Search-icon

The Greatest Generation

By

Paperback published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (Random House Publishing Group)

Larger Image
13 Ratings. What's Yours?
Histogram_reset_icon
(6 REVIEWS)
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
"In the spring of 1984, I went to the northwest of France, to Normandy, to prepare an NBC documentary on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, the massive and daring Allied invasion of Europe that marked the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. There, I underwent a life-changing experience. As I walked the beaches with the American veterans who had returned for this anniversary, men in their sixties and seventies, and listened to their stories, I was deeply moved and profoundly grateful for all they had done. Ten years later, I returned to Normandy for the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion, and by then I had come to understand what this generation of Americans meant to history. It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced."
        
In this superb book, Tom Brokaw goes out into America, to tell through the stories of individual men and women the story of a generation, America's citizen heroes and heroines who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America. This generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values--duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country, and, above all, responsibility for oneself. In this book, you will meet people whose everyday lives reveal how a generation persevered through war, and were trained by it, and then went on to create interesting and useful lives and the America we have today.

"At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific. They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world. They came home to joyous and short-lived celebrations and immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted. They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. A grateful nation made it possible for more of them to attend college than any society had ever educated, anywhere. They gave the world new science, literature, art, industry, and economic strength unparalleled in the long curve of history. As they now reach the twilight of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest. They have so many stories to tell, stories that in many cases they have never told before, because in a deep sense they didn't think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too.

"This book, I hope, will in some small way pay tribute to those men and women who have given us the lives we have today--an American family portrait album of the greatest generation."
                
In this book you'll meet people like Charles Van Gorder, who set up during D-Day a MASH-like medical facility in the middle of the fighting, and then came home to create a clinic and hospital in his hometown. You'll hear George Bush talk about how, as a Navy Air Corps combat pilot, one of his assignments was to read the mail of the enlisted men under him, to be sure no sensitive military information would be compromised. And so, Bush says, "I learned about life." You'll meet Trudy Elion, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine, one of the many women in this book who found fulfilling careers in the changed society as a result of the war. You'll meet Martha Putney, one of the first black women to serve in the newly formed WACs. And you'll meet the members of the Romeo Club (Retired Old Men Eating Out), friends for life.
        
Through these and other stories in The Greatest Generation, you'll relive with ordinary men and women, military heroes, famous people of great achievement, and community leaders how these extraordinary times forged the values and provided the training that made a people and a nation great.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
"In the spring of 1984, I went to the northwest of France, to Normandy, to prepare an NBC documentary on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, the massive and daring Allied invasion of Europe that marked the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. There, I underwent a life-changing experience. As I walked the beaches with the American veterans who had returned for this anniversary, men in their sixties and seventies, and listened to their stories, I was deeply moved and profoundly grateful for all they had done. Ten years later, I returned to Normandy for the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion, and by then I had come to understand what this generation of Americans meant to history. It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced."
        
In this superb book, Tom Brokaw goes out into America, to tell through the stories of individual men and women the story of a generation, America's citizen heroes and heroines who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America. This generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values--duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country, and, above all, responsibility for oneself. In this book, you will meet people whose everyday lives reveal how a generation persevered through war, and were trained by it, and then went on to create interesting and useful lives and the America we have today.

"At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific. They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world. They came home to joyous and short-lived celebrations and immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted. They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. A grateful nation made it possible for more of them to attend college than any society had ever educated, anywhere. They gave the world new science, literature, art, industry, and economic strength unparalleled in the long curve of history. As they now reach the twilight of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest. They have so many stories to tell, stories that in many cases they have never told before, because in a deep sense they didn't think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too.

"This book, I hope, will in some small way pay tribute to those men and women who have given us the lives we have today--an American family portrait album of the greatest generation."
                
In this book you'll meet people like Charles Van Gorder, who set up during D-Day a MASH-like medical facility in the middle of the fighting, and then came home to create a clinic and hospital in his hometown. You'll hear George Bush talk about how, as a Navy Air Corps combat pilot, one of his assignments was to read the mail of the enlisted men under him, to be sure no sensitive military information would be compromised. And so, Bush says, "I learned about life." You'll meet Trudy Elion, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine, one of the many women in this book who found fulfilling careers in the changed society as a result of the war. You'll meet Martha Putney, one of the first black women to serve in the newly formed WACs. And you'll meet the members of the Romeo Club (Retired Old Men Eating Out), friends for life.
        
Through these and other stories in The Greatest Generation, you'll relive with ordinary men and women, military heroes, famous people of great achievement, and community leaders how these extraordinary times forged the values and provided the training that made a people and a nation great.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (464 pages)
Published: May 1, 2001
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780812975291
Other books byTom Brokaw
  • A Long Way from Home

    A Long Way from Home
    Growing Up in the American Heartland in the...
    In A Long Way from Home, Tom Brokaw describes his childhood and youth in South Dakota, and the people and places in the American heartland of the 1940s and 1950s that continue to shape his life today. As he reflects on the American experience as he lived and observed it during the central decades of the twentieth century, Brokaw writes of his parents’ lives during the Great Depression, his boyhood along the Missouri River, the happy days of his adolescence in Yankton, and his early years in broadcast journalism on the cusp of the turbulent 1960s. As he recounts his own American pilgrimage, Tom Brokaw also explores what brought him and so many Americans to lead lives a long way from home, yet forever affected by it.

