Read The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward Ken Burns Online


The audio companion to the magnificent seven-part PBS series The individuals featured in this audiobook are not historians or scholars. They are ordinary men and women who experienced-and helped to win-the most devastating war in history, in which between 50 to 60 million lives were lost. Focusing on the citizens of four towns-Luverne, Minnesota; Sacramento, California; WaThe audio companion to the magnificent seven-part PBS series The individuals featured in this audiobook are not historians or scholars. They are ordinary men and women who experienced-and helped to win-the most devastating war in history, in which between 50 to 60 million lives were lost. Focusing on the citizens of four towns-Luverne, Minnesota; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama-The War follows more than forty people from 1941 to 1945. Woven largely from their memories, the compelling, unflinching narrative unfolds month by bloody month, with the outcome always in doubt. The iconic events are here, but we also move among prisoners of war, defense workers and schoolchildren, and families who struggled simply to stay together. An intimate, profoundly affecting chronicle of the war that shaped our world, THE WAR captures the American experience of World War II through the words and deeds, thoughts and feelings of those who made history on the battlefields and on the home front....

Title : The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945
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ISBN : 9781415943113
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 0 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 Reviews

  • Mara
    2019-01-23 02:34

    I haven't actually seen Ken Burns' PBS series The War to which this is a "companion book." The written work survives alone, but it did, at times, feel scattered. It's intended to give you a variety of perspectives from "everyday" people from across the United States, and it does manage to capture a wide range of voices. It's a good book (three stars is, after all, more than half), especially if you're looking for something short and sweeping. However, having recently read the likes of Cornelius Ryan's The Last Battle: The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin, I found Burns' work to be lacking in the 'oomph' department. Some interesting things I learned and/or had not previously considered:1. Decoy TanksWe used them. I think I remember hearing about this before, but there's something that seemed so human to me about the use of this type of warfare. It's at once classic misdirection (Sun Tzu has a thing or two to say about deception in The Art of War), and something I imagine Wile E. Coyote doing. However, Operation Fortitude played no small part in the success of the 1944 Normandy landings. 2. Clash of Commanders So I wouldn't necessarily say that that the leaders of the allied military forces were coming to fisticuffs (though Bernard Montgomery and Eisenhower had more than a few heated debates), but the sheer size (larger than life most would say) of figures such as Douglas MacArthur and George Patton that struck me this time around. From MacArthur's dramatic speech (I couldn't bear to excerpt it, so check out the link) to the people of the Philippines, to Patton's stopping to urinate in the Rhine River, these men came across as individuals of epic proportions. 3. Knowing Thy Enemy and the Saipan SuicidesThere's little I can really say about the death of hundreds of Japanese civilians and soldiers off of Suicide Cliff in Saipan. Though pop culture has long-remembered the Bushido Code, there is something different about hearing of women throwing their children into the abyss rather than face captivity at enemy hands (though, my recent Ryan readings are a good reminder that there is nothing uniquely Japanese about this).Bonus Round/Obscure Archer Tie-InWith the macabre humor often used to get through life on the front lines, American soldiers took to calling the German Schrapnellmineor S-mine, which would detonate and spray shrapnel (going about one click per second) at what Burns tastefully refers to as "groin height," Bouncing Betties.The S-mine, of course, was a precursor to the American-made M18 Claymore Minewhich should, among other things, always have its front toward the enemy if you don't want a thousand steel balls to shred [your] genitals.

  • Jeanette
    2019-02-11 09:38

    I listened to the audio version of this book on eight CDs. It's abridged, but I wouldn't have known it if it didn't say so on the case. This book gave me a very thorough education about World War II, "The Big Picture." I've read a lot about the war before, but it was usually about specific areas only. This book gave me a clear understanding of what was happening on all the different fronts (including the home front). It switches back and forth from Europe to the Pacific (and a little of Africa), so I was able to see how all the different pieces fit together within the same time period.I also understand for the first time why our leaders felt it was necessary to drop "the bomb" on Japan. Not that it was right, but I see now how stubborn the Japanese leader was about refusing to surrender. The soldiers had to kill THEIR OWN women and children rather than allow them to surrender!

  • James
    2019-01-30 10:27

    Wonderfully done - informative, sometimes heartbreaking. The companion to the Ken Burns video documentary, which is every bit as good as the one he made on the Civil War almost a generation ago. As the title indicates, and like that earlier work, this tells the story of the war primarily from the point of view of the ordinary men and women who served in it and their families rather than of the heads of state, generals, and admirals on whom histories have more often focused. In this case, unlike what was possible for The Civil War, the story is enriched by extensive interviews with surviving participants, where the passage of time left only letters and photographs for the earlier war. This is somewhat in the philosophical tradition of Studs Terkel's "The Good War," and like that book, it presents the war as necessary while emphatically putting the quotation marks around "Good War" by showing the tragedy and brutality of it and making the point that there has never been a good war, although there have been wars like this one that were necessary and were the least of the available evils.I can't recommend this book and the documentary it accompanies strongly enough for anyone who wants to understand the most influential period of the 20th century for this country, and that should include all of us. If more history was presented this way, more people would take an interest in it, and we wouldn't live in a culture where more young people know who Madonna is than know whose side we were on in this war.

  • Nikki
    2019-02-10 04:44

    I can't imagine not giving this book anything less than 5 stars. Very moving and informative. I didn't want it to end. I wanted more information, more data, a bigger understanding of how this war touched the lives of these servicemen and their families.

  • Tony
    2019-02-15 09:45

    This is a book about people. It is about the people who saved the world, but also the people and families behind the obvious historical monument.The first line of this book should be; I don’t know what you thought about those who obligated themselves and sacrificed to save the world but…It is books such as this, that grant a view of the humanity behind the history, that should be read and reread by all generations. Much of what occurs today is fashioned by those ignorant of the actual contributions individuals felt compelled to follow. It is of sacrifice and hardship, in the face of true evils and often moving forward even when the individual knows securing the world from tyrants and murderers, might very well cost them their chance to live in it themselves.This is of the people who did what had to be done, even when fear was greater than life.Do not miss this story, and other stories like it. They are essential to the soul.

  • Pamela
    2019-01-27 08:49

    This book blew me away. I don't know what your American History classes were like in high school, but by the time June rolled around in my class, we hadn't made it past the Great Depression. Blame it on snow days or slow-witted students, but I know next to nothing about post-1930s history. Thank goodness a work project required me to read this book. THE WAR goes far beyond its service as a companion book to Ken Burns's upcoming PBS documentary—poring through startling photographs and unforgettable (and sometimes stomach-churning) first-hand accounts, I learned for the first time about what it was really like to live through "the good war." I almost can't believe it all happened, and I was left wondering what lessons could be learned from that war that can be applied to our current war. As far as I am concerned, this book should be considered required reading.

  • BertHopkins
    2019-02-05 05:27

    Sobering account of World War II and its impact on four American cities/towns. We current Americans have no comprehension of the duration and suffering our forefathers endured during World War 2. My dad, Bert Crawford, participated in the Battle of the Atlantic, Invasion of North Africa, Invasion of Sicily, and the Invasion of Okinawa! His ships were the USS Earle, DD-635 and the USS Vestal, AR-4.

  • Jack Lehnen
    2019-01-29 04:42

    A very good book and gives great individual insight into mens personal war as well as the larger picture. Missed the PBS series but it is coming out in CD soon . I watched the cD and was glad I read the book first. The book has things in it the CD series does not, and the CD goes a bit too fast through such important points and events in history

  • Kelly
    2019-02-21 02:50

    Decent narrative of the war, interspersed with vignettes to make it more interesting/ personalized. But over all, mediocre. Abbreviated and very much failed to capture the same feeling, poignancy of the televised series. So, I say skip the book and watch the documentary instead.

  • P.S. Winn
    2019-02-18 05:24

    This is a great book and well done. The authors have brought to life a time in history that should never be forgotten. The pictures are amazing and the great information gives knowledge to all. Whether you lived through war, have family members that have, or are lucky enough not to have done that this book is one to grab.

  • Sarah Hearn
    2019-02-11 06:50

    I listened to the audio book version of this, read by Ken Burns, and as usual, it is well written and comprehensive. It was not as good as watching the series, and much as I love Mr Burns and all his works, reading aloud is not necessarily his forte. Nonetheless, I did enjoy it.

  • Dashell
    2019-02-06 04:45

    You have to read this book! It puts into perspective the plight if war. We must never forget!

  • Nathan
    2019-02-15 04:23

    It's incredible what the people who fought World War Two had to endure.

