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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and Fascinating
Young Andy Rooney was not always the acerbic commentator that television viewers know best from SIXTY MINUTES. After reading this memoir, MY WAR, written by him, it is easy to see that he grew up in the best traditions of 19th and 20th Century America. As a result of this upbringing, the young Rooney viewed life through a prism of morality and right and wrong...
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by HeyJudy

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, narrow-minded at times
This is an interesting book to read, for the tangential impressions of life in London, and with the Allied invasion of Europe, and even brief stays in India and China, during World War II by former Stars and Stripes reporter Andy Rooney.
The title, "My War," does not indicate possession as another reviewer thought, but indicates that this is a memoir. The book is...
Published on April 2 2002 by Frank


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4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected..., Dec 1 2003
By 
nto62 (Corona, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My War (Paperback)
Andy Rooney has never been more to me than the nagging, faintly humorous, mildly eccentric curmudgeon that caps each 60 Minutes program. I've seen his newspaper column, but never read it. Indeed, had I not seen this book at a closeout bookseller, I wouldn't own it. But, the bargain price and my interest in WWII convinced me to give it a chance. I'm glad I did.
An enlisted reporter for The Stars and Stripes during the war, Rooney flew missions over Germany, accompanied the allies shortly after D-Day, and continued reporting until victory. In the contemporary catalog of WWII books, his vantage point as a reporter is unique, insightful, and conducive to extended durations of page turning pleasure.
As the title announces, this isn't a book about "the" war. It's about "his" war, his experiences, his opinion. And, in a departure from his 60 Minutes routine, he manages to avoid complaints about matters of trifling importance. Perhaps, this is because there is little of trifling importance associated with WWII. Nevertheless, Rooney faithfully relates the awe of having witnessed, first-hand, an epic period in human history.
In the end, I put down the book and realized, after all these years, that I like Andy Rooney. I like his honesty and I like his pragmatism, (even though I doubt this is the effect he was aiming for). I was also thankful that, like author's before him, Rooney introduced the general reader to many Americans who didn't come home.
His was a generation of sacrifice unlike anything those who came after are likely to see. Rooney believes them not special, but people involved in special circumstances. This provides hope that every generation will rise with comparable bravery and commitment whenever liberty is seriously threatened. 4 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Andy Rooney In World War II, Jan. 18 2003
By 
This review is from: My War (Paperback)
Didya ever wonder how the US Army -- that bureaucratic bungle of millions that made recruits do things they wouldn't do in peacetime, retained some officers who were jerks, took four days of paperwork to release men from the service at the end of the war and stupidly assigned a private whose only prior journalistic experience was a few weeks work on his high school yearbook to the post of reporter at "Stars and Stripes" -- didyaever wonder how these guys won the war?
They were fighting other country's armies, that's how.
Ok, enough of my attempt to parody Andy Rooney's style above. The guy who lampoons makers of personal care products for a few minutes ever Sunday night does sometimes lend his "what kind of idiot would do this" attitude toward the US Army, WWII version. In those moments, this book sometimes grates -- the same voice that illuminates follies with instant cereal advertising and electric tooth brushes sounds somewhat tinny applied against what was a great undertaking.
Fortunately for this book, those moments are few enough that an interesting picture of the war as seen through Rooney's eyes is not subsumed with his sarcasm and general crankiness. In fact, he keeps those traits generally in check in what reads like an honest look at his service as a front line reporter during the war in Europe.
Rooney's book "My War" is a collection of anecdotes. Fortunately, his travels over German skies in American B-17's, with advancing armor and infantry in France and Germany and to newly (as in a few hours ago) liberated nazi work and concentration camps makes for fascinating anecdotes.
A sergeant in rank, Rooney was afforded the opportunity to meet with personalities and troops of all ranks as he covered the war for what I am sure was the largest circulation American daily newspaper during the early 1940's. His travel made great anecdotes and good stories.
Rooney is poignant in this book. He has a great reverence for lives lost and is very honest about himself and his changing appreciation for war as a sometimes necessary thing (he entered the war with the words "any peace is better than any war" from a college professor ringing in his ears and came to learn after reflecting upon Nazi warfare that "any peace is not better than any war"). This book is somewhat a chronicle of Rooney's maturation as well as his war stories.
