When Books Went to War

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How did America use books to win World War II?

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book ‘When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II’.

When asking the question ‘how did America win World War II?’, the first thing that comes to mind is the story depicted in ‘Band of Brothers’. We think of how the US Army's 101st Airborne Division fought bravely in Europe; or the elaborate plan and brilliant tactics of the allies on D-Day 6.6.1944. We also remember the islands and islets in the Pacific Ocean that America conquered, and the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Certainly, American won the war using its superior military strength. However, did you know that books also served as another weapon during the victory process? How did America win WWII with the help of books? The answer is found in the story that ‘When Books Went to War’ tells us.

‘When Books Went to War’ is the first to reveal the inside story of the Armed Services Editions in World War II, telling “an inspiring history of books and war, a paperback revolution without gun smoke.” It is “the best interpretation of US soft power.” As Entertainment Weekly asserted: ”Whether or not you’re a book lover, you’ll be moved by this impeccably researched tale.”

The author of this book is Molly Guptill Manning. She is a well-known American writer and lawyer, whose works can be frequently found in high-end journals like ‘The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts’. She is also the author of ‘The Myth of Ephraim Tutt’. The idea of ‘When Books Went to War’ was born by chance. Molly once found a volume of letters from American soldiers in WWII while conducting research on a publishing house’s archives. This was the first time she was introduced to the Armed Services Editions. In those letters, soldiers expressed their appreciation to the Council on Books in Wartime for freely offering portable paperbacks, which lifted their spirits during their tough time on the battlefield. Inspired by this random discovery, Molly was determined to tell the story of how books helped Americans win World War II. The result is the following story.

Now, let’s begin to unlock this book by dividing it into three sections:

First: how did books go to war?

Second: what role did books play in World War II?

Third: what effects did books have in the post-war period?

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