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War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation

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America s World War II is most often told through the stories of its great battles, when an entire generation of our young men was suddenly thrust across the oceans to represent the New World in deadly combat against the great powers of the Old. On sea, in the air, and on land our boys fought against totalitarian powers that threatened to overturn the American ideal of liberty for every individual, even civilization itself.But while often forgotten, America s women were there too. On the homefront they were more than willing to share in the hardships of wartime, and in countless cases they fairly lived and breathed with support for our troops overseas. Whether working in factories or taking care of families, rationing or volunteering, their unflagging support contributed more to our victories than has ever been told.Young people have been falling in love since time began, but romance during a global conflagration brought a unique set of challenges. The uncertainty of the time led to an abundance of couples marrying quickly, after brief courtships. Others grew closer through intermittent correspondence, where the soldier was invariably censored by officers, yet true longing from either side invariably came through. It was the worst time at all to try to have a relationship; yet amazingly, thousands of couples created lifelong bonds.From blind dates to whirlwind romances to long separations, War Bonds highlights stories of couples who met or married during or shortly after WWII. Underscoring these tales are the principles of maintaining lasting love in the face of tumultuous times, as well as the daily challenges of building a life together. When the soldiers finally came home and many of them did not the next job of building a family began. Suddenly it was the females who were the true front-line.Each of the 30 stories in this book begins with a World War II-era song title and concludes with a look at wartime couples in their twilight, as well as when they were so hopeful and young, and determined to save the world. Illustrated with photos from the 1940's as well as current photographs of each couple, War Bonds offers readers a glimpse of bygone days, as well as a poignant glimpse of our own.During history s greatest war it was no time to start a relationship. But many among our young men and women did so regardless, and in this book we see how amazingly the war bonds of that World War II generation so frequently endured."

216 pages, Hardcover

First published February 10, 2015

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About the author

Cindy Hval

1 book26 followers
Cindy Hval is a columnist and correspondent for The Spokesman Review newspaper in Spokane, Washington. Her “Front Porch” column offers humorous, often poignant commentary about life, love and raising sons– not necessarily in that order.

Her first book, "War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation" was published by Casemate in 2015. She's currently working on her second book "Tiaras & Testosterone: TNT."

You can also read her work in numerous anthologies including 10 volumes of the Chicken Soup For the Soul series.

Cindy is the mother of four sons ages 28 to 18 and is owned by two cats, also boys. She and her husband, Derek, recently celebrated their 32nd anniversary.

Her idea of heaven is a room full of books and all the time in the world to read them.

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5 stars
94 (49%)
4 stars
54 (28%)
3 stars
36 (19%)
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4 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
Profile Image for Jen .
2,557 reviews27 followers
March 5, 2015
A solid 4.5 stars. Half a star off due to the "bitter" in the bittersweetness of the stories. It should come as no surprise, so I'm not going to call it a "spoiler", but not everyone from the 36 couples discussed are still alive today. That fact added a bit of poignancy to the love stories told, but it made me sad, so not a full 5 stars.

I just want to say, to the couples and to all those who have served in the armed forces and at home, thank you. Thank you for your sacrifices so I and all who came after you could be safe and secure in their own home country. God bless you all for your service.

I admit, as I type this, I am tearing up, This book was so sweet and heart-warming. It was full of hope and love and sadness. Some of the stories include what the men went through while fighting, the experiences they had and it wasn't glorious at all. Some of the stories were funny, but some were more tragic.

This book is also sad, because the Greatest Generation is slowly going away and we will never see another generation that was so self-less,, so brave and honest and true again. Even the teenaged boys were men and the teenaged girls were women. They knew with startling clarity who they were, what they wanted and what was needed from them and they answered that call.

It is so important that their stories are passed on to all the generations that follow. Hopefully, some of their courage, wisdom and common sense will penetrate into the minds and hearts of those who have come after, so we can learn and teach those who come after us.

This book is incredibly important in keeping the Greatest Generation alive in our collective consciousness. I recommend it to everyone. Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, however in this instance, I think it is more apt to say that if we don't learn from their past, we have no hope of repeating it.