The stories are for the most part entertaining and worth reading. His assignment as a reporter gave him a somewhat Zelig-like ability to be near many major events in the war. The reader benefits from these interesting first person accounts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and Fascinating, Jan. 12 2003
By 
HeyJudy "heyjudy" (East Hampton, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My War (Paperback)
Young Andy Rooney was not always the acerbic commentator that television viewers know best from SIXTY MINUTES. After reading this memoir, MY WAR, written by him, it is easy to see that he grew up in the best traditions of 19th and 20th Century America. As a result of this upbringing, the young Rooney viewed life through a prism of morality and right and wrong.
After he was inducted as a soldier in World War II, he was lucky enough to be assigned, for reasons that make little sense, to the famous Armed Forces newspaper, the STARS & STRIPES. Without a doubt, had he not ended up on the staff of this newspaper, he would not have had his subsequent civilian career as a reporter.
A consequence of this Army assignment, in his role of reporter, Rooney was a witness to some of the most significant actions of this war, including the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
Very aptly titled, this memoir is the story of World War II as observed from Rooney's unexpected bird's eye view. It is a personal history, written in his own inimitable and riveting style. The report he gives readers of "his" war is fascinating and touching.
This book should not be missed by anyone with a serious interest in this most pivotal event of the 20th Century.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Andy Rooney In World War II, Dec 30 2002
By 
This review is from: My War (Paperback)
Didya ever wonder how the US Army -- that bureaucratic bungle of millions that made recruits do things they wouldn't do in peacetime, retained some officers who were jerks, took four days of paperwork to release men from the service at the end of the war and stupidly assigned a private whose only prior journalistic experience was a few weeks work on his high school yearbook to the post of reporter at "Stars and Stripes" -- didyaever wonder how these guys won the war?
They were fighting other country's armies, that's how.
Ok, enough of my attempt to parody Andy Rooney's style above. The guy who lampoons makers of personal care products for a few minutes ever Sunday night does sometimes lend his "what kind of idiot would do this" attitude toward the US Army, WWII version. In those moments, this book sometimes grates -- the same voice that illuminates follies with instant cereal advertising and electric tooth brushes sounds somewhat tinny applied against what was a great undertaking.
Fortunately for this book, those moments are few enough that an interesting picture of the war as seen through Rooney's eyes is not subsumed with his sarcasm and general crankiness. In fact, he keeps those traits generally in check in what reads like an honest look at his service as a front line reporter during the war in Europe.
Rooney's book "My War" is a collection of anecdotes. Fortunately, his travels over German skies in American B-17's, with advancing armor and infantry in France and Germany and to newly (as in a few hours ago) liberated nazi work and concentration camps makes for fascinating anecdotes.
A sergeant in rank, Rooney was afforded the opportunity to meet with personalities and troops of all ranks as he covered the war for what I am sure was the largest circulation American daily newspaper during the early 1940's. His travel made great anecdotes and good stories.
Rooney is poignant in this book. He has a great reverence for lives lost and is very honest about himself and his changing appreciation for war as a sometimes necessary thing (he entered the war with the words "any peace is better than any war" from a college professor ringing in his ears and came to learn after reflecting upon Nazi warfare that "any peace is not better than any war"). This book is somewhat a chronicle of Rooney's maturation as well as his war stories.
The stories are for the most part entertaining and worth reading. His assignment as a reporter gave him a somewhat Zelig-like ability to be near many major events in the war. The reader benefits from these interesting first person accounts.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Personal Account, April 19 2002
By 
John G. Hilliard (Toronto Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My War (Hardcover)
I think the vast majority of the people interested in this book and author are because of his fame from the TV and not as an author. I know this is how I approached this book, I was hopping for the biting humor from his appearances on 60 Minutes but concerned that it would not come through in the written word. What I found when reading the book is that he was representing a different person then the one on TV. He was providing the reader with his experiences during World War 2 in Europe and I found that the writing seemed to come from a much younger and more innocent mind then the current TV personality.
Due to this writing style I found that the book was more enjoyable then I expected. The author gives us some very good stories written in a comfortable way that seems more like holding a conversation with a close friend. This book is not for he person looking for page after page of combat action, just the interesting person story of a war reporter that sees a little bit of everything in the European theater.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, narrow-minded at times, April 2 2002
By 
Frank (Stockton CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My War (Hardcover)
This is an interesting book to read, for the tangential impressions of life in London, and with the Allied invasion of Europe, and even brief stays in India and China, during World War II by former Stars and Stripes reporter Andy Rooney.
The title, "My War," does not indicate possession as another reviewer thought, but indicates that this is a memoir. The book is full of anecdotal, and broader, observations of the war effort and those involved in it.
However, Rooney's opinion seems a bit too self-important at times, considering his own personal judgment of a situation or person as the final and authoritative word on the subject. He tends to paint those he meets and hears about as totally "good" or "bad."
It could be that, in print, Rooney can't convey the wry "just kidding" tone he verbally communicates in his TV commentaries. Rooney's inability to convey tone leaves the reader puzzled after reading such truly bizarre Rooney statements as "Let me assure you the state of the helicopter art, even the best there is, to this day is primitive. The big Sikorsky, for instance, had that small propeller mounted on the tail.... This small mechanical necessity alone leaves helicopters in the class of Mickey Mouse inventions."
You'll find this an interesting, and somewhat quick, read, but not on your "must read" list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This would make a great movie, March 25 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: My War (Hardcover)
This is how W.W.II was for Mr. Andy Rooney. This is HIS personal experiences and HIS thoughts on same.
Stars and Stripes reporters by the very nature of their jobs probably saw more of the war than anyone else. So not only are we treated to a view of the the war from a different perspective other than the soldier's but a view broader in scope and content. He was there when many historical events were unfolding. He met and interviewed many many people, big and small. He went into the concentration camps hours after they were liberated. Buchenwald and Thekla.
"Buchenwald represented the worst of everything in all the Nazi extermination camps. The dead and dying were still everywhere. The camp was unchanged, still the way it had been for all
those terrible months except that there were cameramen there now, documenting the horror of it for all time."
"The burned and blackened bodies of about sixty men were hanging in contorted positions from needle-point barbs of the wire. ...When the SS troops realized U.S. soldiers were going to
arrive in Thekla within hours, they herded 300 prisoners into one of the barracks. They threw pails of gasoline over the barracks and onto some of the prisoners and then tossed
incendiary grenades into the building."
" Walking the same road a day or so after a tank had passed through, I would often come upon the gruesome sight of the whole halves of four or five men, and four or five halves of what
had been men, mashed into the dirt and mud by the grinding tracks of a ten-ton tank." He's talking about our tanks here rolling over our dead.
Mr. Rooney puts W.W.II into more of a human ground level perspective. He shows you details, such as the many animal who suffered. Cows wandering the fields with painful utters
swollen with milk and no one there to milk them..... Horses and mules mowed down in battle. Abandoned pets.
I learned a few things here. I'm happy I read the book. Mr. R is up-front and honest and that's all that counts. He's not afraid to speak his mind like most people, thank god! I love him
(his opinions 99% of the time are mine).
This would make a great movie. I envy his life. Hell, as he scrambled behind a French farmers stone wall to avoid heavy German artillery fire he found himself in the company of Ernest
Hemingway! Just him and Ernie out there. Ernie telling Rooney where the other danger points were ahead of them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Reporter's War, Dec 30 2001
By 
Ron Hunka (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My War (Hardcover)
"My War"
Andy Rooney
ISBN 1-58648-010-3
As well as being a humorist, Andy Rooney is an iconoclast, and independent thinkers are rarely plentiful. When Tom Brokaw characterized Rooney's WWII age group as "The Greatest Generation", Rooney wrote that it was probably no more special than the current generation, which had not found the occasion for identifying the same qualities in itself. Mr. Brokaw, however, has written the foreword of "My War" and speaks there of Andy Rooney's book as a gift to those who did not come home.
This book is the best work I have read by Andy Rooney. I admire Mr. Rooney's self-effacing approach to writing. For example, he characterizes his assignment as a reporter for the "Stars and Stripes" as a "bungled assignment" by the army that put him in the midst of reporters who had written for papers such as "The New York Times" while his own experience was as sub-editor of "The Thirteenth Field Artillery Brigade Bulletin".
