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1. Getting to know Brian Muir

From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. This week, we are excited to bring you an interview with Brian Muir, an Online Marketing Assistant on our Direct Marketing team in New York. Brian has been working at the Oxford University Press since March 2014.

The post Getting to know Brian Muir appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Darwin’s “gastric flatus”

When Charles Darwin died at age 73 on this day 133 years ago, his physicians decided that he had succumbed to “degeneration of the heart and greater vessels,” a disorder we now call “generalized arteriosclerosis.” Few would argue with this diagnosis, given Darwin’s failing memory, and his recurrent episodes of “swimming of the head,” “pain in the heart”, and “irregular pulse” during the decade or so before he died.

The post Darwin’s “gastric flatus” appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. The long history of World War II

World War Two was the most devastating conflict in recorded human history. It was both global in extent and total in character. It has understandably left a long and dark shadow across the decades. Yet it is three generations since hostilities formally ended in 1945 and the conflict is now a lived memory for only a few. And this growing distance in time has allowed historians to think differently about how to describe it, how to explain its course, and what subjects to focus on when considering the wartime experience.

The post The long history of World War II appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Window

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5. Publishing the Oxford Medical Handbooks: an interview with Elizabeth Reeve

Many medical students are familiar with the "cheese and onion," but not the person responsible for the series. We caught up with Oxford Medical Handbooks' Senior Commissioning Editor, Liz Reeve, to find out about her role in producing Oxford's market leading series.

The post Publishing the Oxford Medical Handbooks: an interview with Elizabeth Reeve appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Living with multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is widely thought to be a disease of immune dysfunction, whereby the immune system becomes activated to attack components of the nerves in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. New information about environmental factors and lifestyle are giving persons with MS and their health care providers new tools...

The post Living with multiple sclerosis appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Vermeer-related lecture in Boston


Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing
Laura Snyder
1 Session: Wednesday, April 8, 7:00–8:30pm
location: The Arnold Arboretum of Havard Univerity, 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130, Hunnewell Building

Fee $5 member, $10 nonmember Students: Email to register for free.

from the The Arnold Arboretum of Havard Univerity website:
“See for yourself!” was the clarion call of the 1600s. Scientists peered at nature through microscopes and telescopes, making the discoveries in astronomy, physics, chemistry, and anatomy that ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses, mirrors, and camera obscuras, creating extraordinarily detailed paintings of flowers and insects, and scenes filled with realistic effects of light, shadow, and color. By extending the reach of sight the new optical instruments prompted the realization that there is more than meets the eye. But they also raised questions about how we see and what it means to see. In answering these questions, scientists and artists in Delft changed how we perceive the world. Author of The Philosophical Breakfast Club, a Scientific American Notable Book, Laura Snyder returns to the Arboretum to share her latest book, Eye of the Beholder, in which she pairs painter with natural philosopher to explain the revelatory ways of seeing in the 17th century.

Fee $5 member, $10 nonmember Students: Email to register for free.

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8. Five lessons from ancient Athens

There's a lot we can learn from ancient Athens. The Greek city-state, best recognized as the first democracy in the world, is thought to have laid the foundation for modern political and philosophical theory, providing a model of government that has endured albeit in revised form. Needless to say, the uniqueness of its political institutions shaped many of its economic principles and practices, many of which are still recognizable in current systems of government.

The post Five lessons from ancient Athens appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Nostalgia and the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards

The country music tradition in the United States might be characterized as a nostalgic one. To varying degrees since the emergence of recorded country music in the early 1920s, country songs and songwriters have expressed longing for the seemingly simpler times of their childhoods—or even their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods. In many ways, one might read country music’s occasional obsession with all things past and gone as an extension of the nineteenth-century plantation song, popularized by Pittsburgh native Stephen Collins Foster, whose “Old Folks at Home” (1851) and “My Old Kentucky Home” (1853) depicted freed slaves longing for the simpler times of their plantation youths.

The post Nostalgia and the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Can marijuana prevent memory decline?

Can smoking marijuana prevent the memory loss associated with normal aging or Alzheimer’s disease? This is a question that I have been investigating for the past ten years. The concept of medical marijuana is not a new one. A Chinese pharmacy book, written about 2737 BCE, was probably the first to mention its use as a medicine for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria, constipation, and (ironically) absent-mindedness.

The post Can marijuana prevent memory decline? appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Putting it all together

Other than a few favorite story times that I repeat yearly, I always like to try something new. Similarly, I’m always interested in learning something new.  In February, I put it all together – mixing things that interest me with several of the library’s most wonderful assests –  technology, diversity, creative space, and kids.

I offer you the ingreadients for “Read, Reflect, Relay: a 4-week club”


  • 1 part knowledge from ALSC’s online class, “Tech Savvy Booktalker”ALSC Online Education
  • 1 part inspiration from ALSC’s online class, “Series Programming for theElementary School Age”
  • 1 new friendship spawned by networking and a love of nonfiction books
  • a desire to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign
  • computers
  • books
  • school-aged kids#WeNeedDiverseBooks
  • space and time to create

Each club participant read a Schneider Family Book Award winner of her choice.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, I’ve linked to its page. Winning books embody the “disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

I asked each of the participants to distill the message of her book into a sentence or two – something that would make a good commercial.  Then I gave them a choice of using Animoto, Stupeflix, or VoiceThread to create a book trailer or podcast.  All three platforms were kind enough to offer me an “educator account” for use at the library.  Other than strict guidelines on copyright law and a “no-spoilers” rule, each girl was free to interpret and relay the message of her book as she pleased.

Coincidentally, after I had planned the club, I was chatting online with Alyson BeecherWe were both Round 2 judges for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction CYBILS Awards.  I had no idea that she is also the Chair of the Schneider Family Book Award Committee!  When I told her about my club, she immediately offered to Skype or Hangout with the club members.  We hastily worked out a schedule, and Alyson’s visit on the last day of the club was one of its highlights!

The girls ranged in age from 10 to teen.  I think you will be impressed with their creativity.

WordPress does not allow me to embed the actual videos and podcasts, but you can access them via the links below – or visit them on Alyson’s site where she was able to embed them.  Enjoy! :)

·        Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2012 winner, Middle School)  https://animoto.com/play/kUdNM1sa4fWKfZOXId63AQ

·      After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2011 winner, Middle School)   https://voicethread.com/new/myvoice/#thread/6523783/33845486/35376059

·    Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen)  https://animoto.com/play/qFPwi1vYP1ha2FF0vVUuFg

·      Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen) (another one)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/9GKeiQfgsj9Q/?autoplay=1

·      A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean (2013 winner, Middle School)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/DQ4tJG8mnsYX/?autoplay=1

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to see my video booktalk (or adapt) my video advertisement for the program, just leave a message in the comments.  I’ll be happy to respond.

 *All logos used with permission and linked back to their respective sites.

The post Putting it all together appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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12. Your Favorite Cartoon Characters Just Got Fat (Gallery)

The obesity epidemic takes its toll on cartoon characters in a new book and exhibition.

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13. The Oxford Etymologist gets down to brass tacks and tries to hit the nail on the head

I have always been interested in linguistic heavy metal. In the literature on English phrases, two “metal idioms” have attracted special attention: dead as a doornail and to get (come) down to brass tacks. The latter phrase has fared especially well; in recent years, several unexpected early examples of it have been unearthed.

The post The Oxford Etymologist gets down to brass tacks and tries to hit the nail on the head appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Greece vs. the Eurozone

The new Greek government that took office in January 2015 made a commitment during the election campaign that Greece would stay in the Eurozone. At the same time, it also declared that Greece’s relations with its European partners would be put on a new footing. This did not materialize. The Greek government accepted the continuation of the existing agreement with its lenders, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank. This was the only way of ensuring Greece would not run out of funding.

