The Good War by Studs TerkelAlthough I went through my history classes in high school and managed to get A’s, I somehow either didn’t retain or simply didn’t learn about a lot of events in world history that I should have. World War II was only one of these events, and I thought that the best place for me to dive into things would be with a familiar writer that I enjoyed. The Good War is now the fourth book by Studs Terkel that I’ve read in the past year, and I honestly have no reason to want to stop. His interviews almost perfectly capture the wide range of the human condition, and his assembly and structuring makes for good reading.

While I wasn’t a complete idiot about WWII when I started the book, there were many things that I learned within that I decided I wanted to know more about in depth. Even though the big isn’t one of detailed statistics and figures, the sheer numbers and size of the war in just about every degree boggled my mind at points. Terkel talks to not only people from the United States, but people from both Allied and other positions in Europe. He speaks to those who were on the European stage, the Pacific stage, and even those on the homefront.

As always, the insight of the “common” person within his books seems to at times be some of the most profound reading that I’ve read. Words flow like poetry at times and the book spans the wide range of emotions from blind patriotism to enveloping sadness at events that have taken place. As with other Terkel books I’ve read, I would highly recommend this to anyone. In fact, it’s probably the best Terkel book that I’ve read thusfar.

On a related note, I now plan to read more about World War II. I posed the question of what might be the best semi-concise historical non-fiction tome on WWII to another forum, and I was recommended both The Second World War by John Keegan and A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II by Gerhard Weinberg. Both are supposed to be quite good at laying out the timelines and history of the war, with the latter being especially in-depth (which isn’t surprising given the almost 1,200 page length). Anyone else have any great WWII non-fiction titles they’d recommend?