Friday, May 9, 2014

The Greatest Generation: Review

In The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw brings to life the stories of a generation of people who taught America what courage really is--from the front-line heroes and heroines to the workers and loved ones at home. Each teaching us about sacrifice, honor, and bravery in their own way. Brokaw brings us profiles of the ordinary men and women who answered their nation's call and who returned home to continue their quiet lives with dignity and a sense of community spirit. He also highlights the lives of more prominent veterans whose service to their country didn't end when the war was over--men and women who served in high levels of government and the armed forces even after the peace treaties were signed.

The stories are poignant and touching--revealing the depths of sacrifice behind each profile. They are stories of loss and love, friendship and valor. They touch on the challenges that the women who served (or worked at home in place of the absent men) faced when the war was over. The difficulties in being forced to return to pre-war expectations. They also highlight the discrimination that all Americans of color faced even as they volunteered to put their lives on the line for their country. 

This is a very moving account that brought tears to my eyes at times and made me proud of the generation who came together for a common cause in the name freedom. How very different our world might be if the men and women of the 30s and 40s had been less dedicated, less resolute in their determination to serve their country (and the Allies) in a time of great need. My only quibble with the book is that it seems so very formulaic--introduce the hero/heroine, give a brief history pre-war, give another brief synopsis of their war-time assignment, and then tell what productive lives they had afterward. A bit more personal attention and a feeling of story-telling, rather than rote recital would bring this up to five it is: ★★★


fredamans said...

When I saw the name Tom Brokaw I immediately thought of the newsman.
War stories are really heart-wrenching for the most part, so they have to be told right. I'm not sure what that right way is, but being stuffy a bit is not easy to read. Great review. Don't think I'd get into this one, but know a few who would.

Bev Hankins said... is Tom Brokaw the newsman. Which may explain the more journalistic, formulaic approach....