Book cover of Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the FIght for Europe by Robert Matzenby Robert Matzen

It’s a Wonderful Life was the first motion picture Jimmy Stewart made after returning home from World War 2, where he had participated in 20 often-brutal combat missions over Germany and France. When he left Hollywood in March 1941, Jimmy Stewart was America’s boy next door movie star and a recent Academy Award winner. He left all that behind to join the United States Army Air Corps and fulfill his family mission to serve his country—only to face obstacle after obstacle from both Hollywood and Washington. Finally he made his way to the European Theater, where several near-death experiences and the loss of men under his command took away his youthful good looks. The war finally won, he returned home with millions of other veterans to face an uncertain future, suffering what we now know as PTSD. That is the man who embarked on It’s a Wonderful Life.

Interview with the Author

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Robert Matzen, “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe” (GoodKnight Books, 2016)
10/24/16         65 min

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#291: The Untold Story of Jimmy Stewart’s WWII Service
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“Mission: Jimmy Stewart & the Fight for Europe” with Robert Matzen
1/19/17         59 min

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