    Boom!

    Boom!
    Talking About the Sixties: What Happened, How...
    In Boom!, Tom Brokaw, one of America’s premier journalists and the acclaimed author of The Greatest Generation, gives us an epic portrait of another defining era in America: the tumultuous Sixties. The voices and stories of both famous people and ordinary citizens come together in this “virtual reunion” as Brokaw takes us on a memorable journey through a remarkable time, exploring how individuals and the national mood were affected by a controversial era and showing how the aftershocks of the Sixties continue to resound in our lives today. In the reflections of a generation, Brokaw also discovers lessons that might guide us in the years ahead. Race, politics, war, feminism, popular culture, and music are all delved into here. Brokaw explores how members of this generation have gone on to bring activism and a Sixties mindset into individual entrepreneurship , as we hear stories of how this formative decade has shaped our perspectives on business, the environment, politics, family, and our national existence. Remarkable in its insights, wonderfully written and reported, this revealing book lets us join in these frank conversations about America then, now, and tomorrow. Bonus DVD: Excerpt From 1968 with Tom Brokaw, A History Channel special Praise for Boom! “Tom Brokaw does an excellent job of capturing an exciting, controversial period in American history and Boom! is a worthy addition to his growing canon.”–New York Post “[Tom Brokaw] approaches this magnum opus with warmth, curiosity and conviction, the same attributes that worked so well for his Greatest Generation.” –The New York Times “[A] verbal scrapbook of the Sixties . . . [Boom! shows] that the era’s core issues–racism, women’s rights, a nation-dividing war–remain central today, and that the values boomers championed haven’t yet gone bust.” –People (four stars) “Packed with memorable people, places, events . . . A ‘virtual reunion’ of 1960s folks telling what they did back then, where they’ve been since and how they assess that tumultuous decade.” –Chicago Tribune “Genuinely fascinating recollections . . . plenty of memorable anecdotes.” –The Wall Street Journal

    An Album of Memories

    An Album of Memories
    Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation
    “I cannot go anywhere in America without people wanting to share their wartime experiences....The stories and the lessons have emerged from long-forgotten letters home, from reunions of old buddies and outfits, from unpublished diaries and home-published memoirs....As the stories in this album of memories remind us, it truly was an American experience, from the centers of power to the most humble corners of the land.” —Tom Brokaw In this beautiful American family album of stories from the Greatest Generation, the history of life as it was lived during the Depression and World War II comes alive and is preserved in people’s own words. Photographs and time lines also commemorate important dates and events. An Army Air Corps veteran who enlisted in 1941 at age seventeen writes to describe the Bataan Death March. A black nurse tells of her encounter with wartime segregation. Other members of the Greatest Generation describe their war—in such historic episodes as Guadalcanal, the D-Day invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and Midway—as well as their lives on the home front. Starting with the Depression and Pearl Harbor, moving on through the war years in Europe, in the Pacific, and at home, this unique book preserves a people’s rich historical heritage and the legacy of a nation’s heroism in war and its courage in peace—in the shaping of their lives and of the world we have today.

    The Greatest Generation Speaks

    The Greatest Generation Speaks
    Letters and Reflections
    "I first began to appreciate fully all we owed the World War II generation while I was covering the fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries of D-Day for NBC News. When I wrote in The Greatest Generation about the men and women who came out of the Depression, who won great victories and made lasting sacrifices in World War II and then returned home to begin building the world we have today—the people I called the Greatest Generation—it was my way of saying thank you. I felt that this tribute was long overdue, but I was not prepared for the avalanche of letters and responses touched off by that book. Members of that generation were, characteristically, grateful for the attention and modest about their own lives as they shared more remarkable stories about their experiences in the Depression and during the war years. "Their children and grandchildren were eager to share the lessons and insights they gained from the stories they heard about the lives of a generation now passing on too swiftly. They wanted to say thank you in their own way. I had wanted to write a book about America, and now America was writing back. "The letters, many of them written in firm Palmer penmanship on flowered stationery, have given me a much richer understanding not only of those difficult years but also of my own life. They give us new, intensely personal perspectives of a momentous time in our history. They are the voices of a generation that has given so much and wants to share even more. "Some of the letters were written from the front during the war, or from families to their loved ones in harm's way in distant places. There were firsthand accounts of battles and poignant reflections on loneliness, exuberant expressions of love and somber accounts of loss. "It seems that everyone in that generation has something worthwhile to contribute, and so we have included some pages in The Greatest Generation Speaks for others to share memories at once inspirational and instructive. "If we are to heed the past to prepare for the future, we should listen to these quiet voices of a generation that speaks to us of duty and honor, sacrifice and accomplishment. I hope more of their stories will be preserved and cherished as reminders of all that we owe them and all that we can learn from them." —Tom Brokaw

BookishEssential List

THIS BOOK IS ON 1 BOOKISH LIST:

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • In the spring of 1984 I went to the northwest of France, to Normandy, to prepare an NBC documentary on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, the massive and daring Allied invasion of Europe...

    — submitted by Flag This Quote For Review
  • They will have their WWII memorial and their place in the ledgers of history, but no block of marble or elaborate edifice can equal their lives of sacrifice and achievement, duty and...

    — submitted by Flag This Quote For Review
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish