Publisher's Note:  

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 paperbacks 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.

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II

by Molly Guptill Manning

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Overall Review:  

I am obsessed with reading. Seriously obsessed. I cannot imagine going even one day without reading a book of some kind. Heck, I work in a library, and sometimes I crave reading so much that I will be in the library surrounded by books and still not feel satisfied. So it is very saddening and difficult for me to imagine what it must of been like during World War II when books were not only in short supply to soldiers, but being burned because of the notions they contained.

I know this is just a tiny part of the horrors occurring during that time in Germany, but to think that a soldier would leave home, have to risk his life, and not even have the small comfort of a book to help pass the grueling time? I would go insane. So when I read this book, I was pleased to become a little bit more educated on what went down during WWII as far as soldiers and books go.

I had no idea that publishers started printing extra, special editions for soldiers. I was not aware that there were libraries just for soldiers. In short:  I didn't know that magazines and books played such a big part in helping win the war against Hitler. This book is perfect--not too long, and yet full of information about soldiers, books, and World War II. I have always been interested in World War II, I love books, and we're still a country at war, so soldiers are kind of fascinating too. This book is one that all book lovers should read at least once.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 1 scatological word.

Violence/Gore:  A soldier is mentioned to be in a hospital with a serious illness; death in war is mentioned with no detail; diseases and infections are mentioned to inflict soldiers; a fight is mentioned to break out among soldiers; war horrors are briefly mentioned which include- blood, mangled bodies, detached limbs, bombs exploding, some blood; soldiers are mentioned to burn books; books being burnt is depicted in one scene; buildings are mentioned to be destroyed by bombs; a suicide is reported to occur.

Sex/Nudity:  "Sleeping around" is referred to; men complain about being sexually frustrated while away at war; a book is mentioned to be sexually explicit; it is implied that men enjoy reading books that have sex scenes/women.

Mature Subject Matter:  

War, death, censorship, crises.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Minors drink; men are mentioned to drink in saloons; cigarettes are implied to be smoked by adult men.

Reviewed By Lydia
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