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'Daddy's Gone to War'


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About the Author

William M. Tuttle, Jr., is Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Kansas. His books include Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919; W.E.B. Du Bois; with David M. Katzman, Plain Folk; and with Mary Beth Norton and others, A People and A Nation.


Drawing on letters, diaries and interviews, the author of this significant study takes a close look at the experiences and perceptions of American children during WW II. Focusing particularly on the psychological impact of a father's absence, Tuttle is sensitive to the difference between the reactions of sons and those of daughters. But fathers weren't the only ones to ship out, and Tuttle examines the impact of the entry of mothers into the war-production labor force and of the geographical dislocation this could entail. A history professor at the University of Kansas and himself a ``homefront child,'' the author recalls how important comic books, radio programs, cereal boxtop toys and even jump-rope ditties were to children of that day. He also analyzes the values emphasized during wartime--the stress on marriage and family, the mandate to ``get ahead,'' patriotism and U.S. leadership of the ``free world''--and shows how these beliefs endured into adulthood. This eloquent, unsentimental study is a fully realized evocation of the wartime years from the American child's point of view. (Sept.)

"An exemplary combination of solid primary source-work, elegant readability, and theoretical creativity, William Tuttle's Daddy's Gone to War will be of particular interest to historians of childhood and the life course, and of potentially more general interest to anyone born in the United States between the mid-1930s and the mid-1940s."--Journal of Social History "This analysis of testimony from more than 2,000 is a valuable and moving book."--The New York Times Book Review "In a felicitous synthesis of history, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, Tuttle represents in rich detail the intersection between public events and the way young children perceived them during World War II. Identifying differences of class, race, religion, age, gender, and geographical and ethnic background, Tuttle describes the psychic landscape and the challenges that shaped a generation of children now entering its 50s....Artful and absorbing."--Kirkus Reviews "Well written, balanced....The human story Tuttle tells makes a fascinating book."--The Kansas City Star "Tuttle creates a vivid picture of American children during the Second World War through the letters and recollections of home-front children themselves....From the first page to the last, the reader will hope that the narrative will not end. In the 263 pages of text the reader will be glued to each and every vignette discovering another fascinating aspect of the American home front. By using childhood experiences, Tuttle has demonstrated the value of social history as an important tool in understanding the Second World War, and in the process we discover more about ourselves."--Kansas History "Rich and rewarding....valuable and moving....[H]is insights help us to consider the consequences of feeling invincible."--The New York Times Book Review "Drawing on letters, diaries and interviews, the author of this significant study takes a close look at the experiences and perceptions of American children during WW II....Tuttle is sensitive to the difference between the reactions of sons and those of daughters....This eloquent, unsentimental study is a fully realized evocation of the wartime years from the American child's point of view."--Publishers Weekly "An invaluable guide"--The Boston Globe "A rich lode of folk memory, bringing concepts such as the concrete operations of Piaget, the war statistics, and historical data to life....The experiences of boys and girls, minorities and whites, different age groups, children with and without at-home fathers are all heard....Triggers memory and reflection."--Booklist "In a masterly way Tuttle has fashioned these reminiscences, together with a great deal of factual information about the war year (number of families who moved, housing, child-care, and recreational problems, racial upheavals, as so on) in to a social history of this period. Although the focus is on how the war impacted upon children at different age levels, Tuttle aloso uses his material to illuminate the gender, racial, and religious prejudices and attributes that were, in many ways, sharpened by the tension of war. It makes for fascinating reading, particularly for those readers, like myself, who also experienced the war as children....A powerful and engrossing social portrait of the World War II years....A compelling work that illuminates some of the heretofore dark niches of the years of World War II. Indeed, after reading this book, the reader can't help wishing that there had been Tuttles to write comparable histories of the Civil War and Revolutionary War years."--Science "Air raid drills, victory gardens, newsreels, nightmares; playing soldier or playing nurse, the half-understood conversations of adults, service flags with gold stars, patriotism, fear, 'Daddy's coming home!': those who were America's 'homefront children' in WWII will see themselves in these pages, and in reading this book will come to understand their experiences in new ways. Bill Tuttle has written a moving, sensitive, and analytically sophisticated history."--Beth Bailey, co-author of The First Strange Place: The Alchemy of Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii "In 'Daddy's Gone to War', Bill Tuttle explores the experience of a generation: WWII America's 'homefront children.' He has woven the voices of ordinary Americans into a moving, sensitive, and analytically sophisticated history, at once pathbreaking in its interdisciplinary approach and vivid in its portrayal of young children caught in a world at war."--Beth Bailey, Barnard College "Sensitive, evocative, and powerful, Bill Tuttle's narrative provides a whole new perspective on how Americans experienced World War II."--William H. Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Duke University "Drawing on the recollections of hundreds of Americans who were children during World War II, William Tuttle has written a vivid and powerful portrait of a previously-hidden aspect of life during wartime....Tuttle's account punctures many nostalgic myths about the war: Daddy's return was not necessarily a happy event, the war against facism did not foster tolerance at home, children were not oblivious to the horrors of a war fought far away. This book not only depicts wartime America through the eyes of the children who lived through it, it also suggests new ways for historians to understand children as particiants in history."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era and Pushing the Limits: American Women in the Forties and Fifties "A well written study that illuminates an overlooked faced of the WWII homefront."--Louis Kyriakoudes, University of Southern Mississippi "A work rich with description and immediacy....A remarkably readable and coherent account of personal experience during the war. And, unlike many works about American children, Tuttle here includes children's voices--at least the voices of adults recalling the experiences of their childhoods....A major contribution to the study of the histories of American children and to our understanding of the profound impact the Second World War had on American life."--Joseph M. Hawes, The University of Memphis

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