Once Upon a Town

Version: Unabridged
Author: Bob Greene
Narrator: Fritz Weaver
Genres: History
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published In: June 2002
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte, Nebraska on troop trains, en route to Europe and the Pacific. The tiny town transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen -- a place where soldiers could enjoy coffee, music, home-cooked food, magazines, and friendly conversation during a stopover that lasted only a few minutes. It provided homesick military personnel with the encouragement they needed to help them through the difficult times ahead. Every day of the war, the Canteen -- staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers from the community of twelve thousand -- was open from 5 a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight. By war's end they provided welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food to more than six million GIs.

Based on interviews with North Platte residents and the GIs who once passed through, Bob Greene unearths and reveals a classic, lost-in-the-mists-of-time American story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.

Reviews (2)


Written by CENTER 50 on July 20th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5


Ounce Upon a Town.

Written by Charles Fochs on December 6th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

My wife is a Phyiscal Therapist and has come across a few World War two veterans in the nursing homes and hospitals and had asked them about North Platte and they did remember the canteen there. It meant alot to them. This is our History, this is the true United States that I heard so much about growing up. I think Nebraska has very much to be proud of, to have taken such a simple thought and turned it into such a great thank you to our troops back than. Being a Vet myself it's little things like that that can mean so much. Also lets not forget the cost came out of their own pockets at a time when there was rationing for the war effort. I only wish we could say this is still what the US is today. This is a very interesting book I recomend reading it.

Author Details

Author Details

Greene, Bob

"Bob Greene (b. March 10, 1947) is an American journalist, best known as an award-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune newspaper for 24 years. He is also the author of books on subjects varying from Michael Jordan to small towns to US presidents.

Greene attracted national attention when he was forced to resign in September, 2002, after a sex scandal; he had admitted having had sex several years earlier with a then teen-aged girl, a high school student who visited Greene for a school project and had subsequently been the subject of a Greene column. The incident attracted considerable attention partly because Greene had made a name for himself as a crusader on behalf of abused children and as an advocate of family values, notably in his best-selling book Good Morning, Merry Sunshine: A Father's Journal of His Child's First Year.

Originally from Bexley, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus), Greene attended Northwestern University in Chicago and became a reporter and feature writer for the Chicago Sun-Times upon graduating in 1969; within two years he had a regular column in the paper and in late 1971 a collection of his writing was published in book form. Greene first drew significant national attention with his book, Billion Dollar Baby (1975), a diary of his experiences as a roadie for rock musician Alice Cooper. Greene's primary focus remained his newspaper column, for which he won the National Headliner's Award (an American journalism group) for best column in 1977. Shortly afterward, Greene switched to the competing Chicago Tribune. Greene also began making occasional guest appearances on local television, eventually landing a commentary slot on the ABC Television Network news program Nightline.

During the 1990s Greene spent time covering Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls basketball team. The two formed an unlikely friendship which Greene documented in two popular books.

Greene was extremely popular as a writer but he had his critics, largely because of his syrupy sentimentality and often heavy writing. A Chicago alternative weekly newspaper ran a column called Bob Watch: We Read Him So You Don't Have To, which made fun of his work."