The post Greece vs. the Eurozone appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Capital flight from Africa and financing for development in the post-2015 era

The more money you make, the more you lose. That is the story of Africa over the past two decades. Indeed, along with the impressive record of economic growth acceleration spurred by booming primary commodity exports, Africa continent has experienced a parallel explosion of capital flight.

The post Capital flight from Africa and financing for development in the post-2015 era appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Now I Can Catch Up

This morning when I sat down to breakfast Bookman asked whether I had heard Eduardo Galeano had died. Yesterday I said, and Günter Grass too. Bookman commented that we have several fat Galeano novels on our bookshelves. I know, I replied, I’ve always meant to read him. Well now you can finally catch up, Bookman quipped.

Indeed I can. I can catch up on Grass too whom I have also meant to read and haven’t managed.

When authors are alive and writing it is hard to keep up with them sometimes. I mean, they are only writing one book at a time but we are reading all sorts of books all the time. And much as I wanted to read Margaret Atwood’s short story collection that came out last autumn, I still haven’t managed it. It’s lovely little hardcover self sits on my reading table, waiting. In the meantime I have heard she is publishing a novel this autumn. It kind of stresses me out a little. Thank the book gods I am not a huge have-to-read-everything fan of Joyce Carol Oates.

I am sad both Grass and Galeano have died and I look forward to the day I finally read their work and, perhaps, catch up on all of it. It is easier when an author you want to read but have not yet read dies. You can be sad but you can’t really be OMG I’m such a huge fan sad. When authors I do love die it is much harder. I am very sad there will be no more books whether or not I have yet read them all. But weird things happen.

Like when Adrienne Rich died in 2012. I had read all of her published books both poetry and nonfiction. She had just published a new collection of poetry about a year before her death. I had begun reading it, slowly, savoring, taking a long time about it. And then she died. And I stopped reading the book. It is still sitting on my night table. I haven’t picked it up since. It is her last book and when it’s done, it’s done. Sure, there might be some additional poems and nonfiction writing collected up but it won’t be quite the same. I can’t bring myself to finish the book.

Something similar happened when Octavia Butler died so suddenly. I had just discovered her a few years prior and was happily cruising through her newer books and looking forward to reading everything she has published. Then she died. The only book of hers I have read since then is an older collection of short stories. I can’t bring myself to read all the other books because, you know, when I have read them there won’t be any new ones and so nothing to anticipate. At least right now I still have the anticipation of the ones I have not read.

I know it is silly. But I bet all of us readers have some kind something or other that is silly. So now I can catch up on Galeano and Grass. One day I will finish the final poetry book of Adrienne Rich and the remainder of Butler’s books too. Probably.

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17. My Books

7 books of monica guptaमेरे द्वारा लिखी गई 7 किताबों के आवरण (कवर पेज)

The post My Books appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. Noah's Ark and other recent finds!

I hope you enjoy this quick preview. If you would like to ask a question or need further information about any of the featured books, please click on the 'email me' link in the right-hand column.

Noah's Ark published by Valentine & Sons undated but c1921.  All kinds of well known and not so well known creatures are depicted including a Quadda, Caracal, Puma, Ounce, Phalanger, Ratel, Albatross, Secretary bird, Cavy, Cassowary, Margay, Ichneumon, Mangue, Sasyure and so on.
Strangely, none of the animals are in pairs.

Find it HERE

Cinderella Toy Theatre / Panorama Book illustrated by Eulalie.  Stand the book on a flat surface and clip the covers together to see the story unfold before your eyes. The first act begins as soon as you open the cover...

Find it HERE

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp published by Faber & Faber, London 1981.  The story of Aladdin and his lamp brought to life with amazing full colour illustrations by the brilliant Errol le Cain.

