Fashioning an identity and memory of the World War II generation : an analysis of Tom Brokaw's The greatest generation
Smith, Patrick Michael
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In recent years, popular culture has experienced a rebirth of interest in World War II, with many films and books chronicling the war and those who experienced it. Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation and its sequel The Greatest Generation Speaks are two such artifacts of this rebirth. Brokaw’s books memorialize the World War II generation by lifting them up, placing an emphasis on the values they exhibit, and instructing its audience to learn from this older generation in order to better themselves and the world around them. Through this memorialization, Brokaw creates an identity of the World War II generation as "the greatest generation" by selecting which aspects of them to emphasize and which to minimize, giving us examples of individuals who exemplify the World War II generation, and creating a dichotomy between the World War II generation and subsequent generations.