  • Andrew Liptak
    2019-02-21 08:35

    Over the weekend, I picked up the companion book for Ken Burn’s The War, written by Burns and longtime collaborator Geoffrey C. Ward. The book, along with other companion books, is a literary mirror to the multiple hours long documentaries that Burns is well known for producing and writing. The War is a 14 hour long documentary that’s to air on PBS starting September 23rd. The book is an outstanding and highly detailed look at the Second World War.The War is practically comprehensive. Covering an exhaustive amount time, from the entry of the United States on December 8th after the attack on Pearl Harbor through to the extensive campaigns in Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranian and the Pacific and to the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Most books and authors hardly dare to cover that amount of ground in the amount of detail that this pair of authors go into.The War focuses on the entire campaign through the eyes of four towns in the United States- Luverne Minnesota, Sacramento California, Waterbury Conneticut and Mobile Alamaba. This is a war that is shown through the eyes of ordinary Americans, high school graduates and people who had hoped to serve their country in what is considered by many to be the last great war.However, from the start, Burns shows us that war is not great, no matter what the causes and reasons behind it. He opens with a quote:I don’t think there is such a thing as a good war. There are sometimesnecessary wars. And I think one might way “just” wars. I never questioned thenecessity of that war. And I still do not question it. It was something that hadto be done. - Sam Hynes.This is the tone that the rest of the book follows. Burns sets out to show what war looks like, and backs it up with hundreds of photographs, throughout the 451 pages. Some of these pictures are familiar to history buffs. Others, most of them, are completely new to me, and they really show a side of the war that’s the same.The book also covers a lot of ground that doesn’t really get lumped together. The book not only covers the battlefields and the times that the soldiers spent on the ground between gunshots, but also the home front, from the woes of the families waiting to hear from their sons, fathers, children and husbands, the rationings, as well as the racial tensions among workers and the internment of African and Japanese decendants living in the United States, as well as their plight to get recognized as real people and soldiers.The book and presumably, the documentary along with it, are not without their flaws. While they provide some stunning work on the war, there are parts that are missing, mainly the years leading up to the US’s entry to the war. The book picks up and drops off with Japan, at Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. There’s very little on the buildup of Japanese, Italian German agression, militarily and politically, as well as the Russian relations. Similarly, there’s very little on the aftermath of the war, which is one of the biggest factors in creating the modern world, after the United States and Russia carved up Europe that would essentially plunge the world in to another World conflict.But that’s not the focus of the book or documentary. This story looks at the war, but from the eyes of the soldiers. We get the personal stories of the people from those four towns. And they’ve done that spectacularly.The War is an outstanding work of popular history. With any luck, Burns will succeed in bringing the Second World War to a public that really only knows it through the films Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Windtalkers or Flags of Our Fathers, or the books of Stephen Ambrose. Hopefully, the War will be a much more accurate version of what happened those 60 years ago. Hopefully, it’ll go a long way towards telling the public those stories that will soon be lost.This is really something to check out.(Originally Printed:

