Reporter Chris Brookes had always thought the story was a joke: During World War II, a black sailor from the U.S. washed up nearly dead onshore in Newfoundland, and the white nurses—never having seen a black man—thought he was covered in oil and tried to scrub him clean. But when Brookes finally tracked the sailor down, decades later, it turned the whole thing was true.
A story of wartime, of altruism and self-interest, of believing one's own publicity, and of a 50-year campaign for hearts and minds that was better known as the Bob Hope USO tour. Reporter Margy Rochlin saw one of the tours with her own eyes, in Tahiti in the 1980s, and has audio tapes to prove it.
We hear the story of the Persian Gulf war, as told by Issam Shukri, a family man from Bagdad who was drafted into Saddam's army against his will. He had to explain to his three-year-old son why those usually civilized Americans were bombing their city night after night.
One way to understand what war will be like is to understand what past wars were like. Andrew Carroll recently started something called the Legacy Project, which collects letters Americans wrote home during wartime, from the Civil War up through the conflicts in the Persian Gulf and Bosnia.
An excerpt from a story that writer Lee Sandlin wrote for the Chicago Reader about what it is that makes wartime different and about the particular psychology of being at war. It was a massive historical article, exhaustively researched.
Scott Carrier drove 2,000 miles across the country from his home in Salt Lake City to Chicago, talking with people about the coming war. If it's part of the American character to be profoundly skeptical, and another part to be boldly patriotic...Scott found both tendencies...often in the same person.
They can't pronounce the names, can't read the maps, don't know the history, and are on an idealistic quest for justice that so far has not flowered. Kitty Felde, on Americans at the War Crimes Trial for the former Yugoslavia.Interview with Michael Ignatieff about war crimes trials and truth commissions.
The story of the worst stateside disaster during World War II, at Port Chicago, an ammunition dump for the navy just north of San Francisco. Black workers were assigned to load ammo onto ships under such unsafe conditions that on July 17, 1944, two ships blew up, killing 320 men.