Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pride, Heckman at Gibson's Thursday

We Went to War, by Mike Pride & Meg Heckman
December 11, 7 PM
In "We Went to War," men and women from New Hampshire remember how World War II transformed — and often threatened — their lives. More than six decades later, they tell their own stories in words that are often poignant, sometimes tragic, and always human.
Two veterans depicted in the book will be here, too! Please join us to meet Robert S. Wood of Havenwood, and Olga Currier, the former Marine who used to work at Gibson's!

The story of World War II is really millions of stories. It is the story of people all around the globe who lived and died in a spasm of violence like no other before it. Most of those people are gone now, silent in their graves.

In 2007, Meg Heckman and Mike Pride of the Concord Monitor set out to find members of the World War II generation still living in New Hampshire 62 years after the war ended. "We Went to War" compiles the stories the two writers collected and adds several chapters.

In these pages you’ll read about bomber crew members shot down and captured, infantrymen who survived beach landings, sailors who saw an American carrier go down with terrible loss of life. You’ll meet men whose wounds still pain them, a daughter who lost her father to a sniper’s bullet in France, nurses who comforted the wounded. And you’ll get a picture of how the war changed life on the home front. These oral histories touch on the well-known—the Bataan Death March, D-Day, the Japanese surrender — but here you’ll also read about an escape through China, a flight with Jimmy Stewart’s tailgunner, and a drive on the Red Ball Express to supply Patton’s army. You’ll witness the courage of a generation shocked into a worldwide catastrophe. You’ll understand how global the conflict was and how arbitrarily it changed — and ended—lives.

Although some of the women and men interviewed for We Went to War recall the gung-ho spirit of the time, they do not candy-coat their experiences. The war was about death and mutilation. This generation’s “job,” as its members saw it, was to do their part and come safely home.

And one other thing: to remember, no matter how much they wanted to forget.

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