When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning audiobook

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II

By Molly Guptill Manning
Read by Bernadette Dunne

Blackstone Publishing 9780544535022
6.82 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943 the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks in every theater of war. Comprising 1,200 different titles of every imaginable type, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They wrote to the authors, many of whom responded to every letter. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity. They made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times bestseller

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for December 2014

A 2015 GoodReads Readers’ Choice Best History & Biography Book Award nominee

When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943 the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks in every theater of war.

Comprising 1,200 different titles of every imaginable type, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They wrote to the authors, many of whom responded to every letter. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity. They made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A thoroughly engaging, enlightening, and often uplifting account of America’s counterattack against Nazi Germany’s wholesale burning of books…I was enthralled and moved. As an object lesson in intellectual tolerance, When Books Went to War should be embraced by school boards and libraries all across our country.” Tim O’Brien, National Book Award–winning author of The Things They Carried
“Every avid reader loves a book about books. Molly Guptill Manning’s When Books Went to War is that and more: a thrilling and concise history of World War II featuring the written word…If the pen is mightier than the sword, Manning definitively proves, an army of books can go a long way toward winning a war and securing the peace.” Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
“Crisply written and compelling…When Books Went to War is both a tribute to the civilizing influence of books and a careful account of what it took—a lot—to ensure that US fighting men had the right stuff to read…Manning’s portrait of this seemingly prosaic slice of the war effort is more than colorful; it’s also a cultural history that does much to explain modern America.” USA Today
When Books Went to War may be a slim read, but it packs a wallop. Whether or not you’re a book lover, you’ll be moved by the impeccably researched tale. Manning not only illuminates a dusty slice of WWII history that most of us know nothing about but also reminds us, in the digital era of movies and TV, just how powerfully literature once figured in people’s lives. Grade A.” Entertainment Weekly
“The image of the Berlin book burning in May of 1933 is a common photo in history books. What’s less common is how books became a strategy to undermine the Nazi propaganda that had been proving surprisingly effective throughout Europe. While re-telling the history of the war, Manning threads through the impact that books had in fighting the Nazis…Book lovers and history buffs should enjoy this new perspective.” Amazon.com, editorial review
“Manning has scoured archives to retrieve soldiers’ touching accounts of the therapeutic, life-saving influence of stories that took their minds away from daily horrors.” Booklist (starred review)
“[A] delightful history of a little-known aspect of the war in 1940…Manning’s entertaining account will have readers nostalgic for that seemingly distant era when books were high priority.” Publishers Weekly
“Well written, carefully researched, and drawing upon primary sources and news articles, this book brings to life a little-known part of World War II culture…Highly readable and extremely appealing.” Library Journal
“Many soldiers were so moved by what they read that they started a correspondence with authors; for some soldiers, the books were their first introduction to literature of any kind and inspired their enrollment in higher education, supported by the GI Bill, after the war. A fresh perspective on the trials of war and the power of books.” Kirkus Reviews
“Narrator Bernadette Dunne energetically delivers the audiobook of how the United States and its allies defeated the book burners during WWII…Dunne varies her husky pitch and tone, enunciating every word. She doesn’t have to create any characters, as the book is narrative history, but she does highlight the sources and sets them apart through pauses and changes in emphasis.” AudioFile
“Dunne’s performance subtly captures the authentically moving reality of war’s miseries and the exhaustion wrought by soul-destroying boredom as much as combat. She speaks joyfully of GIs crowding around the latest book shipments; saving The Great Gatsby from oblivion; and making Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a household name. Most impressively, she depicts a wide range of voices from Allied nations’ correspondents, commentators, and soldiers of all ranks, and she delivers a spot-on German accent eerily laced with Nazi evil. This audio is perfect for different generations of readers.” Booklist (audio review)
“This is the beautiful story of a great, nearly forgotten chapter in our history. In addition to sending men, bombers, and rifles overseas to win World War II, America sent books—filling the bored hours that separate war’s terrors, helping give purpose to the fight, and shaping the taste of generations. What a wonderful thing.” Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away

Reviews

Reviews

by David12 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

This is one of the best books I read in the past year.

During World War II, the people of the US armed forces were desperate for reading material. It is said that during wartime, 90% of the time is waiting and boredom, while the other 10% is horror. On ships and in outposts, there were often not even radios. Members of the armed forces often preferred solitary pursuits when they had downtime, because they were around other people all the time. Reading was a favorite activity, but there often was nothing to read. In contrast to the Nazis, who were banning and burning books, US librarians began a drive to collect donated books to send to those in the armed forces. Eventually, when donations could not meet the demand, publishers got involved, and began printing Armed Services Editions paperbacks (ASEs), which were specially designed to be as thin and light as possible. They were an extraordinary success, and the author recounts actual letters that mentioned how people swarmed around the crates when new books were delivered. They were meant to be read and then passed along to the next person. There are anecdotes about how many service people who never read a book outside of school became voracious readers, and went to further their educations after the war ended. This topic could have been presented in a very dry manner, but this book is fascinating, and held my interest from the very start. It is World War II history, as well as about the importance of ideas and the written word, and how they can never be eradicated. It is also interesting to know what books were most popular at the time. The number one most requested and read book was “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith (which is one of the best novels I ever read). I also have never read a book where the ALA is one of the heroes. Bernadette Dunne is an excellent narrator.
by DND 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

A great read

This book gives listeners a view of WWII which isn’t discussed very often: What did the soldiers do in between the fighting? At first I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this book, but after the first chapter I found myself loving it. To respond to the Germans burning books, the Americans set up organizations to give the soldiers books, sometimes the very same books the Germans burned. The council’s slogan was: “Books are weapons in the war of ideas.” These books helped the soldiers forget what they were doing, even if it was for a couple of minutes. They could imagine a world where they weren’t sitting in a fox hole waiting for the gun fire to start up again. Or traveling across the Pacific to fight the Japanese on an island no one had ever heard of before. One soldier wrote: “I want to thank you profoundly, for myself, and more importantly [for] the men here in this godforsaken part of the globe. We fry by day and freeze by night. What we are doing near the Persian Gulf…no one knows. All we have…for recreation is a ping-pong set – with one paddle only.” Together Molly Guptill Manning and Bernadette Dunne give listeners a wonderful book.
by Nelle 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Small Details Make History

This book by Molly Guptill Manning, read by Bernadette Dunne, is custom-made for every lover of books. It gave me a new appreciation not only for books but also for the Americans during World War II who worked so hard to get reading material to soldiers, for soldiers who faced so much hardship but always kept their books close by them, and for the way publishers worked together to develop a brand new “paperback” type of book. This is a virtually unknown aspect of World War II that most people have never thought about, and I was intrigued to learn about it. Overall, this book is quite enjoyable.

Author

Author Bio: Molly Guptill Manning

Author Bio: Molly Guptill Manning

Molly Guptill Manning is a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and sits on the board of editors of the Federal Bar Council Quarterly. She earned a BA and MA in American history from the University at Albany and a JD at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 6.82
Audience: Adult
Language: English