Cover image for An album of memories : personal histories from the greatest generation
An album of memories : personal histories from the greatest generation
Brokaw, Tom.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 314 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm
Celebrates the "greatest generation" of Americans, from the Great Depression to the Bataan Death March and beyond, in a series of biographical profiles that chronicle the experiences of ordinary Americans who became caught up in historic twentieth-century events.
From the Depression to Pearl Harbor -- The war in Europe -- The war in the Pacific -- The home front -- Reflections.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Central Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
Concord Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
East Delavan Branch Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
Eden Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Elma Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lackawanna Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lake Shore Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Marilla Free Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Newstead Library D811.A2 B7458 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A seventeen-year-old who enlisted in the army in 1941 writes to describe the Bataan Death March. Other members of the greatest generation describe their war -- in such historic episodes as Guadalcanal, the D-Day invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and Midway -- as well as their life on the home front. In this beautiful American family album of stories, reflections, memorabilia, and photographs, history comes alive and is preserved, in people's own words and through photographs and time lines that commemorate important dates and events. Starting with the Depression and Pearl Harbor, on through the war in Europe and the Pacific, this unusual book preserves a people's rich historical heritage and the legacy of the heroism of a nation.

Author Notes

Tom Brokaw, a native of South Dakota, graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science. He began his journalism career in Omaha & Atlanta before joining NBC News in 1966. Brokaw was the White House correspondent for NBC News during Watergate, and from 1976 to 1981 he anchored Today on NBC. He's been the sole anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw since 1983. Brokaw has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including two DuPonts, a Peabody Award, and several Emmys. He is the author of the bestselling books "The Greatest Generation" and "The Greatest Generation Speaks". He lives in New York and Montana.

(Publisher Provided) Tom Brokaw, born February 6, 1940, is a television journalist and author best known as the anchor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

Brokaw is the author of The Greatest Generation (1998), The Greatest Generation Speaks(1999), An Album of Memories(2001), A Long Way from Home: Growing Up in the American Heartland (2002), Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today (2007), and The Time of Our Lives: A Conversation about America - Who We Are, Where We've Been, and Where We Need to Go Now, to Recapture the American Dream (2011). He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Brokaw is the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press. He now serves as a Special Correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

