When Books Went to War: the Stories that Helped Us Win the War by Molly Manning is an excellent overview of the Armed Service Editions. She not only tells you what happened but also why it mattered. The public had donated hardback books to the troops but they needed something they could take with them easily–on a ship or airplane, in the barracks, or in foxhole or tank. Manning deals with issues ranging from cost, transportation limitations (books vs beans vs bullets), censorship (if the Nazis were restricting what people could read would the Council on Books in Wartime do the same), and the impact of the books on the soldiers and sailors as written by the readers themselves.
For more information about the book, where you can buy it, and the author, check out Molly Manning’s website. The website includes excerpts, reviews and a museum which includes pictures and captions from Nazi book burning, to advertisements for the Victory
Book Campaign, small sized magazines (of regular magazines like the New Yorker and Saturday Evening Post Yarn), and the Armed Service Editions.
l-picture of a Nazi book burning in Berlin on the Openplatz r-Display at Yad Vashern of books burned by the Nazis
l-Commemorative plaque of the book burning at Frankfort Hesse Germany r-American propaganda poster on why the Freedom to Read is important
After World War II, the military services began their own paperback book programs. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines provide paperback book kits to deployed soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen whether they are in the field, in a combat zone, on a ship, in the brig or correction facility, or assigned to embassy duty. The contents of the book kits have changed over the years.
The Army “Family and MWR Libraries also support deployed Soldiers in remote locations through monthly deliveries of paperback book kits and Playaways, small MP3 players containing an audio book. Kits contain about 25 paperback books or 24 Playaways specially selected to match the interests of Soldiers.”
The Navy “(s)upport for deployed forces includes compact, battery-powered audio books and monthly shipments of popular paperbacks to afloat and shore commands.
The Marine Corps Order 1700.33 was published 18 September 2015, spelling out what the Marine Corp General Library would support including: deployed garrison and remote locations and Marine Corps Embassy Security Group personnel at foreign missions and deployed and remotely stationed Marines and families throughout the world.
The Air Force Libraries “ship magazines, paperback books and DVDs monthly to deployed and remote units world-wide. We also provide support to exercises through the USAFE Library Service Center (LSC) at Ramstein AB, GE. runs small libraries at several downrange locations in conjunction with education services at Learning Resource Centers. Support to military missions, including Defense Attache Offices (DAOs), Offices of Defense Cooperation (ODCs), Military Liaison Teams (MLTs) in CENTAF is also handled by the USAFE LSC.”