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July 26, 2006

The Good War

Studs Terkel – ISBN – 1565843436

This book won the Pulitzer Prize winner in 1984 and is well worth the read. Especially so for modern liberals and all altruists!

For those unfamiliar with Terkel, he is famous for a number of books which are catalogs of interviews with individuals from the WW II era. He documents the experiences of hundreds of people from all ranks and all walks of life, but principally those who actually fought the war. Some of the tales are appalling (the taking of Dachau and Auschwitz) and others occasionally rather humorous.

Everyone knew what that war was about; everyone (or nearly so) was committed to victory, and everyone suffered in some way, varying from rationing, long work hours, worry over loved ones, to actual combat including death of friends and compatriots.

It is a stunningly vivid presentation the “facts of the day” and presents a riveting read for the modern generation, much of which doesn’t understand principle, commitment, honor or the horrors of engaging a savage, uncivilized opponent committed to victory. Neither do they understand that sometimes wars must be fought, nor that sometimes they are necessary—in extremis, “good wars.”

In an early review by Norman Corwin he noted the book to be the “essence and cumulative force of a hundred powerful war novels, without drawing on a single word of fiction.”

All encompassing in its reach, one simply can’t, or ought not be able to, read without being overwhelmed. Especially so today when we are, though many deny it, involved in a similar type of conflagration on its way to being consuming. There are numerous parallels: the “nuanced” avoidance of reality which was prevalent in Europe in the lead up to WW II, and the altruists who wanted then to “negotiate” with Hitler. Now these types want to negotiate with Osama or the Iranians. How do you negotiate with someone who is hell bent on killing you and destroying civilization?

In one small vignette he quotes a man who noted that the SS troops were impossible. “They acted as though nothing could hurt them . . . they sneered at you. They acted the super race . . . they thought they had won the war, even after we captured them.” (How unlike the present day Islamo-fascists!) We were committed then to destroying Hitler, his minions, and his “philosophy,” and the Axis powers along with him.

If you want a preview of the coming world war this is a good place to begin to understand the forces and the people who are instigating it. And if you don’t want, read it anyway.

Posted by respeto at July 26, 2006 2:20 PM