My most sincere thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.
Profile Image for MKF.
970 reviews
January 27, 2017
These are the real love stories that prove true, undying love really does exist. Their stories are inspiring and emotional in a time far different from own where stories like these are very rare. Sadly some of the stories in this book end the way all of our stories eventually end. For some of the couple's in this book they have both died by the time this book was published. Usually within months of each other as if they couldn't bear being apart after so many years together. Others have lost their second half and now carry that love in their heart and memory. Then there are the couple's that are still together and very much in love until one day soon they will face their own loss. Their stories will be around for a long time telling future readers love is real and to never give up on it.
Profile Image for Nicole.
2 reviews
February 22, 2017
Great book loved all the love stories its one I'll definatly re-read
Profile Image for Deanna Davis.
1 review4 followers
December 30, 2014
Universal truths, unique challenges, and uplifting tales. What a joy to read...and one you'll feel compelled to share with others. Equal parts heart-warming and life- affirming, War Bonds has it all.

I love the storytelling and the details shared about each couple's experience. These were not easy times, nor easy situations. Each couple had their own personal journey to share, and I loved the opportunity to be an insider to that journey.

Hval has a great knack for sharing "the real" in the story. The real journey, the real experience, the real emotions, the real people behind each tale. A relaxed writing style and a clear heart for sharing the truth makes Hval's writing a pleasure to read and her stories both heart-warming and thought-provoking.

I loved this book.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
3,122 reviews29 followers
June 11, 2015
First sentence: Boy Scouts stood at solemn attention.

Favorite quote/Love Lesson: The best thing we ever did was move away from our parents.

Each chapter in this book tells the story of a couple who met and married in the 1940s and the husbands who went off to war. From blind dates to whirlwind romances to long separations this book has it all. I loved the pictures of when the couples were young and at the end of each chapter was a picture of how they look now. The author is coming to my library later this month and I so look forward to meeting her.
Profile Image for Corinne.
1,053 reviews2 followers
July 20, 2016
An adorable collection of the stories of WW2 couples: how they met, what being married during the war was like, and how they stayed together. I loved the photographs, and the stories were interesting, but most couples wanted to focus on when they met and married and only provided basic details about the toll separation had on them, how difficult rationing was and raising children. The desire to not dwell on the war is understandable, but I was hoping for more details and more depth.
Profile Image for Tabby Shiflett.
788 reviews11 followers
September 2, 2015
A solid 4-4.5 star rating for a collection of true historical romances (around WWII). There's plenty of pictures (then and more recent) and a piece of marital advice from each couple. I would have liked to see more diverse couples, but, overall a feel-good read that is well-organized. Some very interesting historical tidbits too. I think the author's next work should be about what happened to the little Italian girl.

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Profile Image for Mel.
512 reviews
March 14, 2019
Each chapter of this book is based on a couple; how they met, how they became engaged, married, experience in WWII, and how they've made their marriages last 60-70 years.
With each couple photos are shown in black and white, and a song that means something to them. I started listening to the songs while reading about the couple.
pg.203 The weight of the explosives made an already tricky landing more difficult, and as they made their approach, Robbie knew they were in trouble. "Without warning the plane lurched and trembled. Like a goose hit in the wing by a volley of shot, we plummeted into the Pacific with terrifying finality."
The plane smashed into the water, shattering on impact. Cascades of water tossed him about like limp seaweed.....
Some gruesome details are shared, but not many. Obviously some of the men had PTSD, something that wasn't really known about or properly dealt with back then.
pg. 207 Tom says, "That's where I kissed her for the first time. The wind came up and blew my hat off. Down it went, into the sand pit. She's a powerful kisser to blow my hat right off!"

In the Afterward, the author tries to define what is so special about these couples. She says she found several qualities the couples shared: friendship, respect and commitment.

The couples definitely had a mettle that couples today do not seem to have. We currently, sadly, live in a throw away society and that seems to go for relationships as well; not just marriages, but long lasting friendships. Something that also stuck out to me in this book, was the strong familial relationships, which I think also reflected in the strong marriages. Also, the women didn't freely give themselves away, if you know what I mean.

