The most interesting part of the article, however, comes at the very end:
Gauging the impact that the letters had on Ms. Reed is difficult. “I knew she had feelings about her country and participating as a concerned citizen,” Ms. Owen [her daughter] said. But, she added, her mother did not talk about the letters. Ms. Reed lamented to a female pen pal in 1942 that “my effort to win the war hasn’t amounted to much” and “I wish I could find more to do.”Later in life, however, Ms. Reed became an ardent antiwar campaigner, serving during the Vietnam era as co-chairwoman of a 285,000-member group called Another Mother for Peace and working for Senator Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 presidential race. In his biography, Mr. Fultz quotes her as saying that “she looked forward to a time when ‘19-year-old boys will no longer be taken away to fight in old men’s battles.’ ”
The Times article, a nicely crafted piece by reporter Larry Rohter, points out that soldiers related particularly well to Donna Reed, because they saw her as the kind of typical American girl they would like to come home to. Perhaps they also sensed the basic decency of someone who didn't think that war was swell.
Update on Jared Diamond and the New Yorker. There have been a lot of interesting comments in the blogosphere about my Science story on the lawsuit against Diamond and the magazine by two men from Papua New Guinea. Here is a particularly thoughtful one by blogger Jessica Palmer, even if it makes some criticisms of my report.