Lorraine B. Diehl, wife of famed ABC Radio film critic Bill Diehl, has become quite a prolific author, as demonstrated by the release of her acclaimed new book Over Here! which chronicles life in New York City during WWII. Because America was spared the horror of warfare on its soil, most accounts of the nation during the war era are understandably limited to the combat role of the USA in the European and Pacific theaters.Yet, America played a key role in winning the war even before it officially entered the conflict after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The only person at the book party not impressed by Over Here! is Bill and Lorraine's granddaughter Lyla, who clearly has other priorities. (Photo: Lee Pfeiffer)
Through the controversial lend/lease agreement (enacted rather sneakily by FDR when the nation was still in isolationist mode), America kept England alive as it fought desperately (and alone) to keep Hitler from invading. Diehl has presented a fascinating story of what life was like in Gotham during this period and the war years that followed. She has lavishly illustrated the book with an abundance of mesmerizing photos. For movie lovers, there is ample coverage of the films made during the war for propaganda purposes. Diehl offers a plethora of fabulous candid photos that includes some great movie poster elements (a War Bonds drive in a theater features a great poster for Hitchcock's Spellbound.)
Diehl had a kick off party last week for the book at New York's legendary National Arts Club at Gramercy Park. Since then, Over Here! is generating major buzz and the book jacket displays kudos from the likes of newsman Tom Brokaw, Regis Philbin and documentary maker Ken Burns, who gushes "This is an evocative look at New York City during the Second World War; it's an enthusiastic, personal, immensely entertaining book, and a story about a city joining together to overcome the greatest challenge of the twentieth century. Brava!" Indeed, the book is a major achievement that manages that rare feat of entertaining even as it informs.