I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Abigail.
146 reviews
April 10, 2017
"If you marry, you marry for life...Divorce is not an option." It was amazing to read about these couples working through difficult situations to make their marriage possible. Some even came from different political or religious beliefs and still continued to spend seven decades together. The reoccurring theme I saw in the love lessons was listening to, loving, and excepting your spouse for who they are. Some other cute ones were to have a good attitude and laugh a lot!
Profile Image for Candy.
359 reviews10 followers
January 1, 2020
I started reading War Bonds a few weeks ago, and began to read just one story each night as a way to end the day on a happy note.  Cindy Hval wrote a series about the Pearl Harbor Survivors Associations for the Spokane Spokesman Review.  What people couldn’t get enough of were the stories that featured couples married 6 or 7 decades, so she compiled 30 of these stories into a book.  These are couples who met or married during or shortly after WWII, building a life together and keeping love alive in their marriages.  Each story is only a few pages (with wonderful then and now pictures), but each speaks volumes.  These are people who lived through uncertain times, but knew what they wanted, what they needed and pursued it.  They were brave and courageous in tumultuous times, and faced adversity matter of factly.  Most importantly, they did all this together.  This was indeed the Greatest Generation, and maybe they still have something to teach us. The advice seems so simplistic, maybe we really do overthink things sometimes. Some advice:

When you get married, you stay married.
Be considerate and respectful of each other, but don’t forget to have some joy and laugh a little.
Why squabble with the love of your life?
You decide you want to be together and cooperate with each other.  Don’t expect it to be perfect.  Love is a decision.
Just keep getting along.  It’s okay to have differences of opinion, you don’t always have to agree.
The secret to a good marriage is acceptance.  I accept her how she is, not what I’d like her to be.
She’s the other half of me.

As the author points out, the stories are filled with romantic love, but they weren’t perfect marriages.  No marriage is.  As with all marriages, there were religious differences, heartache, hardship, bickering, loss, money troubles and health issues.  But the common qualities shared by all the couples seems to be respect, commitment and optimism. Simple, really.

Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 3 books23 followers
May 21, 2015
Wartime brings out some of our strongest emotions, but arguably one of the most powerful is love. With the very real possibility of death hovering over them, men and women of the 1940s often rushed to get married before the soldier shipped off to war, or made a commitment to marry once the war was over. They often wrote ardent letters to each other full of dreams of the future. Those letters became the glue that kept them together when the fighting, the waiting, and the separation became too much.

War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation by Cindy Hval brings many of those stories to life. A journalist, Hval gathered 36 stories from men and women across America and compiled them into this wonderful volume.

Each story features wartime photos of the couples, as well as photos of their lives together 70 years later. This is perhaps the most poignant feature of the book, to see how their marriages have lasted for more than half a century. They will be the first to admit that it certainly hasn't been a bed of roses, but has taken commitment, strength, courage, and devotion to stay together through thick and thin.

There's Jerry and Nancy Gleesing who married and were expecting their first child before he was sent overseas, shot down over Hungary, and taken prisoner by the Germans; Gene and Evie Fields who waited to marry until Gene came home, carrying a Purple Heart he earned from wounds received in Italy; and Dean and Betty Ratzman who met as college students on a blind date in 1943 and married in February of 1946. These are just a small sampling.

Included with each story is a snippet of relationship advice from the couple, and it is here that you can catch a glimpse into the truth behind their marriage's longevity.

War Bonds is truly a heartwarming read, one that will renew your faith in commitment and marriage itself.
Profile Image for Terry.
Author 5 books50 followers
January 19, 2015
I have a confession to make. I'm not a history buff. When browsing book covers (no, you can't judge a book by it's cover, but you can't deny that everyone does it anyway), I will avoid books with vintage photos and titles intimating the past. I had a feeling, though, that War Bonds would be different, due mostly because it is a book simply chock full of love stories.

I'm a sucker for a good love story.

The love stories aren't your ordinary boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again Hollywood popcorn stuffers either. No, they are the tales told by those who have lived through the worst, have managed to survive, together, through love's strongest test--the test of time.

