This two-CD audio documentary mixes popular songs (usually excerpts) of the early to mid-'40s inspired by World War II and excerpts of famous speeches and news reports of the time, joined by some slightly ostentatious narration. If you're a music collector, it's not the ideal way to hear World War II topical songs, because most of the music tracks are incomplete (although a few are whole). In addition, virtually all of the music is from the Columbia catalog, which does limit its scope somewhat. If you just want to get a sense of the war and how people lived through it, though -- and that's surely the intended audience of this package -- it is effective at conveying it. Some of the songs are familiar classics, like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by Gene Krupa & His Orchestra with Irene Daye on vocal, Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama," Les Brown's "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio," and the Golden Gate Quartet's "Stalin Wasn't Stallin'." All, whether well known or not, deal with the war with either patriotism, humor, or pathos. There are also snatches of famous speeches by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Douglas MacArthur, as well as news reports from famed broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2