Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday 387: When Books Went to War

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week's teaser comes from When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. During WWII, Germany declared war on the rest of the world, conquering about a dozen other countries in one year. It was termed a "total war" as it was not only a physical act of taking over other countries, but was also a war on ideology and free thought. Hundreds of authors were banned in Germany and millions of books destroyed. I cannot praise this book enough, and highly recommend it to those who love books, as well as those interested in WWII history.

"Were you ever so upset emotionally that you had to tell someone about it, to sit down and write it out?" a Marine asked in a letter to the author Betty Smith. "That is how I feel now," he continued.



Even the misty drizzle that blanketed Berlin did not dampen the merriment surrounding the grand parade held on may 10, 1933. Thousands of students, proudly wearing their university colors, walked through the foggy streets by glittering torchlight as they made their way toward the Bebelplatz, the main plaza between the Friedridh Wilhelm University and the Opera House.

(Chapter One, A Phoenix Will Rise)


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 Armed Services Editions 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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