Find it HERE

The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley published by Macmillan Books in 1977. The story begins in the Anglican Church of Saint John, Worthlethorpe where Sampson the cat and Arthur the mouse live a quiet and happy life. Sampson has listened to so many sermons about the meek being blessed that he has grown quite docile and treats Arthur just like his brother. Although enjoying Sampson's company Arthur is a little lonely and with the approval of the parson invites the rest of the town's mice population to move to the church. It's agreed that in exchange for a little cheese, the mice will do a few odd jobs, like polishing the congregation's shoes and picking up the confetti after weddings...

Find it HERE

The Amazing Adventures of Two Boots written by Ross Lyntonwith illustrations by Brenda Sheldon published by Collins in 1948. An imaginative tale of two boots who discover they can walk about by themselves. The boots are in great demand by all sorts of people, from message boys to policemen, but one person is too wily for them. This is the owner of a circus; a cruel man called Boiler Brown, who manages to catch the boots and force them to perform in his show.

Find it HERE

Mr. Happy at the Seaside - A Mr. Men Word Book by Roger Hargreaves produced by Thurman Publishing in 1979.  Our son grew up with the Mr. Men books so this holds lots of happy memories for us.

Find it HERE

Three of the ever popular Little Grey Rabbit Books

Find them HERE

Gobbliwinks of Nonsense Land written by Leslie M Oyler with illustrations by Savile Lumley published by The Shoe Lane Publishing Company undated but c1927. Pamela and Hugh are playing in the garden when they notice a sign pointing to Nonsense Land.  Pamela finds it very funny because nurse is always telling her to stop talking nonsense!  The children follow the sign and it’s not long before they find three more signs pointing the way to Absurd Nonsense, Stuff and Nonsense and Utter Nonsense...

Find it HERE

We've been enjoying lots of lovely spring sunshine over the last few days. The blackbirds are busy feeding their new brood, and the butterflies are basking on the rockery. Spring has definitely arrived in this part of England. I hope you are all enjoying some nice weather whatever the season.

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We’re soon to touch down in one of our absolute favorite literary states for the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin! If there’s anything better than talking books, hanging out with authors and librarians, and enjoying sunshine and Shiners, then we don’t want to know about it.

If you’ll be in the Lone Star State, too, please swing by our booth, #1341, for galleys, giveaways, and face time with the HarperCollins Children’s Books School & Library team. We can’t wait to chat and put books in your hands.

But if you’re reading this thinking, “sure, you guys are nice, but we’re here to meet the AUTHORS, silly!” check out our top-notch signing schedule, here:

11:00am–12:00pm, Joy Preble, Aisle 7, Finding Paris
11:00am–12:00pm, Melissa Marr, Aisle 8, Made For You
12:00–1:00pm, Kiera Cass, Aisle 8, The Selection Series
1:00–2:00pm, Thanhha Lai, Aisle 8, Listen, Slowly
2:00–3:00pm, Dan Gutman, Aisle 8, Genius Files #5: License to Thrill
4:00–5:00pm, Lauren Oliver, Aisle 8, Vanishing Girls

10:00–11:00am, Sherry Thomas, Aisle 3, The Elemental Trilogy
11:30am–12:30pm, Neal & Brendan Shusterman, Aisle 1, Challenger Deep
2:00–3:00pm, Gordon Korman, Aisle 1, Masterminds
2:00–3:00pm, Julie Murphy, Aisle 2, Dumplin’ galleys
3:00–4:00pm, Becky Albertalli, Aisle 1, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

You don’t want to miss our coupon in the aisle by aisle guide, either! It points you to our booth for a free copy of BONE GAP, by Laura Ruby (*while supplies last), and a chance to enter to win a piece of framed original art by Jef Czekaj, from his upcoming picture book, AUSTIN, LOST IN AMERICA.

We can’t wait to see y’all!


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20. Review – Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey

I grabbed this book solely on the back of a tweet from Joss Whedon but it then languished in my TBR pile for months. With the book finally being released in Australia I thought it was time to pick it up and was immediately sucked in. Catherine Lacey’s writing style is electrifying. She skillfully balances […]

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21. Who was the first great Shakespearean actress?

