When Books Went to War
by Molly Guptill Manning

I’ve got one of the Armed Services Editions from WWII. It probably belonged to Uncle Al, the only member of our family who was in the military. (It’s a copy of Storm by George Stewart, and I’ve read and enjoyed it over the years.) So it’s very interesting to know the whole story behind the publishing of these little paperbacks.

But When Books Went to War isn’t just about how they published these books. It’s about why they thought it mattered enough to bother doing it.  It’s about censorship and book-burning. It’s about why ultimately all efforts to squelch the thoughts behind the books can’t succeed. It’s about freedom to think.

Beyond the political and social issues, it’s also about deeper and more spiritual issues. It’s about the humanizing quality of books.  Books can connect us to each other; they can break our lonely hearts open and help us to feel and to care. Books help us make sense of our lives; they can give us a lifeline to hold onto, a true solid place to stand when our interior space is in turmoil and confusion. Books save lives in ways that can’t be seen on the surface.

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