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Armed Service Editions Books

Article about: I wanted to share a couple of my finds from this weekend. Once a month there is an "old time trade days" sale close to where I live. My husband and I try to go every month, and I c

  1. #1

    Default Armed Service Editions Books

    *I mistakenly titled this wrong...it should be Armed Service Editions Books. My apologies. I don't know what I was thinking.

    I wanted to share a couple of my finds from this weekend. Once a month there is an "old time trade days" sale close to where I live. My husband and I try to go every month, and I can usually find a little something there. This month, I found some Armed Service Editions. I love these little things. I have a couple more in my collection already (and when I find them, I'll post them on this thread). I know they aren't rare or expensive, but their history and impact on the morale of soldiers during World War II are really interesting to me.

    A short history for anyone that doesn't know about them. When the draft began in 1940, and especially after war broke out in 1941, some librarians started a book drive, called the Victory Book Campaign, for the soldiers to help keep their spirits up and entertained. Well, the men couldn't get enough books, but there really wasn't enough reading material to go around. Aside from that, it was hard to carry around big, hardcover books. Paperbacks back then were few and far between. A couple of publishers realized that they could make a difference, got together with other publishers across the industry, and figured out how to make the books lighter, smaller, more efficiently laid-out, and produced cheap. The ASEs were designed specifically to fit in the pockets of the soldiers' pants pockets. These ASEs were all printed through the Council on Books in Wartime (CBW) for the Army and Navy. The books were basically printed at-cost, with only one cent each going to the authors. Even so, many authors would waive the one cent royalty costs to make it even cheaper for the government, and the groups printing the books often would buy extra paper for more books to be printed out of their own budgets when the Army couldn't come up with the funds. Both fiction and non-fiction were published, ranging in a wide variety of subjects and categories. A committee helped to choose the titles and would take the suggestions of soldiers in the frontlines, then printing a new "series" each month. They were a huge hit with the soldiers and a morale boost. There are some really fascinating stories of soldiers reading these little books in the middle of fire-fights and bombings, in the thick of battle, as a means of escape. From 1943 to 1947, a total of 1,322 titles were published. There was a short resurgence of ASEs for the US military in 2002 with four titles being issued to overseas troops.

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books


    These two were printed in March 1944 and December 1944. The other two I have are White Fang (one of my favorite books) and Mark Twain Short Stories. After picking up my first ASE a couple years ago, I read When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II, by Molly Guptill Manning. It's a very good, and quick, read on the history of these little books. I really suggest it.

    I'm excited because the guy I bought these from is pretty sure he has some more in a box somewhere. He's hoping to find them for me for next month.
    Last edited by MAP; 08-16-2020 at 04:30 AM. Reason: Fixed Title

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    They are excellent mate , thanks for sharing.
    Cheers Rick

  3. #3

    Default White Fang and Mark Twain

    I found my other two Armed Service Editions today. White Fang (March 1944) and the Selected Short Stories of Mark Twain (March 1945). Like I mentioned, I was excited to find both of these. White Fang is one of my favorite books ever, and Mark Twain is just an amazing writer in general.

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books


    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    The Mark Twain ASE is stamped "Reconditioning." To me, it looks like the company glued a new cover onto it. There's no Table of Contents, but the short stories included in this edition are: The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County; The Private History of a Campaign That Failed; Jim Baker's Bluejay Yarn; Extracts from Adam's Diary; Buck Fanshaw's Funeral; Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven; The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg; Is He Living or Is He Dead?; and Ned Blakely Hangs a Murderer.

  4. #4
    MAP
    MAP is offline
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    Title fixed.

    Nice books. Adds a nice human touch to this hobby
    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  5. #5
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    Great examples mate ,
    Thanks for sharing
    Cheers Rick

  6. #6

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    Thanks, guys. And thank you MAP for fixing the title. I figured one of the moderators could fix it, but I didn't want to bother y'all with something so small. I appreciate it!

  7. #7

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    Lovely set there Robyn, wish I had one or two in my paper collection! Brings me back to the film "The Big Red One"Armed Service Editions Books Screen grab of my old VHS copy
    Regards
    René

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks, Rene! That's a great movie. It's been a long time since I've watched it, so I didn't even remember that part. Very cool! The part that always sticks with me is Lee Marvin and the little boy from the concentration camp...gets me every time.

  9. #9

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    Quote by LoyalHistorian View Post
    Thanks, Rene! That's a great movie. It's been a long time since I've watched it, so I didn't even remember that part. Very cool! The part that always sticks with me is Lee Marvin and the little boy from the concentration camp...gets me every time.
    He wrote it, remember big basis of the movie
    Regards
    René

  10. #10

    Default Paul Bunyan, Anything Can Happen, and Commodore Hornblower

    Three more ASEs I came across.

    Paul Bunyan by James Stevens, M-8 printed September 1944

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books


    Anything Can Happen by George and Helen Papashvily, T-3 printed April 1945

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books


    Commodore Hornblower by C.S. Forester, #804 from Series X printed August 1945

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Armed Service Editions Books

    Commodore Hornblower is one of the larger ASEs. The last photo shows the difference in size from the others I have. ASEs could range in length from 5.5 inches to 6.5 inches, then height from 3.875 inches to 4.5 inches. Hornblower is 6.5 x 4.5 inches.

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