Why I Wasnt There:A Soldiers Memoir of World War II Revised Edition

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Return to Book Page. Forgotten Voices of the Second World War: Imperial War Museum Contribution by.

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The Imperial War Museum holds a vast archive of interviews with soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians of most nationalities who saw action during WW2. As in the highly acclaimed "Forgotten Voices of the Great War", Max Arthur and his team of researchers will spend hundreds of hours digging deep into this unique archive, uncovering tapes, many of which have not been liste The Imperial War Museum holds a vast archive of interviews with soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians of most nationalities who saw action during WW2.

As in the highly acclaimed "Forgotten Voices of the Great War", Max Arthur and his team of researchers will spend hundreds of hours digging deep into this unique archive, uncovering tapes, many of which have not been listened to since they were created in the early s. The result will be the first complete aural history of the war.

We hear at first from British, German and Commonwealth soldiers and civilians. Accounts of the impact of the U. Continuing through from D-Day, to the Rhine Crossing and the dropping of the Atom Bomb in August , this book is a unique testimony to one of the world's most dreadful conflicts. One of the hallmarks of Max Arthur's work is the way he involves those left behind on the home front as well as those working in factories or essential services.

Their voices will not be neglected. Hardcover , pages. Published January 7th by Ebury Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Blurbs ob back cover say they are excerpts from inside the book, but none of those quotes can be found!!! Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jan 25, Elizabeth added it Shelves: I enjoyed this in parts--the section on the Normandy landings was fab. But overall I found that despite over some "contributors," there is only ONE "voice" that emerges, which is that of Max Arthur, who put the book together.

Every speaker sounds the same. Many of their stories are moving, but they do not come across as individuals despite the insertion of the word "wee" instead of "little" here and there to indicate Scottishness. Also, because the overwhelming majority of the contributors I enjoyed this in parts--the section on the Normandy landings was fab.

Also, because the overwhelming majority of the contributors are British soldiers and airmen, the stories told are mostly of combat. There are scarcely any tales of civilian life, resistance, hiding, the concentration camps, the Eastern Front The atomic bombings of Aug. An interesting viewpoint, but it seems like this really deserves a bit MORE. A nurse, a teacher, a Japanese pilot, maybe? Don't their voices count? Throughout the book, I can't recall any Russians or Burmese represented, despite the detailed descriptions of the Far Eastern theater of war.

The occasional token appearance of 1 a civilian girl or 2 a German pilot is jarring and tantalizing and frustrating all at once. Isn't this supposed to be a catalogue of "forgotten" voices? Um, hello, I know who they are. Now, we all know that I am prejudiced Flygirl-wise, but I think a case in point is the single contibution recorded here on p.

Here's the sum total of her "forgotten voice" as quoted in this volume: I think it all started because we did scrounge petrol and nylons, and extra butter and so on. I think it all started in the war. Oct 25, Belle rated it really liked it. The reason being that there were such numerous and varied campaigns during the WW2 that there's just too much information for only one book. It often felt that some aspects were not given enough pages.

There was so much more that should have been included in more depth and because of this I think it would have been much better for this book to have been split into two books, one for the western campa This isn't as thorough as Forgotten Voices of the First World War also compiled by Max Arthur.

The Soldier Bear (Strange Stories of World War II)

There was so much more that should have been included in more depth and because of this I think it would have been much better for this book to have been split into two books, one for the western campaign and one for the eastern campaign. I've certainly been left wanting to know more about quite a few aspects and would have liked to have heard from a few more voices.

The Atomic bombing for example seemed to be very sparsely covered. It felt like a bit of an abrupt rush at the end. The other slight issue with this book compared to the WW1 book is that warfare had changed so much between the two World Wars and as such equipment, weapons and terminology was much more complicated. Often I had no idea what all the terminology meant in this second book, which did affect the flow of my reading and overall understanding; whereas the first book was much more simple to understand and as such I was able to read it without needing a break.

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In his dispatches he focuses on the human-scale effect of the war, portraying everyone from the guys in a bomber crew to Bob Hope on his USO tour and even fighting alongside soldiers behind enemy lines. Taken together, these writings create an indelible portrait of life in wartime. Paperback , pages. Published May 3rd by Penguin Books Ltd first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Once There Was a War , please sign up.

