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Home Front Baltimore

, 176 pages

129 halftones

August 2011



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Home Front Baltimore

An Album of Stories from World War II

In July 1942, American prisoners of war were performing Julius Caesar on a jury-rigged stage in Burma at about the same time that Tommy Dorsey and his famous orchestra played the Hippodrome Theatre on Eutaw Street. In June 1944, more than 3,000 U.S. Marines died capturing the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean while fans back in Baltimore were cheering the International League Orioles in their successful bid for a championship.

These are just two of the startling juxtapositions that Gilbert Sandler writes about in his account of life on the home front in Baltimore during the Second World War. While poring through the wartime archives of local newspapers, Sandler was struck by the contrast between what was happening over there, in the war, and over here, back home in Baltimore. Some of these contrasts seem ironic; some provide sobering perspective. Together they make up an album of vivid and engaging stories, many told by people who lived through them.

Home Front Baltimore struggles, along with the reader, to make sense of these two worlds, thousands of miles apart, and gives readers a deeper understanding of what the city was really like during the war. Rarely seen photographs from the Baltimore Sun, the News-American, and the Afro-American bring to life the rich, personal anecdotes of wartime Baltimoreans and transport readers back to an indelible era of Baltimore history.

Born and raised in Baltimore, and a service member in the Navy during the war, Gilbert Sandler has been published in the Baltimore Sun, the Jewish Times, and Baltimore Magazine. Former editor of Generations, the journal of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, he is the author of Jewish Baltimore: A Family Album and the award-winning Small Town Baltimore: An Album of Memories, both also published by Johns Hopkins. Sandler hosts the popular "Baltimore Stories" series on WYPR, the local National Public Radio affiliate.

"Gilbert Sandler is our great rememberer."

"Sandler shows how profoundly that conflict [World War II] affected the people of Baltimore. Culling newspaper archives, he finds compelling stories about regular folks pitching in, day in and day out... It seemed everyone was recruited for something, which created an overall sense of responsibility for the war's outcome."

"A charming collection... If there's a Baltimorean who's not fascinated by some aspect of this book... he or she really is a lost cause."

"Home Front Baltimore is a gift that will painlessly ground young people in the history of their city and encourage older folk to reminisce."

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