The Good War’s Greatest Hits
World War II and American Remembering

Philip D. Beidler

A fascinating guided tour of America's pop culture archives of World War II books, films, musicals, and more

Reviews

"The Good War's Greatest Hits is a fascinating production. It is a book that can make us see the cultural significance of WWII in the way Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory opened our eyes to WWI."
—Joseph T. Cox, author of The Written Wars

"This book is superbly written. It's fast-paced and was a pleasure to read."
—Townsend Ludington, author of Twentieth-Century Odyssey


Description
The glow of 1945 persists as a kind of beacon for American society, symbolic of an era when good and evil were easily defined. This image is at the center of Philip D. Beidler's entertaining look at the way World War II reshaped American popular culture.

The legend of the "Good War" was fostered by wartime propaganda and reinforced in the aftermath of victory through books, the news media, movies, songs, and television. Beidler captures the aura of the times as he chronicles the production histories of more than a dozen projects with wartime themes, examining how books and plays evolved into films, how stars were considered and selected, technical problems and personality conflicts during production, and the public's reactions.
From the upbeat tempo of the musical South Pacific to the weary disillusionment of The Best Years of Our Lives, from the patriotic nostalgia of Life's Picture History of World War II to the moral ambiguity of From Here to Eternity, a powerful mythology of the war developed. As a consequence, the line between fact and fiction has blurred for the war generation and its inheritors, and Hollywood's version of the Good War has become enshrined as historical fact in the nation's collective memory.
Page count: 248 pp.
Illustrated
Trim size: 6 x 9

 



Hardcover
List price: $41.95
978-0-8203-2001-4
07/01/1998

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Philip D. Beidler is a professor of English at the University of Alabama. He has written or edited more than ten books. Beidler served as an armored cavalry platoon leader in Vietnam.