Once There Was A War

Once There Was a War
by John Steinbeck

“Age can never dull this kind of writing,” writes the Chicago Tribune of John Steinbeck’s dispatches from World War II, filed for the New York Herald Tribune in 1943, which vividly captured the human side of war. Writing from England in the midst of the London blitz, North Africa, and Italy, Steinbeck focuses on the people as opposed to the battles, portraying everyone from the guys in the bomber crew to Bob Hope on his USO tour. He eats and drinks with soldiers behind enemy lines, talks with them, and fights beside them. First published in book form in 1958, these writings, now with a new introduction by Mark Bowden, create an unforgettable portrait of life in wartime that continues to resonate with truth and humanity.

Once There Was a War
by John Steinbeck

‘Do you know it, do you remember it, the drives, the attitudes, the terrors and, yes, the joys?’ Thus Steinbeck introduces his collection of poignant and hard-hitting dispatches for the New York Herald Tribune when the Second World War was at its height. He begins in England, recounting the courage of the bomber crews, the tragic air-raids and the strangeness of the British, before being sent to Africa and joining a special operations unit off the coast of Italy. Eating, drinking talking and fighting alongside the soldiers, Steinbeck’s empathy for the common man is always in evidence in these pieces, and he never fails to evoke the human side of an inhuman war.

‘If you have forgotten what the war was like, Steinbeck will refresh your memory. Age can never dull this kind of writing.’
Chicago Tribune


Once There Was a War
by John Steinbeck

Set in England, Africa and Italy this collection of Steinbeck’s World War II news correspondence was written for the New Yolk Herald Tribune in the latter part of 1943.

We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young
by Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway

New York Times Bestseller: A “powerful and epic story . . . the best account of infantry combat I have ever read” (Col. David Hackworth, author of About Face).
 In November 1965, some 450 men of the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Harold Moore, were dropped into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was brutally slaughtered. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War. They were the first major engagements between the US Army and the People’s Army of Vietnam.
 How these Americans persevered—sacrificing themselves for their comrades and never giving up—creates a vivid portrait of war at its most devastating and inspiring. Lt. Gen. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway—the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting—interviewed hundreds of men who fought in the battle, including the North Vietnamese commanders. Their poignant account rises above the ordeal it chronicles to depict men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have once found unimaginable. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man’s most heroic and horrendous endeavor.

Once There Was a Farm
by Virginia Bell Dabney

Nearly fifty years after she left the family farm of her childhood, Virginia Bell Dabney was compelled to write a memoir. She and her two sisters were raised on a Virginia farm during the hardscrabble years of the 1920s and 1930s. Her determined, independent mother managed to make a life for her famiy, despite hardships such as the Depression and a fire that destroyed their home. Although raised in a spare environment where leaky ceilings and cold winter nights were the norm, Dabney finds much to love, and to rejoice over, in her country upbringing: the wonder of hens laying eggs, the sensations asscoiated with milking a cow, her warm friendship with her mother’s black maid. The remarkable clarity of her half-century-old memories and her simple, unaffected tone bring this country childhood unforgettably to life.


Once There Were Castles
by Larry Millett

In Lost Twin Cities, Larry Millett brought to life the vanished architecture of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Now, in Once There Were Castles, he offers a richly illustrated look at another world of ghosts in our midst: the lost mansions and estates of the Twin Cities.

Nobody can say for sure how many lost mansions haunt the Twin Cities, but at least five hundred can be accounted for in public records and archives. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, entire neighborhoods of luxurious homes have disappeared, virtually without a trace. Many grand estates that once spread out over hundreds of acres along the shores of Lake Minnetonka are also gone. The greatest of these lost houses often had astonishingly short lives: the lavish Charles Gates mansion in Minneapolis survived only nineteen years, and Norman Kittson’s sprawling castle on the site of the St. Paul Cathedral stood for barely more than two decades. Railroad and freeway building, commercial and institutional expansion, fires, and financial disasters all claimed their share of mansions; others succumbed to their own extravagance, becoming too costly to maintain once their original owners died.

The stories of these grand houses are, above all else, the stories of those who built and lived in them—from the fantastic saga of Marion Savage to the continent-spanning conquests of James J. Hill, to the all-but-forgotten tragedy of Olaf Searle, a poor immigrant turned millionaire who found and lost a dream in the middle of Lake Minnetonka. These and many other mansion builders poured all their dreams, desires, and obsessions into extravagant homes designed to display wealth and solidify social status in a culture of ever-fluctuating class distinctions.

The first book to take an in-depth look at the history of the Twin Cities’ mansions, Once There Were Castles presents ninety lost mansions and estates, organized by neighborhood and illustrated with photographs and drawings. An absorbing read for Twin Cities residents and a crucial addition to the body of work on the region’s history, Once There Were Castles brings these “ghost mansions” back to life.


Once Upon a Time There Was a War
by Les Kaluza

Merriam Press Personal Chronicle No. 9. First Edition, 2015. Once Upon a Time There Was a War is a kaleidoscope of events. It starts with World War II seen through the eyes of a child. The author was only nine years old when the war started and he writes about his memories of horrible events like hangings and executions of innocent people; senseless killings that brought misery to so many lives. But, being only a child, he also had times of fun and play. The reality of war, however, was ever-present. Despite those dark times, Les remained an optimist; he had his dreams of becoming an animator and of going to Hollywood. He didn’t know how, but he was sure that someday he would reach his goal. Les reached his goal and had a long career working for studios in Poland, as well as Disney and Hanna-Barbera in the U.S., and others. Those fascinating stories, and many more, are also in this memoir.

Once a Shepherd
by Glenda Millard

In poignant verse, the story of one young shepherd makes the experience of soldiers in World War I accessible to children.

Once there sang a carefree shepherd
In a field of emerald green . . .
Once his world was all at peace.

Here is the tale of Tom Shepherd, tending his lambs and shearing their fleece and wooing his sweetheart, who weaves the sheep’s wool to make him a coat. But then the Great War comes, and Tom must leave his beloved wife and his unborn child and go off to fight. In a moving, sobering story that resolves in a heartbreaking but beautiful ending, Once a Shepherd evokes the reality of war in a way young children can understand, while fostering a deep-felt hope for peace.


The Face of War
by Martha Gellhorn

A collection of “first-rate frontline journalism” from the Spanish Civil War to US actions in Central America “by a woman singularly unafraid of guns” (Vanity Fair).
 
For nearly sixty years, Martha Gellhorn’s fearless war correspondence made her a leading journalistic voice of her generation. From the Spanish Civil War in 1937 through the Central American wars of the mid-eighties, Gellhorn’s candid reporting reflected her deep empathy for people regardless of their political ideology. Collecting the best of Gellhorn’s writing on foreign conflicts, and now with a new introduction by Lauren Elkin, The Face of War is a classic of frontline journalism by “the premier war correspondent of the twentieth century” (Ward Just, The New York Times Magazine).
 
Whether in Java, Finland, the Middle East, or Vietnam, she used the same vigorous approach. “I wrote very fast, as I had to,” she says, “afraid that I would forget the exact sound, smell, words, gestures, which were special to this moment and this place.” As Merle Rubin noted in his review of this volume for The Christian ScienceMonitor, “Martha Gellhorn’s courageous, independent-minded reportage breaks through geopolitical abstractions and ideological propaganda to take the reader straight to the scene of the event.”


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