War Book Panel

The War Book Panel was created in 1942 during World War II by the Council on Books in Wartime to recommend books to the public that would assist in the goals of the war effort.


The Council on Books in Wartime decided to choose a limited selection of high quality books for the public that clarified why the United States was at war, what values were at stake, and the terms which peace might be extended.[1]

Panel members included Irita Van Doren, editor of the New York Herald Tribune; Amy Loveman, associate editor of the Saturday Review of Literature; Lieutenant Colonel Joseph L. Greene, editor of the Infantry Journal; Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, retired; and J. Donald Adams, editor of the New York Times Book Review.[1]

The panel met periodically and voted on titles. Selected books were republished and labeled "Imperative" of the front cover with an emblazoned large 'I'.[1] Council members, which included publishers, were obligated to advertise these books even if they were published by a competitor.

Imperative booksEdit

The following books were republished as "Imperative" by the War Book Panel.[1] Dates are when the book was chosen as Imperative, not the original publication date.

  1. W. L. White, They Were Expendable. November 1942
  2. John Hersey, Into the Valley. March 1943
  3. Wendell Willkie, One World. May 1943
  4. Walter Lippmann, U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic. July 1943
  5. John Hersey, A Bell For Adano.
  6. Edgar Snow, People on Our Side. September 1944

In the spring of 1945, the panel voted for Ralph Ingersoll's The Battle Is the Payoff, but the book was already selling well and the war was coming to an end so it was never officially republished as an Imperative book.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Molly Guptill Manning (2014). "Chapter 4: New Weapons in the War of Ideas". When Books Went to War. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. ISBN 9780544535022.

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