The Good War: An Oral History of World War II

The Good War: An Oral History of World War II

Studs Terkel

Language: English

Pages: 608

ISBN: 1565843436

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“The Good War”, for which Studs Terkel won the Pulitzer Prize, is a testament not only to the experience of war but to the extraordinary skill of Terkel as interviewer. As always, his subjects are open and unrelenting in their analyses of themselves and their experiences, producing what People magazine has called “a splendid epic history of World War II.” With this volume Terkel expanded his scope to the global and the historical, and the result is a masterpiece of oral history.

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just cut off his pants and gently washed him all over, so he wouldn’t be humiliated at his next stop. I was very calm in laying my battery. We got our first order to fire. There’s 6,400 degrees in an aiming circle. We were 90 degrees off. We’ll never know where those shells came down. I just hope and pray I didn’t hurt anybody who was out of the war. I hope it went into the ocean. This was the first day, all the first day. A lifetime in one day. I wasn’t scared until the third day. When we

studies were based on statistics. I don’t know how to build a machine tool. I barely knew one machine tool from another. (Laughs.) They insisted I make a tour of the machine-building industries. I accepted the invitation. I came back with my report: the Machinery and Allied Products Institute was wrong. I had visited factories across the street from each other, one working three shifts, one working one shift. Now they wanted me to take over planning and controls for the tool industry. (Laughs.)

not tragic. There’s no tragedy because there’s no human element in it. It doesn’t teach you any lesson except to watch out for earthquakes. The hard lesson of the tragedy is that ordinary people can be brought into a condition to do these things. That’s much more dangerous. ARNO MAYER He is a member of the history department at Princeton. I was born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. We left there May 10, 1940, the morning of the German invasion of France, the big push. We were Jewish.

said, “I want you to produce at least two, three pages every day.” He claimed he had one hundred informants in the field. At the end of the first month, my boss gave me an envelope of money to give him. I opened it up and counted seventeen hundred good green American dollars. I said, “Jesus Christ, this guy is really gettin’ paid for that. For this kind of money, he ought to produce.” One day I saw him copy a news report from a Yugoslavian news agency. I said, “Listen, Barbie, I can read that

down. Since we lived in this town that made airplane parts, we were bombed constantly. I found her in a chain of women passing buckets from one to the other. There were no men. There were only women and old people. The whole neighborhood had really been bombed out. I’m now six, this is ’44. We were standing outside in the gardens looking at these planes flying over. I remember waving at the American pilots. They came very low and escaped the flak. Flew so low that they practically touched the

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