I Shall Return

One of the Second World War's most iconic images is that of General Douglas MacArthur wading through the surf at Leyte in his long-promised return to the Philippines. While that incident has famously been called "staged," it was and it wasn't. MacArthur's landing craft was unable to take him right up to the beach because … Continue reading I Shall Return

Reading Rarities: The American Home Front, 1941-1942

When most people think of Alistair Cooke, at least people of my generation and before, we think of the dapper English gentleman on Masterpiece Theatre or Upstairs Downstairs, sitting in the posh wing chair bidding all of us a good evening before introducing that night's program. Mr. Cooke was an institution, and Masterpiece Theatre hasn't … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The American Home Front, 1941-1942

Page To Screen: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

When looking at America's entry into the Second World War seventy-plus years on, it might be hard to believe how high the stakes really were in early 1942. The United States' armed forces were very small, we were still using cavalry horses and bayonets, and the Japanese dealt Americans heavy blows at Pearl Harbor and … Continue reading Page To Screen: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Reading Rarities: The AWVS Cook Book

Uniforms were everywhere during the World War Two period, of course, and one type was worn by the American Women's Voluntary Service, or AWVS. This group was founded in 1940 when it became clear that America would someday enter the war. The early thinking was that we would eventually be bombed like Britain and occupied … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The AWVS Cook Book

We Can Take It

Rule, Britannia, Britannia rules the waves... It's no secret that early in the Second World War the United Kingdom was among the few free nations fighting against the Nazis. By 1944 people were exhausted and pep talks were in order, one of which came in the form of the Carol Reed film, The Way Ahead. … Continue reading We Can Take It

Page To Screen: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This month's "Page To Screen" was going to be The NeverEnding Story, but I made a last-minute decision to save it for later. As time would have it, over my break I saw a 2018 Netflix movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I liked it so much I bought the book it was based on … Continue reading Page To Screen: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Page to Screen: The Diary of Anne Frank

If she had lived, Anne Frank would be ninety-one this year. Her diary, technically known in English as Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl, was first published in the Netherlands in 1947. The diary has been translated into sixty-five languages, sold over thirty-five million copies and is one of the most widely-read books outside … Continue reading Page to Screen: The Diary of Anne Frank

Reading Rarities: Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies

Dear friends, unless you've been in the military, I'm guessing your thoughts look something like this right now: "Yikes." "Wow." "This looks boring." Also highly likely: "What is it?" That was my question when I spied Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies while poking around Winston Smith Books several years ago. I asked the cashier about … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies

At the Stage Door Canteen

Much has been made of the Hollywood Canteen and its efforts to entertain the troops during the Second World War. They weren't the first to the party, however, not that anyone's counting, but Broadway got there way before them. In 1917, various Broadway stars, many of them women, founded the American Theatre Wing, which was … Continue reading At the Stage Door Canteen

You’re In the Army Now

Eighty years ago next year, the Abbott and Costello film, Buck Privates hit theaters. It was a tense time in the United States because we knew we would be in the Second World War at some point, but we didn't know when. President Roosevelt had just reinstated the draft, so men were shipped off to the … Continue reading You’re In the Army Now

Reading Rarities: Eating For Victory

OK, if you're thinking we've been here before, you'd sort of be right. It's World War Two-themed and it centers around food and family. Heck, I even did a review of a Marguerite Patten cookbook three years ago that had this exact title, sans the "Reading Rarity" part. Still, there are a few differences here, … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Eating For Victory

The Angels of Bataan and Corregidor

Like Wake Island, Bataan and Corregidor were attacked by the Japanese while Pearl Harbor was taking place. Even more obscure than what happened to the servicepeople are the experiences of military nurses in the Philippines. These women tirelessly labored with little to no medicine or resources, and nevertheless provided major support and encouragement to Americans … Continue reading The Angels of Bataan and Corregidor

Remember Wake Island

Pearl Harbor wasn't the only locale attacked by the Japanese in December of 1941. Another was Wake Island. It's one of the most isolated islands in the world, but Wake Island was both a Marine base and a refueling stop for the Pan American Clipper, which made it strategically important and therefore no small target … Continue reading Remember Wake Island

God Bless This Ship

In tribute to those who fought and died for freedom throughout the world... On this day in 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced in a slumped, defeated voice that Britain was at war with Germany. It was a supreme comedown for the man who blithely waved a copy of the Munich Pact in the … Continue reading God Bless This Ship

Shamedown #7: Thunderbolt

It's time for another Shamedown, and another invitation to pay the Cinema Shame folks a visit if anyone's curious about this whole Shame thing. And now, onward... Last year's Shamedown #7 was my review of the William Wyler documentary, The Memphis Belle, in which he flew several missions with a bomber crew, documenting their reactions and the … Continue reading Shamedown #7: Thunderbolt