I have incurred many debts in the process of producing this book. None of the individuals or organizations mentioned here is in any way responsible for the ideas asserted in this work. Any accountability for interpretations or errors is mine alone. However, each of the people cited assisted me in a very significant way.
This book is dedicated to my wife, Lisa, my son, Jeffrey, my parents, Irving and Elaine Friedman, and my in-laws, Ronald and Carolyn Sampsell. Each of them contributed tremendously to this work. My wife, Lisa, provided me with more support, comfort, and encouragement than I had a right to expect. She made life bearable through seven years of graduate study while she worked full-time, completed her own master’s degree, and fulfilled the role of primary caregiver to our son. In every sense of the word ‘‘support,’’ she provided me with an environment conducive to scholarly endeavor. My son, Jeffrey, furnished me with wondrous times of distraction, antics, love, and, most of all, perspective on the important things in life. I hope he will be able, at some point, to read and appreciate this work about his nation’s past, his grandparents’ participation in these events, and his father’s perspective on their time period.
To my parents, Irving and Elaine Friedman, I owe more than I can ever repay. I am firmly convinced that I became an historian, in part at least, because of my parents’ past. I realized in the process of researching, writing, and revising this manuscript that my fascination with American society in the 1940s began with their stories about growing up during the Great Depression and maturing during the Second World War. I inherited their sense of politics and history, their views of labor and work, and their encouragement to pursue an advanced, formal education. More importantly, I learned more about their world by writing this book. Every generation endures traumas of one sort or another, but their