I wouldn't say these stories are recipes for success, but I would say that there are some extremely valuable lessons regardless. Most often the lesson of "how do you stay together despite everything" is simply that you do, that you are fond enough of each other that you just keep moving forward. I get that the simple lessons of folks who have been there are hard to take into our everyday struggles, but they are no less important to hear.

The thirty love stories that fill the pages of War Bonds add up to something almost indescribable, and I'm happy to experienced each and everyone one of them. I congratulate Cindy Hval on recognizing their importance, and hope she'll continue the good work of documenting these important stories that shine light on what the words "happily ever after" really mean.
Profile Image for Edie.
676 reviews14 followers
August 30, 2016
War Bonds is not a five star book. It just isn't. I know that objectively. But I am throwing all the available stars at it anyway because it made me feel everything and think thoughts and ask questions and look for answers and cry happy tears.

First, thank you to my sister, Ellen, for sending me the book. Second, this isn't a novel. It is a series of chapters, each just a few pages long. Each chapter covers a different WW2 couple. Simple as that. Who they were, how they met, when they got married, how they were impacted by the war, their life together after, and any advice they want to share on life and marriage. There isn't enough time in the few pages each couple gets to really get to know them, the reader does a lot of reading between the lines about triumphs and tragedies. Nevertheless my heart swelled and broke and was healed.

The stories can start to run together easily - I only read 2 or 3 chapters at a time. That gave me time to savor each one and stretched out the experience for months. This is a great resource when you need inspiration. It isn't particularly well-written and the format is awkward and I cherished every moment reading it.

P.S. The photos! How did I forget to mention the photos? Lots of photos throughout the book. Photos of soldiers and sailors looking impossibly young. Photos of lovely young women full of optimism and life. Wedding photos. And endearing photos of couples who spent 60-70 years growing old together, still in love. The photos are definitely 5 glittering stars.
Profile Image for Becky.
5,203 reviews102 followers
April 26, 2015
I enjoyed reading Cindy Hval's War Bonds. The book is a collection of love stories. Each chapter features a new couple. Each chapter is short in length, but, not lacking in heart. What the chapters all have in common, of course, is that all the husbands fought in World War II. Another commonality is that all the marriages lasted. Each story is worth sharing; each voice deserves to be heard.

I enjoyed meeting all the men and women in this book. I enjoyed their stories: stories about how they met, when and where they met, how they fell in love, their courtships--in some cases years, in other cases mere weeks, their proposals, their weddings, their marriages. The book shares their challenges and struggles: before, during, and after the war. I really enjoyed the photographs as well!

I would definitely recommend War Bonds. I love reading about World War II both fiction and nonfiction. I love reading love stories. This book was just right for me.
Profile Image for Rocky Curtiss.
147 reviews
July 12, 2015
I actually enjoyed this book immensely, higher than I rated it for others. Perhaps I'm too presumptuous about another's reading taste, I just don't want to mislead. War Bonds is a collection of sweet stories about real people who survived the Depression and World War II, and found indelible romance at the same time. The featured couples averaged well over 60 years of marriage, and the examples they displayed, the lessons they lived define the Greatest Generation at its zenith. The author, Cindy Hval, doesn't overwhelm with details or heroics, but effectively reveals ordinary people who survived, who conquered, during extraordinary times. Whether I rate it four stars or five, it is worthy of your time to read, as well as a treasure to be passed on to younger generations.
Profile Image for Erin Schwab.
45 reviews
April 12, 2015
Tender love stories surrounded by the hard times of world war. Story after story captured my imagination. I couldn't put the book down. Committed faithful love stands in stark contrast to the standard of today. Hval draws the reader into the hearts and minds of the young people facing huge upheaval in their lives. Their commitment to this nation and their loved ones inspires. This book is a real and tangible way to honor those who have served our country and keep the memories of those days gone by alive. The photographs are beautiful and a nice touch. You will not be disappointed in this book. I really enjoyed this read.
Profile Image for Erin.
161 reviews
April 14, 2015
War Bonds is a collection of short essays on the lives of World War II-generation couples who often turned courtships of three months or less into six decade marriages. Collected and told by a newspaper columnist, each section reads much as a surface human interest story complete with a love lessons advice from the couples and a representative war time song. The result does lack some depth, presenting a vivid but disappearing greatest generation much quieted by time and hindsight, but the very definition of heartwarming. And kudos to the author for a title in pun.