TV news anchors Brokaw and Rather extend existing franchises in their latest books. Brokaw's nightly NBC news broadcast may not lead in the ratings, but his Greatest Generation volumes have been a publishing phenomenon. Album is likely to continue this highly successful pattern; it gathers letters written to Brokaw by Americans who lived through the Depression and World War II and, in some cases, letters written by their children. Brokaw provides a brief introduction and a time line for each chapter; these cover the Depression, the war in Europe and in the Pacific, and the wartime "home front," closing with "Reflections." The book is lavishly illustrated with reproductions of photographs, drawings, documents, and other memorabilia of the era. In the end, though, the appeal of these books lies in the stories Brokaw's correspondents tell: the experiences of ordinary and not-so-ordinary Americans during the difficult middle years of the twentieth century. Fans of Rather's CBS Evening News will find the title of his latest volume familiar: for two years, CBS Evening News has frequently included feature reports called "The American Dream." Rather uses the same title for some of his CBS radio commentaries. The justification for shifting this multimedia reportage to print is the fact that both TV and radio "present the intractable problem of time." In this book, Rather can tell more stories of individual Americans and their dreams--only one of the subjects here has also been covered on TV--and can spend more time examining how their dreams "fit into the larger currents of the American Dream." Rather groups his material into chapters that focus on elements of our national aspirations: liberty, enterprise, pursuit of happiness, family, fame, education, innovation, and "giving back." The Americans that Rather describes are a diverse group but, he urges, their stories are an inspirational reminder of the power of the nation's fundamental ideas to motivate a wide range of people. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ever since he released his tribute to The Greatest Generation, Brokaw has been inundated, happily, by a generous and appreciative outpouring of responses from those who built modern-day America. Their voices in his sequel, The Greatest Generation Speaks, triggered even more memories of the American experience in WWII. To honor both these additional stories and the new WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. (proceeds from the book will help fund it), Brokaw has compiled this new collection of letters and photos in an arrangement that is, appropriately, both familial and formal. Most of the selections were written by men who served in the armed forces, but Brokaw also includes letters from veterans' wives, children and grandchildren who have inherited a legacy they want to share. Brokaw divides the contributions into categories such as "The Great Depression," "The Home Front" and "The War in Europe," and provides a brief overview of each period. Although his historical introductions are somewhat simplistic accounts of well-known events, he does include more controversial information on the internment of Japanese-Americans and the racism within the armed forces. But the strength of this collection lies in the engrossing and evocative letters. They document the actual experiences of men and women who risked their lives and endured great hardships for what they strongly believed was a good cause. Women widowed by the war provide haunting memoirs of the young men they loved and lost. Running through the correspondence are the values of patriotism, self-sacrifice and courage under fire that so characterized this wartime generation. 90 b&w photos, time lines and maps. Agent, Ken Starr. (May 8) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Thanks in part to NBC news anchor Brokaw, the "greatest generation" will certainly not become the forgotten generation anytime soon. This sequel to The Greatest Generation Speaks uses the same format: letters written to Brokaw describing everything from domestic activities to life as a soldier in World War II. In this work, coverage begins with recollections of the Great Depression and then proceeds to the different theaters of the war. Coverage of the Dirty Thirties is slow and somewhat boring, with letters that run along the lines of, "Dear Tom, I had to wear my older sister's hand-me-downs and work evenings at the movie show. Thank You." However, once readers reach the war period, they will not be able to put the book down. Even more so than the rugged Depression era, it was World War II that made and molded this hardy generation. Especially touching are those letters that contain the evolution of a life, from depictions of boot camp and love and loneliness to horror and battle and, finally, death (copies of death and grave notices and sometimes letters written by soldiers who were friends of the deceased are included). One becomes almost part of the soldier's family. Some of the proceeds from book sales will go to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. Sure to hit the best sellers list (and hopefully the last in Brokaw's series), this book is essential for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Richard Nowicki, formerly with Emerson Vocational High, Buffalo, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From Part II: The War in Europe At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Europe is a stable, economically prosperous continent where the political and financial communities are engaged in historic cooperation. Six decades ago, however, less than an American lifetime, Europe was deeply divided by Fascist ambitions, ruthless military aggression, and fanatical political allegiance. Poland was the first country to fall, prompting Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany but without rushing to Poland's side. In 1939 and 1940 Finland fell to the Soviets, who needed a buffer against Germany's voracious appetite. Germany in turn invaded Norway and Denmark. British and French troops joined Norwegian troops in a stiff initial fight, but the Allies were forced to withdraw by Hitler's pressures on their own countries. In the spring of 1940, when Germany was making its lightning strikes into the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, the