  • Jim
    2019-02-16 05:36

    I’m not going to write much on this one, mainly because so much has been written about WWII and this book, while extremely well written, and very moving, really provides very little in the way of new information about the conflict. Like most mainstream looks at WWII this one does not ignore the scope of the tragedy, recognizing there is no such thing as a good war, but nevertheless views it through the lens of those who believe it was a “noble,” or “necessary” war. Certainly that is the majority opinion in the United States and is one I share. Also, this looks at the conflict from a strictly American perspective. While the sacrifice of the Russians say, who lost far more on it’s battlefields than any other allied country, is recognized, the WWII of this work is for the most part an American affair.“The War,” written by Geoffrey C. Ward with Ken Burns, is the companion volume to the Ken Burns documentary series of the same name. Like the documentary it focuses on soldiers and civilians from four different communities in America – Luverne, MN; Mobile, AL; Sacramento, CA; and Waterbury, CT. The effects of the war on each community is movingly portrayed as each tried to cope with the deaths of young men who had so recently been in their midst. The experiences of soldiers from each community, who were represented in nearly every major action during the war is expertly described through the use of letters and diaries. In conjunction with a very coherent narrative describing the war from a larger, historical perspective, Ward has really done an excellent job of weaving together a complete look at the war from the top and bottom. Decisions made at the top are evidenced by the experiences of those at the bottom, and the actions of those at the bottom influenced the decisions of those at the top. Really well done.As usual with a work influenced by Ken Burns ironies abound. The most riveting was the story of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. A seventeen year old living in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Inouye’s first experience was helping move the dead and wounded from an aid center that had been hit accidentally by an American anti-aircraft shell; a gruesome task for a seventeen year old. Nevertheless, despite this horrific experience, and the discrimination practiced against “Nisei” – essentially Japanese of American descent – he joined the army and distinguished himself by his bravery. In Italy, despite being wounded multiple times, and having his arm nearly blown off, Inouye managed to fight off the enemy long enough to save the lives of many under his command. This action later earned him the Medal of Honor. After this fight that cost him his arm, and nearly his life, Inouye was cared for at the Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, MI. While there he met another soldier seriously wounded in combat who was being cared for at the hospital, Robert Dole of Kansas. He also met Phillip Hart of Michigan who had been wounded on D-Day. All three would end up serving together in the United States Senate, would remain life-long friends, and the Percy Jones Army Hospital would eventually be renamed the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center.Geoffrey Ward is a gifted writer, his narrative style is smooth and coherent, and his prose is often very moving. If you are a scholar looking for a new interpretation of WWII, or a more detailed and comprehensive look at specific parts of it, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a good narrative of the war, one that emphasizes the impact of it on a human level this is a very good choice!

  • Jimmy
    2019-02-10 10:33

    I enjoyed this work in audiobook format. This is supposed to be the book accompanying the documentary by Ken Burns on World War Two. Ken Burns in the early 90s made a documentary on the Civil War that was really good and here in this work he explains his reluctance to make another film on war given its horrific nature and also to be not put in a box as a war documentary film maker. However as he explained in the introduction that changed when he realized that a thousand veterans of World War Two were dying every day he was compelled to do something so that future generations would understand what that generation did. The result is the documentary and this book.Again I enjoyed this work. The author Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward looked followed various citizens in four different towns in America—Luverne, Minnesota; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut and Mobile, Alabama. The individuals they were able to cover was much broader than I anticipated, covering civilians and different members of the Armed Forces. The start of the book gets exciting right away when we read of those early days in 1941 with survivors account of the attack of Pearl Harbor, civilian reaction back in the Continental United States and American civilians in the Philippines who were later prisoner of war. The authors are to be commended in their capturing of the issues of race at that time from the unfortunate Japanese American being forced into internment camp at the time to black migration to Mobile, Alabama to work in the factories producing equipment for the military and the tension that this produced. The book also discusses ethnic minorities in the military such as the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team made up of Japanese Americans fighting in Europe and also African Americans and their desire to fight in the military such as the Marine Corps. The book covers both the European theatre of conflict as well as the Pacific and I enjoyed also how they weaved both of them back and forth while also discussing what the news of the war meant at that time. I learned a lot from this book and I never knew how hard 1945 was for America with the news of increasing casualties in both side of the globe while the military having to cope with the surprising resistance of the enemies in their final days. Readers and listeners will also hear accounts from Marine Eugene Sledge, whose story is told in the HBO series “The Pacific” based upon Sledge’s book With the Old Breed. This work made me appreciate what the people of the Greatest Generation went through.

  • J.S.
    2019-01-24 02:39

    My wife's grandfather passed away a couple weeks ago. He was 90 years old and served in the Navy during WWII, but until recently the family hadn't known anything about his service. When my son interviewed him for a school project he talked about driving landing craft boats loaded with Marines toward beaches under enemy fire. His goal was to get them as close to shore as possible so they didn't have to wade through more water than necessary giving them a better chance of reaching the beach alive, before rushing back for another load of men. He quietly mentioned the bullets that whizzed by and clanged against the metal of the boat, but said that he wasn't a hero - the men who didn't come home were the real heroes to him. While listening to this audiobook it was hard to hear of the wartime experiences, whether in Europe or the Pacific. The parts where it described what it was like as those landing boats unloaded soldiers were enough to bring a lump to your throat. My own grandfather, who died before I was born, was a Marine who (I'm told) saw a lot of action in the Pacific, including the Iwo Jima invasion. I have since requested his service records online so I can learn a little more about his life during the war - something my grandmother says he suffered terrible nightmares from for the rest of his life. He never spoke of his experiences, either. The introduction of this book says that many people today have a profound misunderstanding of WWII and speaks of the need for this kind of information to be remembered. I agree. And I think all those heroes - both those who died and those who lived to come home - need to be remembered and honored for their sacrifices. The book is from the perspective of the men in the trenches and mentions a lot of the mistakes that cost lives and the focus is particularly on the 'ugliness of war'; the obvious and not so obvious casualties. The information isn't always pleasant to hear (I thought I could hear the reader's voice almost cracking more than once), but it gives the reader or listener a greater appreciation for those who served. It helps to explain the patriotism my wife's grandfather and many others instilled in their families. It helps to remind us to be thankful.

