November 1, 2004 "Voices of War" to Be Published on Veterans Day
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer, (202) 707-0022; Anneliesa Behrend, (202) 707-9822
Contact: National Geographic Contact: Carol Seitz, (202) 828-6678 | "Voices of War" Web Site
"Voices of War: Stories of Service From the Home Front and the Front Lines" will be published by National Geographic Books in association with the Library of Congress on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
"Voices of War" is the first book to showcase the extraordinary tales of courage, friendship and sacrifice collected by the Veterans History Project, the Library's congressionally mandated initiative to preserve the stories of America's war veterans. It includes an introduction by former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) and an afterword by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), both Vietnam veterans, who, along with others, co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to create the Veterans History Project. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who introduced the legislation in the House, wrote the foreword. To date, the project has amassed nearly 25,000 recorded oral histories and thousands of priceless mementos from veterans and others whose lives were touched by war.
"We owe our wartime veterans profound appreciation for their sacrifice and service to our nation and its future," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "We also owe our citizens an opportunity to honor those men and women who have protected our nation in the gravest of times."
Culled from an assemblage of compelling oral histories, letters, photographs and personal diaries from the Veterans History Project collections, "Voices of War" provides a unique eyewitness record of 20th century America at war. Personal accounts of more than 70 veterans and civilians-from World War I to the Persian Gulf War-are organized into seven thematic chapters that address every aspect of military and civilian life. Through the book, readers meet soldiers and sailors, pilots and M.A.S.H. nurses, officers and enlisted men-each with a story to tell about the mix of excitement and fear, the delight of a letter from home and the sorrow at the death of a friend. Readers also meet the civilians who supported them, like Marion Gurfein, who sent a hand-drawn series of family newspapers titled "The Goofein [sic] Journal" to her husband at the front.
A companion Web site to the book provides the complete stories of the veterans featured in "Voices of War." Visitors to the site at www.loc.gov/voicesofwar can read letters and memoirs and listen to full interviews.
Authorized by legislation passed in 2000, the Veterans History Project calls upon veterans and their families to record their stories and contribute personal documents to a growing archives at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. Founding sponsor AARP and hundreds of other organizations have joined the Library of Congress in this effort.
Those who are interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History Project are encouraged to request a project information kit, available on the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets or by calling the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.
"Voices of War," a 336-page hardcover book with more than 175 black-and-white and color photographs and illustrations, will be available for $30 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library's Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop. The book is also available nationwide in an unabridged audio version, either as six cassettes ($30) or as eight CDs ($35).