Monday, January 10, 2011

Choice Review

The Choice review of A Nation Forged in War is up. Here is the text:
Bruscino, Thomas. A nation forged in war: how World War II taught Americans to get along. Tennessee, 2010. 348p bibl index ISBN 1-57233-695-1, $39.95; ISBN 9781572336957, $39.95. Reviewed in 2011jan CHOICE.

In contrast to the German practice of forming military units from soldiers of the same city or region, the US melds together groups of men from diverse geographic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Bruscino (US Army School of Advanced Military Studies) finds this to be one of the more important legacies of WW II. The forced intimacy of training and warfare eroded many prejudicial barriers and, in the postwar world, served as the grassroots basis for a newly enlarged sense of tolerance. The sense of sharing a common identity first emerged among troops stationed in England and Ireland. Ethno-religious differences faded as men found greater unity in terms of social values they deemed distinctly "American." Once on the continent, these differences emerged with ever-greater clarity and consistency. Bruscino notes that the size of the WW II mobilization (around 15 million men and women) and the duration of the commitment (1941-1946) were decisive factors in shaping long-term outcomes. In combat, the key motivation remained mutual protection and defense, not ideology. Unit cohesion spelled survival without regard to any other factor, and out of this foxhole experience grew a greater sense of respect for cultural differences. A well-written, highly accessible account of emergent pluralism in US culture. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- J. Kleiman, University of Wisconsin Colleges
On Choice's Facebook page, they made it Today's Top Review for January 10, 2011.

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