Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of World War II

World War II was a defining event in history, especially America. I had a grandfather who served in that war, earning two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. I've seen countless movies depicting events from World War II, and I've also read a number of books about those years as well. It was a different time, and the war helped shaped that generation's identity. It was a war that many refer to as the "last good war." Like my grandfather, many of the veterans from World War II are passing away each day. It is because of this, that I liked what Thomas Sanders and Veronica Kavass have put together. The book "The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of World War II" is a beautifully done coffee table type book that pays homage to those who served our nation in war.

The book is filled with magnificent photographs of men and women who served, now much older, but often holding pictures of when they were younger. Many pictures are black and white, but there are also color photographs included too. These are men and women who are true heroes, that very few have ever heard about. They are heroes because they answered when their country called. They sacrificed and did what had to be done. They then returned home to become productive members of their communities and lead lives just like the rest of us.

Sanders dedicates the book to all American veterans and soldiers, especially to those who do not make it home. And while there really isn't anything good about war, just as Hampton Sides says in the introduction, there was a lot of "good" in the men and women who served, and this book helps us remember the selfless, determined, humble, and heroic veterans of that time. At the beginning of the book there is a quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower, General, U.S. Army. This was when he was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II and before he became President of the United States. He said, "The world must know what happened, and never forget." I think sometimes we do forget, and we shouldn't. Looking through the book, noticing the aged faces, I can't help but think what they went through during their time of service. And I can't help but feel a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for what they did. Reading their stories makes me ashamed at how some people today cry and moan about difficulties that are nowhere near what those men and women faced.

This is an important book, and I hope many will take the time to read it, and more than that, to realize the history that our older generation have not studied, but lived, and to take advantage of learning from these men and women, so we don't ever forget. Because, as the author says, one day they won't be here to tell their stories.

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