The first female Juliet appears to have been Mary Saunderson, to Henry Harris’s Romeo in 1662 when her future husband, Thomas Betterton, played Mercutio. Later she acted admirably as Ophelia and Lady Macbeth but nothing I have read characterizes her as great. Elizabeth Barry (c.1658–1713) succeeded her as Betterton’s leading lady, excelling in pathetic roles and achieving her greatest successes in the heroic tragedies of her own time.

The post Who was the first great Shakespearean actress? appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. A Blast from the Past: Big Little Books®...

Growing up, I remember having a good chunk of my bookshelf filled with Big Little Books®. Titles like Black Beauty, The Last of the Mohicans, Ivanhoe, Robin Hood and other classics entertained me throughout the late 60s and well into the 70s. They were the coolest books that snuggled nicely into the palm of my hand, and gave me such pleasure as a child. I literally lost myself in those books. Swimming with these nostalgic thoughts and feelings got me wondering how these fascinating and unique books started out. So…I did a little digging.

During the 1930s, as movies, radio, pulps, and comic strips developed, the Big Little Books® appeared on the scene. The product was small, stubby, thick, and inexpensive. The books drew much source material from motion pictures, radio, and comic strips and successfully competed with pulp magazines and comic books until the end of the decade. They served to promote films and radio programs and were produced in such quantities that they could be sold for a dime.

In 1932 the seemingly paradoxical term Big Little Book® was given to certain books published by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. The term promised the buyer a great amount of reading material and pleasure (BIG) within a small and compact (LITTLE) book. These Whitman books set the standards for similar books, and Whitman's copyrighted description has become popularized in a generic way to umbrella similar books.

The first BLB, The Adventures of Dick Tracy, came off the presses just before Christmas in 1932. It
preceded the first true comic book by a year, and the subsequent BLB production spanned more than a half century. Within the span, there are historical patterns which clearly define three major periods of publication.

The Golden Age (1932 to mid-1938) is a description reserved for the most interesting, influential, and memorable production of the books. These were the true Big Little Books®. During this period, the effects of the depression were still being felt, and numerous publishers besides Whitman produced inexpensive BLB-type reading materials of great variety. In mid-1938 the two major companies, Whitman and Saalfield, made major changes in their trademarks (Whitman's Big Little Books® became Better Little Books® and Saalfield's Little Big Books® became Jumbo Books®).

The Silver Age (mid-1938 to 1949) produced a less innovative set of books. Their production was influenced by the growing comic book market and paper shortages during WWII. The number of competitive companies diminished. Only Whitman maintained a continuous output of books through the war years. It used the "flip-it" feature extensively to attract buyers, and as these years went by, the books gradually contained fewer and fewer pages. In 1949, the last Better Little Book®, Little Orphan Annie and the Ancient Treasure of Am (288 pages) was published.

The Modern Age (1950 to the present) is characterized by more than 40 years of sporadic and short-
lived attempts to revive the books in different forms and with different content: New Better Little Books® (1949-50); BLB TV Series® (1958); the hard cover 2000-Series (1967-68); the soft cover 5700-Series (1973-present). During this period, Whitman became subsumed under the auspices of the Western Publishing Company.

So if you’re wandering through a garage sale or flea market and happen to spot a Big Little Book® in a pile of dog-earred novels, do yourself a favor and buy it. It just may be the start of a beautiful relationship between a child you know, and the written word.

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23. Reflections on the Reith Lectures: the future of medicine

The Reith lectures were inaugurated in 1948 by the BBC to celebrate and commemorate Lord Reith’s major contribution to British broadcasting. Many distinguished names are to be found in the alumni of lecturers, whose origins are not confined to this sceptred isle in which the concept of these educational thought provoking radio talks were conceived.

