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Their Last Battle: The Fight For The National World War II Memorial

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Their Last Battle: The Fight For The National World War II Memorial.pdf | Language: English
    Nicolaus Mills(Author)

    Book details


On Memorial Day weekend in 2004, the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington will officially open to the public. What began as a casual conversation between a Congresswoman and one of her constituents in 1987 grew into a struggle that lasted more than four times longer than it took America to fight the war itself. Its rocky progress to completion is a compelling story about how America chooses to memorialize its past and how we view World War II.Nicolaus Mills recounts the development of the Washington Mall, from its time as swampland to Southern outrage over the Lincoln Memorial to Maya Lin's controversial Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. The World War II Memorial would prove just as controversial; it took the support of WW II vet Bob Dole and actor Tom Hanks to overrule the strong objections of interest groups, self-appointed art critics, and others.In Their Last Battle , a story vividly narrated through interviews with politicians and vets, architects and citizens, Mills discovers what a public monument can tell us about America and the values it honors.
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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Nicolaus Mills(Author)
  • Basic Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2004)
  • English
  • 7
  • History

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Review Text

  • By Paul Tognetti on July 22, 2004

    In "Their Last Battle: The Fight For the National World War II Memorial" author Nicolaus Mills discusses the seemingly endless struggle to build a National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington D.C. In fact, it took nearly 17 years to get the job done. What was all the fuss about and who could possibly object to building such a memorial to honor the accomplishments of the so-called "Greatest Generation"? In order to fully appreciate the issues involved here one must fully understand the history of the Mall in our Nation's Capitol. Furthermore, one needs to be familiar with the history of monuments in this country. Mills does an admirable job getting the reader up to speed in both of these areas.From there Mills takes us on a 17 year journey that commences at a fish fry just outside Toledo, Ohio in 1987 to the dedication in the Spring of 2004. Mills introduces us to all of the important players in this odyssey from World War II veteran Roger Durbin who first proposed the idea to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) who were both very instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. You'll learn about all of the various governmental agencies who would become involved. Find out about the design competition and meet the eventual winner Friedrich St. Florian, former dean of the Rhode Island School of Design. And finally, you will discover who the opponents were. There were quite a few and at several key junctures it seemed as though the opposition just might carry the day. "Their Last Battle" is exceptionally well written and I would highly recommended it.

  • By W. C HALL on May 28, 2004

    This timely book arrives on the eve of the dedication of the National World War II Memorial, but can be read with interest for some time after. Anyone who absorbs this story will likely come away asking how we as a people manage to create any national memorials at all. The battles over the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, as well as the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, are recent history and perhaps still fresh in many memories. Mills retells these with economy and grace, and also recounts the opposition, delays and clashes over location and design that also faced the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.The opening of the World War II Memorial represents the culmination of an effort that began almost two decades ago. One man, WW II vet Roger Durbin, asked his Congresswoman why there was no national memorial to those who fought and died in that momentous struggle. Winning approval in both houses of Congress took six years, and was only the first hurdle. Next came the far more complex battles to win approval for the site and design. Mills recounts all of this in great detail, from the potentially serious concerns to the more ludicrous (an assertion that construction at the memorial site might cause the nearby Washington Monument to tip over. It didn't). It finally took another act of Congress to lay the challenges to rest and get actual construction under way.While Mills attempts to give voice to all viewpoints about the memorial project, his sensitive examination of its artistic merits that closes the book makes it clear that he sees this as the right memorial, in the right place, and at the right time. We can wish that it might have come along sooner, so that some of the 12 million WW II vets who have left us in the six decades since V-J Day could have seen it. But at least some four million of their brothers in arms are still with us to enjoy this overdue, well-deserved tribute.--William C. Hall

  • By Janine M. Rush on March 15, 2005

    Great background information on the Memorial. I can't wait to share it with my parents when they visit "their" Memorial soon!


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