See this and other reviews at www.booksforherreviews.com
February 4, 2015
Cindy Hval has a gift for telling a story and finding the nuggets that make each one come alive - as I read WAR BONDS, flashes of familiarity would wash over me - as if I just had the chance to really get to know the couple whose story I read. Put in the context of war, and that war, made history come to life - no longer history, but actual life.

Love, love the love lessons - and the photos in between. I spent the majority of the time with tears in my eyes, imagining this or that. It takes a true storyteller to create that kind of connection. Cindy Hval is that kind of storyteller.
5 reviews
March 11, 2015
What an uplifting book! Life for these young couples "in love" was not easy during the years surrounding World War II. Yet they stayed married and after decades of marriage, they still loved being together. The individual stories are well-written,interesting, and inspiring to those of us who have only been married a short 30+ years. I enjoyed reading the "Afterward", where the author discusses what she learned from interviewing these 50 couples who had been married over 60 years.
Profile Image for Jessica.
439 reviews
July 30, 2015
A sweet book about WWII veterans and their spouses - looks similar to Larry Kings Love Stories of World War II. Each chapter is only 4-6 pages telling how each couple met and a bit about their lives. Absolutely inspirational. It could've been edited better, a few grammar and spelling mistakes, "road" instead of "rode" for instance. But completely willing to overlook that because of the content. Quite liked it!
Profile Image for Erica.
28 reviews
September 8, 2015
Very interesting book about real romance, devoid of the drama and glamour one expects of fiction yet still heart warming and beautiful. I often enjoy reading fiction/nonfiction about the "Greatest Generation" because they were survivors and pioneers, they loved, they lost and they rose to the task during times of great tyranny. But this book had something more because each story was personal and these people felt very tangible to me. Made me relive story-telling from my Grandmother.
Profile Image for Claire Hattendorf.
30 reviews2 followers
December 16, 2015
This is an excellent collection of short, true wartime love stories that warm the heart while teaching about the extreme power of love along the way.

The couples in these stories all met and married during WW2, and stayed married, "until death do us part". Marriage is never easy, but in many of these stories, couples endured under extreme duress. The author uses quotes from the biographies written to help us, (the readers), understand the secrets of their success.

A wonderful read, 5 stars.
Profile Image for Donna Maguire.
4,392 reviews105 followers
March 29, 2015
This is a really lovely book and I was delighted to be given an opportunity to read a review copy from the publishers. It details some of the stories of couples that met during World War II. The book is really touching in places and I feel genuinely privileged to have been able to review this. I highly recommend this.
Profile Image for Gerald Hickman.
Author 11 books42 followers
November 2, 2015
I knew one of the veterans who is in the book. I found a special reason for reading the book and learned more about his lovely wife Vi. This is a series of very short stories about a number of veterans and their spouses. The title is very intriguing to me and the concept of the book gave new meaning to my study of WWII.
Profile Image for Maureen Mahowald.
125 reviews
May 17, 2015
This delightful book would be a good wedding or anniversary present for young couples. Included in these stories of long term marriages are nuggets of wisdom about how to stay happy together. The top three: friendship, respect and commitment.
111 reviews7 followers
May 24, 2015
WW II lovestories

I love this era. Their lives might have been hard without much money but the optimism this generation had served as a foundation for our future. No wonder they are called the greatest generation!
453 reviews
September 20, 2015
Loved this book - very similar to the one with Larry King, but I loved this more because it was all couples who were married during WWII and were still married sharing their story - at the end of each section, the couple had a little "love lesson" - or small piece of advice. Great read!
Profile Image for Sandi.
1,646 reviews4 followers
May 15, 2015
A very Sweet book about connections between lovers and spouses during war time
260 reviews
May 27, 2015
I laughed, I cried and I was in awe of the many love stories in this book. They all came together during WWII and even though life was tough they stuck together. Such an inspiration!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews

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