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The Good War by Studs Terkel Book Review

The book is based on the several experiences of different people at the time of World War II. The author conducted numerous interviews with the people who were remained a part of the World War II. The author tried to depict all the related experiences that were the live part of the war. Terkel used different aspects to attract the audience towards the book and the experiences of World War II.

The young GI men were the ones who exploited by the humorous tricks and young women who were attracted towards the young soldiers. The most important factor of the book is that it is targeting the real experiences without making any personal bias against it by the author and he did not follow the pattern in which he should interact with the audience by providing his own opinion. He simply followed the method in which he is not providing his own opinions and considers that the most important thing is that to provide the experiences of interviewed person to the audience. This is an approach that makes the audience able to make their own opinions and own perceptions regarding the piece of literature.

The book includes the personal accounts of attack that were experienced by people present at Pearl Harbor. The soldiers, entertainers, pilots, and women workers were the ones who wanted to be the part of World War II. The author also interviewed the political aspects, figures, pilots, and journalist, and he discussed their real-life experiences of the World War II. Later, the author added several factors that are considered as the financial gains of the war and he evaluated the benefits of the war at that time. The pilot point of view is also targeted in the book, and the author wrote different perspective views of the journalists. Later the criminal aspects of the war are examined by the author in the best appropriate manner. It includes the bombing attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that results from the most horrifying situations.

In the book, Terkel states that “When you first come in, you’re a hero, but enough sailors come through these ports, and social disease, alcoholism, rape, mayhem, and they’re not popular anymore. I learned a lot on that merchant ship” (A Sunday Morning, pg. 37). It shows experience of a person who considers different aspects of war including the social diseases, alcohol addiction, rape, and the myth factors. In another part of the book, Terkel states that “About five hundred people died that night. Allied bombers killed allied prisoners. Just one of those goof-ups that happened so often in war” (A Chance Encounter, pg. 52). The author is trying to picture a night of war that swallowed more than five hundred people. The allied prisoners were killed, and their murderers were allied bombers. Moreover, the author states, “How could American boys do this? If you’re reduced to savagery by a situation, anything’s possible” (Tales of the Pacific, pg. 62). It shows the different aspects and traits of young American boys.

World War II is considered as the most deadly war in the human history which killed numerous people and wasted a huge amount of capital and resources. Numerous people of the United States had taken part in the journey of war with the purpose to win and end the signs of great depression era from the country. The book explains the real-life experiences of the people who were the part of World War II and explained their real scenarios with the author. The author did not target bias measures but used simple techniques to write the book.


Terkel, S. (1997). “The good war”. New York: New Press.



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