Raven's Reviews > Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen

Once Upon a Town by Bob  Greene
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May 25, 2012

really liked it

Here's what I loved about this book: the story of the town of North Platte and all those fantastic people that dreamed up and worked the Canteen that brought joy and a moment of good cheer to millions of soldiers during WWII. Anyone writing about this story has a good chance at producing an interesting and captivating read, simply because the facts are so amazing. I have fallen in love with that Canteen and all those that supported it and made it a reality. A wonderful glimpse into the potential we all have to serve and love. As far as Greene's writing, I wasn't blown away. As a folklorist, I have quite a bit of experience with this kind of writing that uses personal interviews as the backbone for a discussion of culture and experience. I thought a lot of his transitions were contrived and followed a cookie cutter pattern throughout. I also thought many of his attempts to connect what he was seeing in modern-day North Platte (football practices, a museum display about hospital practices, etc.) with the story of the Canteen were not successful. He seemed to be stretching to make connections when, in my mind, this story is so wonderful, it shouldn't have been that hard. So, loved the story, totally inspired, but I think it could have been written better. He definitely gives it a lot of heart, just lacks in some areas of style.
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Jody Ditto. Contrived. Tried to hard to make some connection which ultimately failed. But yes, loved the story and the spirit of volunteerism from that era.


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