‘War’: What Is It Good For? About Fifty Bucks

war.jpgAs you may have heard, the latest highly anticipated documentary by Ken Burns, this one about World War II, will begin airing on PBS this Sunday evening. Before the show starts — pass the popcorn! — I want you to know that you can pick up a pamphlet down at River City Books that will help you follow long.

OK, so perhaps pamphlet isn’t the best word to describe this thick tome. But there’s no doubt the book, which is loaded with amazing photographs and compelling stories from some of the most critical years of the 20th century, is worth picking up and thumbing through. What’s more, one of the four towns featured in the book is in Minnesota.

For those who would like to know more, here’s a summary:

The vivid voices that speak from these pages are not those of historians or scholars. They are the voices of ordinary men and women who experienced–and helped to win–the most devastating war in history, in which between 50 and 60 million lives were lost.
Focusing on the citizens of four towns — Luverne, Minnesota; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; — “The War” follows more than forty people from 1941 to 1945.

Woven largely from their memories, the compelling, unflinching narrative unfolds month by bloody month, with the outcome always in doubt. All the iconic events are here, from Pearl Harbor to the liberation of the concentration camps — but we also move among prisoners of war and Japanese American internees, defense workers and schoolchildren, and families who struggled simply to stay together while their men were shipped off to Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa.

Enriched by maps and hundreds of photographs, including many never published before, this is an intimate, profoundly affecting chronicle of the war that shaped our world.

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