by Sukey HowardJanuary, 1999
Heroes can never be forgotten
Tom Brokaw went to Normandy to cover the 40th and then the 50th anniversary of D-Day, and though he was steeped in the history of that heroic, horrific invasion, it was the individuals he met and the stories they had to tell that moved and inspired him. Soon after that, he stated that the World War II generation that came of age in the Great Depression, that answered the call to save the world without whining or whimpering, and came home, mature beyond their years, to rebuild their lives and build America into the power it is, was the greatest. The audio version of his new book, The Greatest Generation, which Brokaw reads in his familiar stentorian style, serves to back up that bold statement and may serve, too, as an inspirational model for listeners. What Brokaw achieves is an audio portrait album that pays tribute to ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times, whose enterprise, determination, and collective contributions created what we have and take for granted today. This generation wasn't perfect, they made mistakes, but they shared many values in common duty, honor, pride in country, personal responsibility, service values so many of us talk about rather than adhere to.
To get an inside view of the battles that shaped these men, listen to Band of Brothers, Stephen E. Ambrose's brilliantly detailed account of E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, as its men moved from the nightmare of Normandy in 1944 to the capture of Hitler's Bavarian outpost in 1945.