Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Review (#11 of 2010)

The War, an Intimate History 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns (published to compliment Burns' PBS documentary).
This looks at the war from more of the "common man" standpoint. Burns follows several different soldiers from their small towns to the battlefront. He tells the war from the viewpoint of places like Mobile, Alabama as well as the front. I liked that approach, but the later chapters are mostly just war with very little mention of life at home.

This book isn't looking to expose new facts about the war, or tell stories you haven't already read about or seen in movies. He leaves out a lot, and just focuses on what the war looks like mostly from the point of view of the G.I. on the ground. Along the way there are some interesting tidbits, but those aren't the point of the book.

I think Burns does a good job illustrating the cost of the war-- the giant machine at home that employed so many people, the psychological trauma to the soldiers, and the sheer amount of destruction and loss of life. He shows how it's possible that every American was affected by the war in some way.

I also enjoyed that the war story was told chronologically. You get a real sense of what happened when, and in relation to other important events.

I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. I've never seen the documentary but would jump at the chance to.

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