The Greatest Generation Comes Home
The Veteran in American Society
Military History - World War II
6 x 9, 286 pp.
17 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 10/18/2005
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
Price:        $50.00 x

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The Greatest Generation Comes Home

The Veteran in American Society

By Michael D. Gambone

At the conclusion of World War II, Americans anxiously contemplated the return to peace. It was an uncertain time, filled with concerns about demobilization, inflation, strikes, and the return of a second Great Depression. Balanced against these challenges was the hope in a future of unparalleled opportunities for a generation raised in hard times and war.

One of the remarkable untold stories of postwar America is the successful assimilation of sixteen million veterans back into civilian society after 1945. The G.I. generation returned home filled with the same sense of fear and hope as most citizens at the time. Their transition from conflict to normalcy is one of the greatest chapters in American history.

The Greatest Generation Comes Home combines military and social history into a comprehensive narrative of the veteran’s experience after World War II. It integrates early impressions of home in 1945 with later stories of medical recovery, education, work, politics, and entertainment, as well as moving accounts of the dislocation, alienation, and discomfort many faced. The book includes the experiences of not only the millions of veterans drawn from mainstream white America, but also the women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans who served the nation.

Perhaps most important, the book also examines the legacy bequeathed by these veterans to later generations who served in uniform on new battlefields around the world.

Michael D. Gambone teaches American history at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. A specialist on American foreign policy, he is the author of Eisenhower, Somoza, and the Cold War in Nicaragua, 1953–1961.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . outstanding—clear, concise, and with the right amount of drama. I do not know of any book that pulls together so many issues that affected the returning soldiers’ lives.”—Nancy Gentile Ford, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, author of Americans All: Foreign-born Soldiers in World War II and Issues of War and Peace

“In this very well written and researched book, Michael Gambone has provided an excellent account of the veterans’ experience after World War II. This is the place to start for someone who wants to learn about African-American, women, Latino, or Asian-American veterans, the veteran in film, employment and education of veterans, the role of the Veterans’ Administration, and the effect of World War II service on the Korean War. Gambone strikes a fine balance discussing the veterans’ difficulties—too often glossed over in retrospective celebration of  “the Greatest Generation”—and successes in readapting to civilian life.”-William A. Pencak, Penn State University

"How did sixteen million returning World War Two veterans change America? Gambone’s fast paced, informative, insightful, and deeply researched account provides a wealth of important answers to this all too rarely asked question. Attentive to issues of race and gender, labor, education, and healthcare, and to the representation of veterans in popular culture, the study makes for fascinating reading. Most importantly, the veterans’ poignant voices emerge loud and clear in the book."-David M. Wrobel, Professor of History, University of Nevada Las Vegas, And President, Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honor Society, Inc.

“For anyone interested in the history of veterans and their connection to society at large, this book is essential.”-The Journal of Military History

“Michael Gambone’s study of America’s greatest generation is well-written, scholarly, and informative. It makes a valuable contribution to the literature of the post-World War II era and represents the first comprehensive treatment of veterans care in the United States. His work is superbly illustrated and it contains an outstanding bibliographical essay, leading the reader to other sources of information.”-On Point


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