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Once There Was a War

He was keen to secure a commission as an intelligence officer in the armed forces, but this didn't eventuate. Steinbeck then spent time trying to get himself appointed as a war correspondent. In April , the New York Herald Tribune offered to hire him if he could obtain the necessary security clearances. Doing so was not as easy as it should have been, as some people interviewed by When the US entered World War II, Steinbeck had been involved in writing anti-fascist propaganda for some time.

Doing so was not as easy as it should have been, as some people interviewed by Army Counterintelligence described Steinbeck as a dangerous radical. According to Steinbeck's biographer, Jay Parini , a right wing group known as the American Legion Radical Research Bureau had compiled what it considered to be damaging information about Steinbeck, specifically that he had contributed articles to several "red" publications.

If Steinbeck was aware of what was being said about him at the time, it must have been particularly galling, given his commitment to supporting the US government and given the fact that his personal politics had never been further to the left than New Deal Democrat. In any event, Steinbeck obtained clearance to work as a war correspondent and travelled to England on a troop ship in June This is a collection of Steinbeck's dispatches from that period, first published in In the introduction, Steinbeck describes the attitude of experienced war correspondents to his arrival on the scene: To this hard-bitten bunch of professionals I arrived as a Johnny-come-lately, a sacred cow, a kind of tourist.

I think they felt I was muscling in on their hard-gained territory. When, however, they found that I was not duplicating their work, was not reporting straight news, they were very kind to me and went out of their way to help me and to instruct me in the things I didn't know. Some of Steinbeck's dispatches are quirky observations, some are very funny, some are intensely moving.

There is a certain uneveness in the quality of the writing, with some pieces much better written and more interesting than others. Among the best of the pieces is a tribute to Bob Hope in his role as an entertainer of troops and a very funny story about American soldiers collecting souvenirs.

However, the most poignant and powerful pieces are those which deal with the allied invasion of Italy. It is in writing about this event that Steinbeck's unsentimental but poetic writing really shines. The truth is that Steinbeck was really a journalist at heart. All of his best work was journalism in that it was inspired by daily events, by current circumstances.

He didn't "invent" things. A Biography page This work provides sound evidence of the correctness of Vidal's opinion. View all 16 comments. Even though they're non-fiction, there's a Steinbeckian ring of storytelling here that reads much like his fiction. Style can be a difficult thing to get away from. But then again, perhaps he didn't want to. After all, these weren't meant to be straightforward reports on battles and troop movements. These stories tell a more human side to the war. Steinbeck did what he did best. He created larger-than-life characters out of real people.

This was a great look at World War 2, not the usual battles and politicians and generals but a look at the war from the eye level of the troops by a superb writer. It was almost like slice of life stories, some of the most compelling for me was a scene in a movie theater during the blitz. I'd seen the movie that was playing comfortably at home and not under bombing, a section on Bob Hope was easily the most patriotic. A few funny pieces "Germans fight for world domination and the English for the This was a great look at World War 2, not the usual battles and politicians and generals but a look at the war from the eye level of the troops by a superb writer.

A few funny pieces "Germans fight for world domination and the English for the defense of England, the Americans fight for souvenirs.

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Jan 15, Chris Dietzel rated it really liked it. The value in this book comes from gaining insight into Steinbeck's experiences as a war journalist. Anyone looking for a history lesson or additional details on WWII will be greatly disappointed. Every other nonfiction book I've read on similar topics will be more useful for such readers. Instead, Steinbeck writes about the mundane and the whimsical and offers a very vanilla perspective on the events he covered.

For fans of the author, however, this is a fascinating look at how starkly different The value in this book comes from gaining insight into Steinbeck's experiences as a war journalist. For fans of the author, however, this is a fascinating look at how starkly different his mindset was compared to others who were involved in major wars, such as Hemingway, Vonnegut, and so on. Jul 17, Michael Buchanan rated it really liked it. Snacky little bites of Steinbeck, yum yum yum.

I bet the kids got a real kick out of these stories back then. Some nice anecdotes and, as always with Steinbeck, wonderful details which can mean so much. The sleeping men not seeing the land they may never see again, the white and ragged uniforms of the paratroopers, the shock of bombs upon the memory. I bet he had fun writing these, what an inspiration he is. View all 4 comments.

Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck

A vivid and insightful look into the realities of wartime. While Steinbeck's particular genius was perhaps better suited to novels like Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat , he makes a fine job of war journalism. There is a quality in the people of Dover that may well be the key to the coming German disaster.