The post Reflections on the Reith Lectures: the future of medicine appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Signs, strategies, and brand value

The semiotic paradigm in market research gives new meaning to the expression, "You are what you eat." The semiotic value of goods, from foodstuffs to cars, transcends their functional attributes, such as nutrition or transportation, and delivers intangible benefits to consumers in the form of brand symbols, icons, and stories. For instance, Coke offers happiness, Apple delivers "cool," and BMW strokes your ego.

The post Signs, strategies, and brand value appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. When Books Went to War

book coverWhen Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning turned out to be bit thinner and lighter than I expected but was enjoyable nonetheless. The focus of the book is World War II and efforts undertaken to provide American troops with a constant flow of books. The effort was for two reasons, first and foremost, it was to counteract the war of ideas Hitler had unleashed with his book, Mein Kampf and the demoralizing radio broadcasts that he used to bombard the airwaves to make people think that he was right in his philosophy and there was no way to stop him or his army. The second and just as important reason for books was to provide the troops with something to do during all their hours of downtime and help them keep up morale.

The move to provide the troops with books began before the United States actually entered the war. A draft was instituted and suddenly thousands of men had to go off to training camps, some of which had not even been built yet. Librarians across the country began coordinating and holding book donation drives to provide all of the soldiers in training reading material. It was a huge success.

Once the U.S. entered the war, however, the librarians were told their books were not wanted any longer. Part of it was that all of the books at that time were large hardcovers and hardcover books were not troop friendly. When you have to march all day and your pack is already heavy, do you want to add a hardcover book to it? No. So the War Department and publishers got together and created a group called the Council on Books in Wartime. While there were a few publishers that had been experimenting with paperback books before the war, it was the creation of American Service Editions (ASEs) that brought paperback books to the masses.

Paper was being rationed and books had to be able to fit into a soldier’s pocket. The ASEs were designed to be light and small and readable anywhere. They were such a success the number of books printed each month had to be increased several times in order to keep up with the demand. The books were printed in a series beginning with series “A” which had thirty titles. Each book had a thumbnail picture of the original cover and its letter and number in the series. Oftentimes the most popular books would be called solely by their series letter-number combo. One of the most in demand titles was D-117, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

A set of books would be sent to a unit and passed around. Reading ASEs became such the rage that if you didn’t read them there was something wrong with you. And their portability made sure they got read everywhere from training camp to hospital, from foxhole to the beaches of Normandy where the men who made it to the cliffs but were wounded and could not continue sat, hunkered down, reading while waiting for medical help to reach them.

As important as the program was it was not without its problems and controversies. Some of the books were considered to be lewd or inappropriate and attempts were made by groups in the US to ban certain titles. There was also a bill passes in congress that threatened the entire program’s existence. The bill placed restrictions on the kinds of subject matter allowed in combat zones. Nothing that the government deemed political argument or political propaganda of any kind would be allowed. Violators would be fined and prosecuted. The bill was so vague the Council chose to interpret it in its broadest sense. This meant a very popular biography of Woodrow Wilson was not allowable along with a slew of other books. There was such an angry outpouring of letters from troops and from their families at home that the government very quickly amended the bill and set everything aright.

By the end of the war there were 1,200 different ASE titles and over 120 million books printed. The Council as well as authors received so many grateful letters from the frontlines and innumerable comments about how the ASEs had turned people into readers who had never been interested in books before.

When the GI Bill was passed providing those who had served a free college education, a great many men who went to university were inspired to do so because of the books they had read. In addition, all those new readers returning home wanted to continue reading. As a result the publishing industry boomed and the market for paperback books took off not only among the returning troops but within the general population as well.

I loved reading about this aspect of WWII, what book lover wouldn’t? The book itself is rather slim for a history, only 194 pages. And it doesn’t go into in-depth details or studies of people and places. There is also a bit of a repetitive feel to it, how many letters from servicemen about how great the ASEs are can be quoted before they all kind of meld together? When Books Went to War is still a good read. And Manning provides a complete list of all the ASE titles and their numbers in an appendix at the back of the book so prepare to add some titles to your TBR lists and piles.

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