Praising Radio: military family history

BOOK REVIEW: Radio, One Woman’s Family in War and Pieces. Followers of this column will note that I often review other people’s books. The reason you see mostly high ratings is that I don’t often rate books I’ve read and enjoyed which have been well covered by others, and I skip rating those which I’ve read and found lacking. As a result, I’m sending along reviews in this space for books I’ve enjoyed or loved. You can imagine how pleased I am to bring you this one, by another writer, of a book I helped write, which  is very dear to my heart:

Praise for our new World War II biography has begun to gather steam. Amazon readers have expressed appreciation and delight for this humorous account of Alice Green’s emergence from a pioneering family to a press agent’s role for radio shows, her marriage to a radio producer and the arrival of World War II in the postwar housing shortage. One Amazon reader, Paula B. said this about Radio: One Woman’s Family in War and Pieces:

Gift Book — History of a Strong Woman, Sprinkled with Humor

Rating 4.5  for humor and a true story that needs to be told.
“He loved me, he treasured me, and he pampered me—and then he left me for the Marines.”… “He finally had to admit….that I was his equal.” —Alice Green

This is a wonderful gift book. Alice Green’s writing is fresh and at times laugh-aloud funny, parts of it reminiscent of Cheaper by the Dozen. Thornton Wilder instructed Alice in creative writing. I recommend this book to all readers who enjoy a good laugh. The section “We Bought a Crooked House” was hilarious.

Co-written by Alice and her son Peter, I enjoyed snippets about the history of radio, radio advertising, and the home front before, during, and after WW II. Throughout the book, Alice endured her share of problems. She was born at a time when women totally acquiesced to their spouse’s wishes, a time when women did not have the vote. During WW II, Alice raised two youngsters while dealing with rationing and a reduced income. Her ordeal can be compared to being hand-fed through the wringer of her new electric washing machine. She emerged changed and stronger.

This book will appeal to readers who love the true story of a woman of Irish Catholic heritage, a product of Chicago, as she was strengthened by trial and tribulation. Alice progressed from a shy wallflower to a woman who supervised countless volunteers for the American Red Cross. I intend to buy a copy of this book for a dear aunt.

This was the book Mom always wanted to write, and she made several promising starts on the project. But life always seemed to get in the way. It became my job to finish it for her. She started out as the shy, youngest daughter, with three much older siblings, in a raucous and competitive family, who discovered she could make even the noisy and outrageous characters in her family laugh. An avid reader, as this story recounts, she was a great fan of humorists Dorothy Parker, Jean Kerr (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies) and Betty MacDonald (Onions in the Stew, The Egg and I). She would be very proud indeed to know that people she had never known found her writing, as this reviewer put it, “fresh and laugh-out-loud funny.”

You can only imagine my delight when James A Cox, Editor-In-Chief of Midwest Book Review, amplified Paula’s voice when he carried her review of Radio, One Woman’s Family in War and the February 2017 Reviewers’ Choice section of his noted Bookwatch site.

Until next time, good words to you,


Peter H. Green, Author, and Architect


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