirinya tinggi dan di bawah Hitler ingin menguasai dunia. Dalam satu tahun Jerman menguasai Prancis, Belanda, Belgia, Polandia, Finlandia, Norwegia, dan Luksemburg. Majalah The Times menuliskan berita yang agaknya juga peringatan untuk Amerika: "Hitler becoming the master of all Europe".Pada saat yang sama, Amerika Serik [...]

    17. Margaret on said:

      This book made me laugh and cry, and really made me feel like I was living during WWII. It was that good. I had no idea that books played such an important role in the war, and this book did an excellent job of telling the story. Not all non-fiction books keep my attention, but this one did. It begins with the Berlin book burning and then shows how America's librarians and publishers fought back against this destruction of books by sending millions upon millions of popular books to the Americans [...]

    18. Patricia on said:

      A very readable, well researched book on a facet of World War II I knew little about. It made me think about the role of Hitler's propaganda in priming Germany, as well as Europe, for conflict. It covers the horrendous book burning of 1933 in Germany and the reaction of the press in America and other countries. It tells the story of how American servicemen treasured any reading material they could get their hands on and how the dissemination of Armed Services Edition books provided diversion, co [...]

    19. Pam on said:

      Holidays are always a great time for a feel-good book and this one is the story about "how the men of words shared the responsibility with the makers of guns and the users of them" to win World War II. Over the course of the war 1200 titles were printed for the service men in the US armed forces. Intended to help build morale and win the war of ideas, the program was universally popular. I was immediately fascinated when I came across this program while reading Maureen Corrigan's So We Read On: [...]

    20. Furrawn on said:

      I bought this book because I was curious about the premise Instead, my worldview has changed because of reading this book. My undergrad degree is in English Literature. I think after reading this book, that if I was teaching an English class, the first two weeks would be devoted to the history and life of books. Yes, this book was that fascinating of a read. I'm utterly enchanted by how books were such an integral part of fighting Hitler. I learned a lot of things I didn't know about WWII. Readi [...]

    21. Gina on said:

      If you love books like I do, then this is a book to make you love them even more. During WWII, training base services were nonexistent for drafted men. Services of any kind were nonexistent for men in the European or Pacific theatres. The solution - give them books as a way to escape the horrors of war for a little while, aid in improving their education to move up in rank, and to simply provide entertainment for what could be hours of boredom waiting for the next fight. Propaganda was also a fa [...]

    22. Lesa on said:

      Frankly, Molly Guptill Manning's When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II can be a little dry at times. At the same time, I teared up over and over again. It's hard for a librarian to resist a book that's about, "The inspiring story of an army of librarians, 120 million special paperbacks, and the authors and books that lifted the spirits of our troops."According to Manning, when American "citizen soldiers" went to war, the war took a physical and psychological toll. T [...]

    23. Jimmy on said:

      I think the author accomplished everything she intended writing this book. It is a thorough look at the books that were sent to WWII soldiers overseas. It is an excellent book for anyone interested in the topic and also for high school students who want to learn about the war from another perspective. Hitler's policies in the late twenties paved the way for a climate where violence against Jews could exist. Hitler used psychological warfare against France and Britain before they ever entered the [...]

    24. Heather L on said:

      During World War II, Germany destroyed more than one hundred million books between May 1933 through the end of the war through public book burnings and bombings. By contrast, the United States, through their Armed Services Editions, printed and distributed 120 million books to our service members, and also arranged to have bundles of popular magazines distributed to the troops in order to boost morale. This was a fascinating read about how the United States used books to combat Germany's "total [...]

    25. Cathy Cole on said:

      If you love books, you are going to love When Books Went to War. I knew absolutely nothing about Armed Services Editions before I picked up this book, and once I finished it, I knew that one day I would have to have one of these extraordinary books in my personal library-- and not just because my grandfather fought in the Pacific during World War II.I was not prepared for the emotional power this book held for me. As I read about a government that tried to plan for all eventualities, I was inspi [...]

    26. Bob Schnell on said:

      Advanced reading copy reviewA book about books and the importance of reading during wartime, "When Books Went to War" covers a forgotten piece of WWII history that should be interesting to more than librarians and book worms. As a result of Nazi book burnings, when America entered WWII it was determined to fight a war of ideas by issuing small paperback Armed Services Editions (ASE) of popular and thought=provoking books to the troops so they would not only have something to read but also have a [...]

    27. Ange on said:

      I LOVED this book! As soon as I finished it I bought a copy for my Dad who devoured it and bought copies for his friends. I love to read and was just mesmerized by this history of books and war. There were moments in this book that brought tears to my eyes and moments that filled me with joy and awe. Reading this was a beautiful experience. All through reading this I kept thinking of my grandfathers, both of whom served in WWII. I wished I'd gotten the chance to ask them about their favorite ASE [...]

    28. Abby on said:

      While I'm not a fan of non-fiction as a general rule, the ones I do read, I tend to love. This is one of those books. When Books Went to War is about how the US came together to deliver paperback books to the military during World War II. It was fascinating to learn about the book productions and the joy they brought to the troops. This is a subject matter that not many people actually know about, and I found it very informative. ASEs paved the way to veteran education programs and changed the w [...]

    29. Ashley V on said:

      I love books, and I love war history. This book should have been a slam dunk for me but sadly, not even close. The Introduction left me with high hopes but as I got into the book I found it very dry. It was simply a recounting of facts, with no life to it. It felt like a very bulleted "this happened, then this happened, then this happened. About halfway through I started to do a lot of skimming hoping to find more individual stories from soldiers about how having books in the warzone had particu [...]

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