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Publisher's Summary

During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte, Nebraska, on troop trains, en route to Europe and the Pacific. The tiny town transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen, a place where soldiers could enjoy coffee, music, home-cooked food, magazines, and friendly conversation during a stopover that lasted only a few minutes. It provided homesick military personnel with the encouragement they needed to help them through the difficult times ahead. Every day of the war, the Canteen, staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers from the community of 12,000, was open from 5 a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight. By war's end it provided welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food to more than six million GIs.

Based on interviews with North Platte residents and the GIs who once passed through, Bob Greene unearths and reveals a classic, lost-in-the-mists-of-time American story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.

©2002 John Deadline Enterprises, Inc.; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Greene's skill makes this homage not just a time capsule but a work that will strike a resonating chord in those seeking to remember the generosity and selflessness of many when faced with adversity and peril." (Publisher's Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

How a small town helped win the war

Where does Once Upon a Town rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

It is a wonderful story.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the concept of how this town turned a mistake into an event that touched the souls of so many of the men going off into an uncertain future

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Long Tale of a Truly Inspiring Short Tale

Wonderful story and memories. It seemed that Bob Greene was using a lot of "filler" to make a longer book of what should have been a short and sweet compilation of memories of the incredible North Platte Canteen (Nebraska) effort in WWI. These volunteers met EVERY troop train from 1941 on, and gave free food and friendship to MILLIONS of service people.

I didn't need to know about the airport or the museum. But I did get misty-eyed listening to a few of the "greatest generation's" comments on this unique show of support to the troops.

As one of the first audible.com subscribers, I was disappointed in the reader. He did not have the crisp delineation of characters that I expect.

I enjoyed it, but wouldn't suggest it. I think it is a book best read, not listened to.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Audio quality

The story was great, but the were several glitches in sound quality. it was distracting

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Absolutely fantastic!

I thought Bob Greene (as well as Fritz Weaver) did a masterful job on this book! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt like I had a better understanding of my Dad, who was a soldier in the WW2 effort on the German front. Dad was captured by the Germans and he spent the last 6 months of the war in a German POW camp in Austria.

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  • Kathleen
  • CLARKSVILLE, OH, United States
  • 08-03-15

Excellent!

It is a fantastic account of a forgotten era and a forgotten town who did a lot to help the war effort. Highly recommend it!

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The BEST of America unveiled!

An enthralling, nostalgic recounting of previously little known sacrifices, made by unrecognized people in the HEARTland of America that has become known as "the greatest generation". The unearthing and extolling of people and values that made our Country great will challenge you to rethink your life and perhaps even move you to invest it by serving others, while leaving you with a sense of gratitude!

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Good book about a special place

I really enjoyed learning about the North Platte Canteen and the author did a lovely job recreating the picture. The narrator on the Audible verson sells it perfectly. What an amaizing time and scerfice our country was in supporting our troops fighting in WWII. My onl shortfall of the book is that it was probably 2-4 chapters too long. I recommend this book if you want to dive into a histroy lesson at a micro level about American pride!

  • Overall
  • Madeline
  • Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • 02-15-11

Once Upon a Town

This is a shallow book much more suited to publication by county historical society than a major publisher.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful