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Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  280 ratings  ·  47 reviews
When Bob Greene went home to central Ohio to be with his dying father, it set off a chain of events that led him to knowing his dad in a way he never had before—thanks to a quiet man who lived just a few miles away, a man who had changed the history of the world.

Greene's father—a soldier with an infantry division in World War II—often spoke of seeing the man around town. A
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 24th 2001 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2000)
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I had more time than I'd like to read this past weekend & read this book. The first 1/3 didn't really pull me in, but after that it did.

The book is a first hand look by Greene at his father's death, with whom he'd never communicated well. His father defined much of his life by his experience in WWII. While unimpressed by most people, Greene's father held the heroes of WWII in very high esteem, especially Paul Tibbets, the man who assembled & led the team that delivered the atomic bombs
This book came up when I requested the new Robert Gates book by the same name from the library. The full title of this intrigued me enough to see what the book was about and I'm so glad that I did. The title really was accurate. This was a story about Bob Greene (the son), his father (also Bob Greene), and the man who won the war (Paul Tibbets).
Bob Greene the elder died soon after his son finally gets to meet and interview Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay and commander of the unit that
Tim Farmer
A wonderful story that not only provides a picture of the pilot of the Enola Gay, but also serves as a vehicle for the author to understand much more about his father after his death. Though the author's father (an infantry major in WWII) and General Paul Tibbets (pilot of the Hiroshima bombing mission) had very different personalities in many ways, they shared similarities that have commonly been attributed to the "greatest generation." It also shed light on the mindset of those tasked with dro ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Missie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
I think that this could have been better. The layout was disjointed and at times it felt like the author was using General Tibbits as a therapist to work out his daddy issues. This book it touted as a story about a son his father and the man who stopped WWII. For me it was a son asking questions to the man who ended WWII that he wanted to ask his dad but never did. He assumed that his dad would have felt the same way about life and society as General Tibbits because they both participated in WWI ...more
Ken Heard
Bob Greene has taken an encounter with Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, and crafted a beautiful book about understanding the life of his father and the post World War II culture. On one level, the book is about Tibbetts and his training for the bomb run, his impressions of the bombing and his life. And that alone would be enough for a great read.

But Bob — as he always does — has given this so many more levels. He writes of his father w
This was a profound book for me. It finally discusses the question I have often thought about: if the atomic bombs had not been dropped on Japan, would I be here? My father was a physician on a Navy ship that was to be sent as part of an "expendable force" to the east coast of Japan to serve as a diversion for the real land invasion that was going to be on the west coast of Japan. Supposedly, they were to be sent in and left, to all perish. Obviously, I am not the only baby-boomer who realizes t ...more
Dan Smith
This is a must read for everyone. A lot of younger people would not understand why this book was so important to the author.. Even though I was born several years after the bombing of Japan to end WWII, I get it.

A discussion and understanding of the times is what this book is all about. I recommend the book... in addition it would be great for you to read The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw.

A thoroughly moving and enjoyable book. This account of Bob Greene's loving memories of his father and his father's involvement in WWII was an effortless read, but not because it was simplistic; it was because it was so well-written. Greene weaves parallel plot lines of his father's life and service in WWII and the man who ended that war, Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, who just happened to live in the same city as Greene.

His father's final days and how Greene's growing friendship with Ti
This personal memoir about a father and son is made more significant by the author's quest to meet and interview/befriend the one man in town that his father always spoke of with respect: the captain of the Enola Gay, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

I am a fan of Bob Greene, and enjoyed his tales of struggling to connect with his WWII-era father. But his relationship with the heroic pilot was more interesting. The man was absolutely comfortable in his own skin, comfortable talking abou
This book was interesting. It provided historical details that I didn't have before now and it was good to hear the perspective of a man that lived a historically important life. However, there were times during the book that I disagreed with the author's take that this one man's perspective was that of every man that lived through the war.
Despite that, I enjoyed it and appreciated the book.

Interesting note: My grandfather--a man of 28 and a father of two (my mother being one) was drafted earl
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
Read this a few years ago. This is what I wrote in my reader's journal:

Bob Greene is a well-known syndicated news columnist for the Chicago Tribune. As his father was slowly dying in 1998, Bob went home to be with his parents, and started to learn about his father in a way he never had before. His dad had served in the US Army before Bob was born. He used to mention seeing a man around town who had "won the war". The man was Paul Tibbets, who flew the Enola Gay in 1945. Bob came to know Brigadi
A simple but well-written book. As Greene is visiting his dying father, he learns that Paul Tibbets lives in the same area of Ohio. Paul Tibbets was the man who led the squadron of planes that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. The books becomes a series of talks with Tibbets intertwined with snippets of Green's father's life, especially with his (the father's) experiences in the Army during the italian campaign. It is a book that respects the sacrifices made during and after the war by the (mostly) ...more
A book that helped me comprehend the necessity of dropping the atom bomb. It helped me see what that generation saw--it would end the war and although it would be a single moment of devastation it would save countless lives from drawn out devastation. If you take into account that the number of causalities for WWII reach upwards to 70 million and the bombings in Japan were around 250,000 I think we can better understand how more years at war would have been even more devastating than the atom bo ...more
Wonderfully written heartfelt book that is a loving tribute to the writer's father's generation. Greene moves seamlessly between memories of his recently deceased father, his father's oral history about his World War II service, and present day meetings with the pilot of Enola Gay. It's insightful and persuasive with regard to the decision to drop the atomic bomb though it offers no detracting arguments. It also poignantly marks the transition in American life through three generations from pre- ...more
Sue Ugenti
I'm not much of a history fan, but found this book moving as it helps me better understand my grandfather, who was in WWII & at Pearl Harbor when it was bomber. Paul's account of this generation and the Duty they performed was educational and heartwarming at times. Bob Jr learned a lot about his own father through the relationship he developed with Mr. Tebbetts. An easy to read book which held my interest from the start. Very interesting to better understand the thought process the crew of t ...more
Leslie Good
A great book that outlines the search of journalist Bob Greene for information about his father's service in World War II. Like many veterans of WWII (and other wars), Greene's father never spoke about his war experiences. After his death, Greene's discovery of his father's medals leads him to search out others who served with him in the Pacific. Coincidentally, Greene was from the same town as Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay.
It was interesting reading to learn about the crew of the Enola Gay and their feelings about the second world war and especially the aftermath of Hiroshima. For Bob Greene, it seemed like it was a personal quest for him to learn the man his father was as a soldier in WW II. His correspondance with Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, gave Greene an insight about the soldiers attitude toward the war.
Sep 08, 2012 Bob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bob by: Jeff Weiland
Although this memoir drags toward the end, Greene's observations about the WW II generation of his father and Paul Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay, are perceptive and thought-provoking. How little their children really knew of their pre-war lives and selves, in particular. Greene's reflections on the lives and deaths of the WW II generation are well worth the read.
Greene's Columbus, Ohio, father and the pilot of the B29 that carried the atomic bomb to Hiroshima, Japan, were casual friends. The acquaintance enabled Green to establish contact; interview the pilot, Paul Tibbets, and also reflect on his own father's WW2 service. An interesting read although the Branson, Mo., reunion chapters toward the end are a bit of a drag.
Ellie Revert
Jan 06, 2010 Ellie Revert rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ellie by: author's reputation
A great gift book. Why can Paul Tibbetts talk so openly to Bob Greene, Jr, when he cannot to his own two sons. Why did Bob Greene's dad find it so hard to discuss the war with his own son? Thank goodness the author, and the pilot of the Enola Gay, found each other. This is an incredible true story.
Great story of a son a father and a war hero from World War II. Only like Bob Greene can write the reader re-visits the decision to bomb Hiroshima on the fateful day in August of "45". Greene lets us relive the moment from the man who was ultimately put in charge of the mission.
This book was about Paul Tibbets who led an 1,800-person team that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It was a fascinating look at the generation of WWII. If you like history, especially WWII, this is a must read. Very well written.
I wasn't crazy about the format of this book but it was interesting to look into the character of the man who dropped the first atom bomb on Japan and to appreciate that single act that ended the war and saved so many lives.
Patrick Nichol
This is a wonderful book. Part memoir, part World War 2 history. This is Green's story about finding a link between Enola Gay commander Paul Tibbetts, Green's father, and the exploits of "the greatest generation."
Cheryl S.
This is really 3.5 stars. Bob Greene set out to write the story of Paul Tibbets, the man who piloted the "Enola Gay" carrying the bomb to Hiroshima, and ended up gaining many insights regarding his own father.
Bill Wiecking
Must read for anyone born in the generation of the 20's or 30's, or knows one. Explains much more than other books about their generation how they saw the war, and their role in it. Excellent read.
A quick read from an author who interviews Paul Tibbets who conveys his feelings and what actually occured when Hiroshima was bombed. Very interesting and a must read for WWII history buffs.
Book is about a man who was a part of The Greatest Generation - and is writen by his son as a tribute to him. Loved the book and the momories it stirred about Dad and Uncle Bob Haines.
Interesting perspective. Bob Greene wrote about Paul Tibbets World War II experiences and his life since the war ended, but also about his father’s military service and death. Quite good.
Suprisingly one of the best books I have ever read. It gives you a fascinating look at the Greatest generation and gives you a stunning realization of how much the world has changed.
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Robert Bernard Greene, Jr., who writes as Bob Greene, is a journalist.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
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