Nazis had 2.2 million troops in uniform, nine motorized divisions, and ten panzer divisions protected by 3,500 combat aircraft. The Allies-France, Great Britain, and the lowland countries-actually had more men in uniform, more tanks, and more than 1,400 combat aircraft. But they had no common defense strategy and no unified political will. By June 1940 German troops controlled Paris, and France was humiliated into accepting a puppet government. Charles de Gaulle, one of the few senior French officials to flee, went to London, where he declared in a broadcast to the French people: "This war has not been settled by the Battle of France. This war is a world war. . . . Whatever happens the flame of resistance must not and will not be extinguished." Great Britain, however, was not a safe sanctuary. Shortly after defeating France, Hitler began what came to be known as the Battle of Britain, opening with a bombing campaign designed to so diminish British airpower that an invasion would be possible. By then the British had a new, formidable weapon in their arsenal: the bulldog will and powerful rhetoric of Winston Churchill, who had replaced the pliable Neville Chamberlain as prime minister. As John F. Kennedy said later, Great Britain was alone in the late summer of 1940 in resisting the Führer's thirst for conquest. The British people had what Churchill would call "their finest hour" in withstanding a withering bombing attack from July to September. The British Royal Air Force was a fierce picket line in the skies against German bombers, and the English people maintained their legendary reserve during the bombing raids that struck at the heart of their capital. An American in London became the voice of the British people in his daily broadcasts. Edward R. Murrow, a dashing young CBS broadcaster with no traditional journalistic training, brought the war into the homes of Americans by standing on rooftops or recording the hurried footsteps as Londoners filed into Underground-subway-stations during bombing raids. His reports, which began "This is London . . . ," were at once conversational and grave, as if from a troubled friend. By the fall of 1940 the war had expanded to North Africa, where the Italians had invaded Egypt but were driven out by a much smaller British force. Italy was proving to be an ineffective military ally for Germany, bungling an invasion of Greece as well. Nonetheless, nothing diminished Hitler's confidence or appetite for conquest, and by early 1941 he had sent his forces into Greece, Yugoslavia, and Romania. His brilliant field commander Erwin Rommel mobilized the Afrika Korps to invade Egypt and head for the Suez Canal. In a series of campaigns that seesawed back and forth across the desert, neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage until July 1942, when the British Eighth Army, under the command of General Bernard Law Montgomery, stopped Rommel's advance at El-Alamein. In the United States FDR signed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, likening Great Britain to a neighbor whose house was on fire. The president was supplying a garden hose without haggling over the price, fully expecting to get it back once the fire was out. It was part of his genius to reduce complicated and controversial matters to homilies understandable by every level of American society. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States would become much more than a friendly neighbor with a garden hose. It would be fully involved, fighting for its life and values. In June 1941 Hitler made what would prove to be one of his most hubristic-and flawed-decisions. He invaded the Soviet Union, opening a second major front for Germany. By December Nazi troops were within reach of the Moscow city limits. Other German units lay siege to Leningrad (St. Petersburg), initiating a battle that would continue for two and a half years and cost the Soviets an estimated million and a half lives. By 1942, while the Germans continued their Soviet offensive, the U.S. Eighth Air Force was forming in England. Major General Dwight David Eisenhower took command of the new U.S. European Theater of Operations. British bombers attacked Cologne, Germany, in the first 1,000-plane raid of the war. By the fall the Allies had invaded North Africa with Operation Torch, the first step in establishing a launching pad for the invasion of Sicily and Italy and Montgomery had begun his counterattack of El-Alamein. At the same time Soviet forces began a counterattack against German troops fighting for Stalingrad. When the Germans surrendered at Stalingrad, they had lost 300,000 troops. In January 1943 Roosevelt, Churchill, and de Gaulle met in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. Although still on the defensive for the most part, they agreed to seek unconditional surrender from the Axis powers. They also agreed to begin strategic bombing against Germany and, with the North African campaign complete, to commence the invasion of Sicily. But on the larger question of an invasion of Europe across the English Channel, the Allied leaders deferred a decision. Meanwhile, the fighting in the USSR was raging, with both sides committing millions of troops and mammoth armored divisions to epic battles. Slowly the Soviets were turning the Germans back, at great cost to both nations. By mid-summer the Allies under Eisenhower invaded Sicily. In September the invasion of mainland Italy began with almost no opposition. By then FDR and Churchill had agreed that in 1944 they would launch Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe across the Channel. As the fighting in Italy became more intense in the late autumn, German troops replaced Italians, sometimes by imprisoning or extinguishing them. The Italian government had forced Mussolini from power and was secretly negotiating with the Allies. But the Germans were determined to defend their southern flank, and the Italian topography of mountains and rivers was ideal for establishing defensive positions. Excerpted from An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. IX
Part 1 From The Depression To Pearl Harborp. 1
Part 2 The War In Europep. 37
Part 3 The War In The Pacificp. 147
Part 4 The Home Frontp. 219
Part 5 Reflectionsp. 255
Contributorsp. 313

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