One of the WWII-era personalities Rooney criticizes in this book is General George Patton, whom he views as overrated. Rooney slyly claims people who admire Patton are confusing him with George C. Scott. To Rooney's credit, he quotes a letter received, after unfavorable Patton comments on television, from the general's daughter in which she wrote that the general would not have liked him either. Ernest Hemingway and Charles De Gaulle are also singled out as pompous egomaniacs. General Eisenhower, on the other hand, Rooney praises for allowing "The Stars and Stripes" to have the editorial freedom of regular American newspapers.
Those who know Andy Rooney mainly from his "Sixty Minutes" segments, once caricatured on "Saturday Night Live", may be surprised at the extent to which he saw action as a reporter in WWII. For example, he flew on a B17 raid over enemy territory and won the bronze star for battlefield reporting in Germany. At one point, he even managed to capture a German prisoner.
Much of what Rooney writes in this book is not pretty, such as seeing dead soldiers whose bodies had been crushed by tanks, watching the revenge that some of the citizens of Paris took on the German prisoners when the city was liberated, and coming upon the charred bodies of the Thekla concentration camp inmates that the SS had massacred as the Americans approached.
There are some light touches in this book apropos to human goodness as well. In France, Rooney writes "every wandering dog was adopted and fed by some GI".
Rooney's books always mix humor and candid observation. The same is true here. However, Rooney has a more serious purpose in mind this time. The young men that he knew, killed in the war, he writes, did not give their lives, but rather those lives were taken. It would seem that this book is a way of reconciling the deaths of so many friends and fellow soldiers with Rooney's own relatively long and comfortable life. The book is dedicated to some of those close friends.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I heard Andy Rooney's voice in my head while I was reading, Oct. 19 2001
By 
JOHN GODFREY (Milwaukee ,WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My War (Hardcover)
his book. I have been watching him on "60 minutes" for so many years. This is my favorite subject, World War II, & this first person account is better than most. It should be, Rooney's a pro. He was mentored by the best writers of his time working as a reporter for "Stars & Stripe". Talk about on the job training.
He saw the the war on the western front up close & then was able to walk away from it & write about it. He wasn't in real danger on the front. The real challange was when he rode along on a B-17 bombing mission & they came under attack. Quite a life changing experience, I'd imagine. Also the best chapter in the book.
He recalls some of the people he had to deal with. He saves special scorn for General Patton. He mostly has high praise for the men he met, worked with & those who never got old . He was an enlisted man who had the best job in the war. He appreciated that, not being a particularly military type.
The best part about this book is that he writes it now while he still has all his marbles & is a much better writer than he was then. The drawback is he is writing this book with 50 years hindsight. Things might not have been as he now remember them. Still the book is as truthful, I believe as Andy Rooney could make it.
For us boomers who will never exprience such a time or place it is a fine read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Honest View from a Reporter at Stars & Stripes, Sept. 7 2001
By 
J. Liberty "jimlib" (Van Nuys, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My War (Hardcover)
I'm not a big fan of Andy's 60 Minute spots although I do enjoy them. I was drawn to this book because so many other soldiers and writers mentioned that Andy was in the B-17s and on the front lines of Europe all through the war. I thought his impressions would be unique and I was not disappointed. Interstingly, he is quick to point out that he was not at the front lines (even when he was). He makes sure we understand that it was the soldiers doing the fighting and dying. Like most people I imagine, we are so consumed with all of the major battles of WWII that we overlook the newspaper carrying news to the troops. His accounting of how the paper was to be run via Ike's directive, the day to day operations, striving not to be biased or give away too much information, and the unknown leaders who won the war as well as the pompous leaders (look out Patton lovers), all make this a fascinating read. I was particularly interested in the stories they didn't tell - no soldier wants to read about other soldiers dying, etc. This book is all the more interesting because Andy was nearly a conscientious objector - a significant fact when he arrives at the concentration camps. Good stuff told with great wit.
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My War
My War by Andy Rooney (Paperback - Oct. 17 2002)
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