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The Greatest Generation

Narrated by: Tom Brokaw
Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (536 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The instant classic that changed the way we saw World War II and an entire generation of Americans, from the beloved journalist whose own iconic career has lasted more than 50 years.   

In this magnificent testament to a nation and her people, Tom Brokaw brings to life the extraordinary stories of a generation that gave new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and honor. From military heroes to community leaders to ordinary citizens, he profiles men and women who served their country with valor, then came home and transformed it: Senator Daniel Inouye, decorated at the front, fighting prejudice at home; Martha Settle Putney, one of the first black women to serve in the newly formed WACs; Charles Van Gorder, a doctor who set up a MASH-like medical facility in the middle of battle, then opened a small clinic in his hometown; Navy pilot and future president George H. W. Bush, assigned to read the mail of the enlisted men under him, who says that in doing so he “learned about life”; and many other laudable Americans. To this generation that gave so much and asked so little, Brokaw offers eloquent tribute in true stories of everyday heroes in extraordinary times. 

Praise for The Greatest Generation:

“Moving... a tribute to the members of the World War II generation to whom we Americans and the world owe so much.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Full of wonderful, wrenching tales of a generation of heroes. Tom Brokaw reminds us what we are capable of as a people. An inspiring read for those who wish their spirits lifted.” (Colin L. Powell)

“Offers welcome inspiration... It is impossible to read even a few of these accounts and not be touched by the book’s overarching message: We who followed this generation have lived in the midst of greatness.” (The Washington Times)

“Entirely compelling.” (The Wall Street Journal)

©1998 Tom Brokaw

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Why abridged?

I did not realize when I bought this book that it is the abridged version, very disappointed because it loses a lot of the story between each vignette. Audible please bring back the unabridged.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Yes, they were that great

Having been parented by two of the greatest generation, I enjoyed learning more about what they went through. All too often, they refuse to talk about what happened to them during their amazingly challenging lifetimes, WWI, the great depression, WW2. They have suppressed their experiences or allowed their reflections to fade from their memories. There is still much for us to learn from our parents. I thank Brokaw for helping to reveal some of their stories to us.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • M.G
  • Phoenix, AZ USA
  • 01-31-19

N.B. This is an Abridgement<br />

When l bought this book, l read the summary but missed the part about its being an Abridgement. Buyer beware!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Don Lance
  • Murfreesboro, TN United States
  • 03-29-09

Why we appreciate this generation

Finally we have a book that honors this generation who experienced the toughest trials of the 20th century. As a son of a family from this generation, I had long noticed there was always something special about them. This generation is very different from the generations that were born from around 1950 onward, and Tom helps us to understand why. The world events of the time shaped them into who they are. I also think Tom effectively captures the most admirable qualities of this generation in his words. For those of us who did not experience the events of the 1930s and 1940s, Tom's book will give you a new respect for those who did.

For those who are sensitive to foul language, realize that there are a few terms in the chapter related to Art Buchwald. It is not excessive, but you should realize it is there if you happen to have some children who may listen with you. It's the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

I'm sure everyone has heard Tom's voice from news broadcasts, so you will know he speaks clearly and with conviction. It's a big plus that Tom did his own narration for his work.

I recommend this book for everyone born after 1950. You will gain an appreciation for this generation who lived through the early-to-mid 20th century events you read in your history book, and you will hope that your generation will also follow their example.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Missing Chapters

He didn't read all the chapters. He skipped over them and went to a different chapter.

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  • Meg
  • Fort Irwin, CA United States
  • 08-08-19

It skips way too much

This abridged version is not good. It skips way too much and it was very hard to follow.

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Eye Opening

Absolutely wonderful accounts of the various lives of those affected by the war. Covers the stories of all genders and nationalities. Not too long and really sends the message of past patriotism and the role it played in shaping this country

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We can hope that we never repeat these events.

History is often forgotten by those who did not live through the events. The world of tomorrow will be forever impacted by these men and women.

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Brokaw is such a powerful story teller

I was really taken back by most of the stories and his ability to tell these stories from the intimate details he received while meeting these people. The stories of the heroes in this book are a great selection and a must read for anyone who truly want to respect this generation and the struggles they endured. Bravo!!

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Brokaw captures it

I read this book in 2012 after my father passed away. It helped me feel closer to someone who I was very close to, yet didn't know when he was a younger man. It helped bridge that gap. My mother passed away this month, also from the Greatest Generation. I decided to get the audible version this time.I can't tell you how great the audible version is with Tom Brokaw's voice, inflections and points of emphasis. If you liked the book, you have to get the audible version.

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  • Georgi
  • 01-22-19

Brave men and women ... we can learn from them.

Let's non fool ourselves men and women. We live in a world of selfishness, laziness, self gratification.
The virtues shared through the powerful personal stories of all the HEROES told in the book are not known in the society today.
If any single one of takes only one lesson from this book and apply it in out lives, I bet that our lives will become richer.
Great book full of wisdom! I will recommend it to anyone.