Monday, December 28, 2015

When Books Went to War

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning, 267 pages

Books were a big deal in WWII. Many thought that the best way to fight Nazi book burnings was to provide more books to our troops abroad, so librarians and publishers banded together to provide reading material for the troops. Manning's book follows the rise and fall of the massive book drives sponsored by the American Library Association, as well as the creation of the American Service Edition (ASE) paperbacks. The bulk of the book focuses on the ASEs, which pioneered lightweight paperback printing, and managed to bring competing publishers together in a combined goal of providing classics and popular contemporary titles to the troops. It's a fascinating story, one that should have been told long before Manning wrote this book. Well worth a read.

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