Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw


Non-fiction. I read this in March 2015. It is very hard to write a review for this one, I think everybody should read it, so I am heavily biased about this one. I have so many highlights and notes on my Nook copy of it that I think my notes have notes. It is one of the best books I have read for trying to understand why the WWII generation was considered the greatest and why they became the measuring stick for all generations to follow. It does not glorify war, it takes an honest look at the people of that generation: those who grew up during the Great Depression, sacrificed again for the sake of their family/loved  ones/fellow countrymen/ideals of a fair and just world, and then rebuilt their lives and shaped the future when the war was finally over.

Tom Brokaw is a straightforward writer with no pretense. He spent time interviewing people who were from that generation and involved in the war effort in various ways, including the women who went to work in the factories, grew victory gardens, and mourned the deaths of husbands, brothers, and fathers. This book is their stories. It is not a dry and historical treatment of WWII but the stories of the people who lived it, who did not complain, and who had no sense of entitlement. 

As this generation is growing older and passing away, it is incredibly important that we preserve their stories, that we understand who they were as people, and that they did what they had to do: none of them believes they were special or that they deserve praise. My grandparents were all of this generation, my parents were essentially WWII babies (born in 41 and 42), and I think part of the work ethic that I have is due in large part that, to being raised with those ideals. I think everybody should read this book because it is uplifting, it is utterly devoid of entitlement and selfishness, and it inspires us to be better people.

And so it goes...

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