  • Susy
    2019-02-19 02:27

    War is Hell.I picked this up at a local library sale mostly because it was a beautiful coffee table-type book and my sons are WWII history buffs. But as I flipped through it on the way home, I found myself stopping and becoming engrossed in the stories of the individual's experiences through the war, which weave in and out throughout the book. After reading 30 or so disjointed pages, I started at the beginning and read it straight through, and read it compulsively when time allowed, sometimes late into the night.So I would say that this book is a compelling read. I would also say that its overview of the war through the personal stories of individuals in different theatres, situations, and circumstances made this book both important historically and also one of the best "memoirs" that I have ever read.I also learned a great deal. Not to become an expert--that is not the goal of this book--but to have a better understanding of the elements that comprised the American WWII experience. I thought I had a decent working knowledge of the war in the Pacific and a pretty good understanding of the conflict in Europe, but the book frequently introduced battles, facts and experiences of which I was completely unaware.I am watching the documentary on Netflix but found that if I had time to watch the series, I rather spent that time reading the book. But now that I have closed the last cover, I plan to watch the series.This is an excellent book, one which should be required reading in American schools. I am in awe of an America that could pull together and share this level of suffering for their country and for an ideal. And then carry on without nary a talk show or "expose". It really was a different world.This review was written on my iPhone. Sorry for errors.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-09 04:49

    Companion book to the excellent Ken Burns documentary "The War", about World War 2. My favorite of the Ken Burns series so far, although I'm looking forward to his series about Vietnam which is coming out next year. **#119 of 120 books pledged to read/review during 2016**

  • Justin Tapp
    2019-02-21 05:28

    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.

  • PennsyLady (Bev)
    2019-02-16 08:23

    An Intimate History, 1941-1945As the subtitle indicates, The War captures the intimate experiences of Americans in WW2.In Waterbury, Connecticut, Mobile, Alabama, Sacramento, California,and Luverne, Minnesota, we're given an overview of both war front and home front.We see the war front in the air, on the sea and on the ground.We're also given the opportunity of witnessing homefront thoughts, feelings and activities.There are snapshots of the war's short term adaptations as well as long term life- altering events.This informative narrative tells me that all were concerned and no one was left unaffected by WW2.I enjoyed the human interest elements as well as the military history."The war touched every family on every street in every town in America and demonstrated that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives." ( Ken Burns and Lynn Novick)I experienced The War as an audio book.I understand that the written form contains photographs,maps and perhaps other interesting items.I'll be looking for other components of this 2007 project.This book is listed as a companion volume to a seven-part PBS series.

  • CD
    2019-01-21 02:51

    An average or slightly above WWII history. Using the 'oral history' techniques of interviews and journals, letters, and even a screenplay or two, the authors create a living memoir of those who were there and fought the war.The summary or encapsulations of the events of WWII in this book are 'common knowledge' type for the most part and don't by themselves shed any new light or add unusual anecdotes. There are poignant personal stories and a few incidents brought to light again in this work that make it worth some time reading and reviewing. The photographic and journalistic record the work adds is above average but not overwhelming.Many readers will be familiar with the Television presentation associated with this book and most likely find it far more compelling. Cynically it edges on being another profit center item for the Ken Burn, Inc. history machine. Far too much history and hallowed ground is covered in far too few pages and photographs to consider this book definitive or outstanding.

  • Patrick
    2019-02-13 08:35

    This book accompanies the Ken Burns documentary series of the same name. Much of the text and photographs are directly from the series as well, but the book does go into more detail in many aspects than the film series. The photographs and narrative show the absolute massive scope of the second world war and the profiles of individual towns and people make it much more emotional and relatable. When you look at the size and power of the enemy and how much was at stake, you see that the second world war really was the most immense and probably the most important period in the history of the world. This book focuses on America's involvement in it of course, but the war itself really was of absolutely global proportions and involved an entire generation of the entire human race in some way. The after effects of the war and the immediate consequences really set up a lot of the current world's status.

