Cover image for Their last battle : the fight for the national World War II memorial
Their last battle : the fight for the national World War II memorial
Mills, Nicolaus.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxxv, 268 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D836.W37 M55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



On Memorial Day weekend in 2004, the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington will officially open to the public. What began as a casual conversation between a Congresswoman and one of her constituents in 1987 grew into a struggle that lasted more than four times longer than it took America to fight the war itself. Its rocky progress to completion is a compelling story about how America chooses to memorialize its past and how we view World War II.Nicolaus Mills recounts the development of the Washington Mall, from its time as swampland to Southern outrage over the Lincoln Memorial to Maya Lin's controversial Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. The World War II Memorial would prove just as controversial; it took the support of WW II vet Bob Dole and actor Tom Hanks to overrule the strong objections of interest groups, self-appointed art critics, and others.In Their Last Battle , a story vividly narrated through interviews with politicians and vets, architects and citizens, Mills discovers what a public monument can tell us about America and the values it honors.

Author Notes

Kira Brunner is an editor of Radical Society magazine and lives in New York City. Nicolaus Mills is Professor of American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

First conceived by French-born architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant as a "public walk" designed to rival the grand vistas of Versailles and Paris, the National Mall has undergone many changes over the centuries. While it now enshrines much of America's most cherished patriotic and civic heritage, fierce debate over how the mall should look and what it should signify has attended the construction of nearly all its memorials. Against this historical backdrop, Mills (history, Sarah Lawrence Coll.; editor, The New Killing Fields) chronicles the political, cultural, and architectural struggles surrounding the 16-year battle to establish the latest addition to the mall, the National World War II Memorial, which opens to the public May 29. Mills traces the memorial's tangled legislative history and examines the heated clashes over the memorial's ultimate placement and design. Readers who have the patience to follow the tortuous path of the memorial through a labyrinthine bureaucratic process will be rewarded with a deeper appreciation for the architectural and artistic achievements underpinning this long-overdue memorial. Recommended for all collections.-Edward Metz, Combined Arms Research Lib., Ft. Leavenworth, KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.