A wonderfully nostalgic and inspiring look at the center of the home front during World War II—New York City
More than any other place, New York was the center of action on the home front during World War II. As Hitler came to power in Germany, American Nazis goose-stepped in Yorkville on the Upper East Side, while recently arrived Jewish ÉmigrÉs found refuge on the Upper West Side. When America joined the fight, enlisted men heading for battle in Europe or the Pacific streamed through Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station. The Brooklyn Navy Yard refitted ships, and Times Square overflowed with soldiers and sailors enjoying some much-needed R & R. German U-boats attacked convoys leaving New York Harbor. Silhouetted against the gleaming skyline, ships were easy prey—debris and even bodies washed up on Long Island beaches—until the city rallied under a stringently imposed dim-out.
From Rockefeller Center's Victory Gardens and Manhattan's swanky nightclubs to metal-scrap drives and carless streets, Over Here! captures the excitement, trepidation, and bustle of this legendary city during wartime. Filled with the reminiscences of ordinary and famous New Yorkers, including Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, and Angela Lansbury, and rich in surprising detail—from Macy's blackout boutique to Mickey Mouse gas masks for kids—this engaging look back is an illuminating tour of New York on the front lines of the home front.
Lorraine B. Diehl
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Chronologically could have been better. I wanted to read this as I was born in Brooklyn during this time period, moved shortly after to NJ, and then to OH. Was curious what it was like to live there during the pre and early war years--what my parents were experiencing. This book did a good job of that, but it was a bit disconcerting to always follow the time line since I was trying to visualize were we in Queens then? Would my father have seen or experienced that as he went to the Chrysler Building for work? Did the tanker destruction encourage the move to NJ? How much of this was an influence to keep going west? The fact that most of the war years move back and forth made this much more difficult for me. As a history of what was actually happening I found it very interesting, just hard to follow.
What a terrific book this is. Over Here is beautifully structured with an ominous look at the Nazis in New York, and then the growing realization of the danger they (and the war) represent. New York's response to the threat of war is heartwarming and inspiring. The creation of the Bundles for Britain program is a great example - it even inspired a motion picture, Mr. Lucky, with Cary Grant. When America finally gets in the war for good the entire city becomes part of the War Effort from the shipbuilding in Brooklyn to the scanning for enemy U-Boats to the welcoming, entertaining, and sheltering of hundreds of thousands of servicemen. All the drama of the war itself is reflected in the reactions of the city and its inhabitants. Like all books about that period in history, Over Here becomes a real emotional experience - you root for the Allies and the city at the same time. I kept thinking about another non-fiction book that had a similar effect on me - Seabiscuit...
This was a fairly interesting book about New York City's actions in Civil Defense just prior to and during World War II. I think I may have misunderstood the presentation on Kindle. I am more interested in life in the American or British home front during this time. By this, I mean how the citizens worked and acted during their daily lives, and not how they worked in Civil Defense. This is an interesting book, just not what I was looking for.
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