  • Travis
    2019-02-17 07:29

    This is a wonderful and accessible history of the Second World War. I listened to the audio book version twice, just to make sure that I got as much out of the book as I could. I certainly learned a great deal of history, but not just facts and dates. The authors do an excellent job demonstrating the human element of war: children in prison camps, Soldiers and Marines facing various kinds of death, the concentration camps, racism in the US and the services at the time, the general misery and horror that you know you can't really ever really understand. This was a very humbling book. It makes you very grateful for what you have and for the sacrifices others made to win the war. It also doesn't ignore human elements. The book has earnest human feeling and pity for those it writes of. A very good read.

  • Stacy
    2019-02-19 02:45

    Did you see how many pages this has? A kajillion! That's why I haven't posted any reviews for a month. Plus, I'm a little bit lazy. This is terrific but sobering close up look at World War II from the American perspective. Told by several different people who were soldiers, doctors, medics, girlfriends, family members etc.. using personal interviews, letters, telegrams, journal entries and more. A gripping story that takes you from Europe to Africa and the Pacific theater. So hard to read and digest the cruelties and hardships that war brings to people both the innocent and the wicked. We gave this to Max for Christmas. Maybe being a peacemaker can start at home. I wish Hitler's parents had done a better job.

  • Scott
    2019-01-22 07:33

    Remarkable book that really helps to humanize/personalize the greatest struggle of the 20th Century. Includes a broad array of voices from the military and the "home front," but it's worth noting that they are all American perspectives from the other Allies, occupied nations, or Axis nations. The focus, in fact, is on how the war affected people from four American towns, which helps to form some coherent narratives about the "home front."I've only seen bits and pieces of the documentary so far, but my impression is that it may be somewhat more engrossing to watch as compared to reading the book. Still, an incredibly valuable record of people's firsthand experiences during the war, and well worth reading.

  • KarmA1966
    2019-02-17 06:46

    Based on the Ken Burns PBS documentary of the same name The War is a great book for novices to dip their toe into WWII history. If you're looking for a book that covers a particular theater or particular platoon or particular battle then you'll be disappointed. The War is clearly an overview of WWII. New ground is rarely if ever covered for Ph.D.-level history buffs, but the book does a fine job of offering a broad sweep of the war's big events. And The War really takes off when it reveals the strife that took place at home in America--the racism in Mobile, the internment camps in California and the struggle family members endured as their husbands and sons died overseas or came home injured beyond repair.

  • Jenny
    2019-02-11 10:25

    I know many people died as a result of this war. Usually you get the numbers all in a lump sum. This intimate history of the war was exactly that, up close and personal. It staggers the mind to hear of the senseless loss of life and the ruin of it all. Whenever I think about war I think of all the lives it cut short, of all the people who still had so much they were capable of. In those that died was there someone who could have cured cancer or been a force for great good in another way? Then I think of the selfish reasons Hitler and his cohorts had for starting and continuing the war when there was no way they could win. It is all very sobering and very fascinating to me.

  • Hannah
    2019-01-24 09:23

    Wow - this is emotionally stirring, informative, and powerful. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in realizing how truly overwhelming this war felt to those on the ground as they were led by both good and failable leaders. While we are currently engaged in war, I am reminded of a saying I hear often among Marines: "The Marines are at war, America is at the mall." We have nothing to compare to the WWII experience within our generation. I challenge you to read about the bleak emotional landscape this war produced and honestly evaluate what the people called to arms in this conflict have given us. I can't wait to see the documentary.

  • Bap
    2019-02-07 04:33

    This is a companion book to the Ken Burns special by the same name. It is full of great pictures. It follows the course of the war from the vantage point of a handful of families in the towns of Sacramento, CA, Waterbury, Conn, Mobile, AL, and Luverne, Minn. It is not a complete history of the war but it is an intimate portrait, mostly drawn from letters and journals that presents a compelling picture of ferocity and sacrifice from the perspective of regular Americans thrown into the war. In the end, it gives you a better sense of what it must have ben like than any formal history. I recommend this highly.