Rick Atkinson Plans to Refight the Revolutionary War

Rick Atkinson’s Guns at Last Light has topped bestseller lists since May. It was the third volume in the “Liberation Trilogy,” his epic history of World War II, and now the two-time Pulitzer winner has reupped for another conflict: the Revolutionary War. Atkinson, 60 (left), spent a grueling 15 years researching and writing the three WWII books (which now have a combined 900,000 copies in print). But “the American Revolution has always had a grip on my imagination,” he says. …

Bob Fletcher: An Unsung Hero During World War II

Robert Emmett “Bob” Fletcher, who died on May 23 at age 101 in the Sacramento area, fought heroically to defend his fellow Americans during World War II, though he never put on a uniform or fired a shot. His struggle, though, was not against the Axis powers. Rather, it was  against an injustice perpetrated by the U.S. government itself: the 1942 forced relocation of 122,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them citizens, to internment camps, where they were held without charges out …

George Aratani: A WWII Internee Turned History Buff

George Aratani was as personally well-known as the  imported products sold by the companies he founded – most notably, the Mikasa line of dinnerware, and Kenwood home audio equipment. Nevertheless, Aratani helped ensure that Americans knew the larger the story of the injustice inflicted on him and 122,000 Japanese Americans at the outbreak of World War II, when they were forced to leave their homes and live behind fences and under armed guard in internment camps, often losing their property and businesses …

Charles Durning: 5 Facts About the Consummate Character Actor

You might remember Charles Durning as the crooked Lt. Snyder in the classic 1973 film The Sting, or as the World War II Medal of Honor winner who confesses to killing his best friend in a 2004 episode of the hit TV series NCIS. Or you might recall him as the U.S. President that a renegade Air Force General (portrayed by Burt Lancaster) tries to force to release a scandalous secret document in the 1977 movie thriller Twilight’s Last Gleaming. Or …

George Smith: A Native American Who Helped Win WWII

George Smith and his fellow Navajo code talkers played an important but long under-appreciated role in defeating the Japanese in the bloody, hard-fought Pacific islands campaign during World War II. Smith, who died on Oct. 30 at age 90 in Window Rock, Ariz., was part of a group of about 400 Native Americans who transmitted battlefield communications in a fashion that baffled Japanese code-breakers – by talking on the radio in their own indigenous languages. That tactic was so effective, in fact, that the …

Wanted: Stories of Generosity after World War II

This is a guest post by Melanie Mantenieks. Mantenieks is a 2nd generation European American who has a strong interest in humanitarian efforts, geography, travel, and international studies.  She lives in Illinois with her Latvian American boyfriend and three cats. I’m a 2nd generation European American and while I’m not quite old enough to be an AARP member just yet, I’m on a mission to collect untold stories following World War II. I’m looking for stories about the generosity of American families who donated money to …