Publishers Provide Free Books to U.S. Troops Abroad

Publishers Provide Free Books to U.S. Troops Abroad

Three major book publishers are kicking off a historic initiative to revive the “Armed Services Editions” (ASE) effort that distributed more than 123 million paperback books to U.S. troops stationed overseas in World War II, with a giveaway of newly published titles at the Pentagon Nov. 7.

First published in 1943, more than 123 million ASEs were handed out to U.S. forces overseas. This giveaway represented the largest free distribution of fiction and nonfiction books in history. More than 1,300 titles were published, including mysteries, biographies, crime stories, adventure novels and classic works of literature by such authors as Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Melville. The original ASEs were discontinued in 1947.

Beginning this month, Hyperion, Simon & Schuster and Dover Publications will join together in publishing and distributing free ASEs to U.S troops throughout the world, including Afghanistan, the Middle East, Cuba, Asia, and Europe, as well as forces stationed on forward-deployed U.S. warships. More than 100,000 copies of the following four titles will be sent to U.S. forces abroad in November and December:

– Medal Of Honor: Profiles of America’s Military Heroes from the Civil War to the Present, by Allen Mikaelian, with commentary by Mike Wallace (Hyperion, 2002).

– Henry V, by William Shakespeare (Dover, 2002).

– The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (Dover, 2002).

– War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, edited by Andrew Carroll (Washington Square Press/Simon & Schuster, 2002).

The books will be reformatted in the same “cargo pocket” size and will have the same vintage appearance as the original ASEs from World War II.

The new ASE initiative was launched Nov. 7 at the Pentagon in the north end of the main concourse.

More than 100,000 ASEs will be shipped out to U.S. military installations throughout the world. Books will continue to be distributed for as long as they can be funded, and, ideally, new titles will be added to the list. Unlike the original ASEs, the new books are being paid for entirely with private donations. No government funding is being used.

For further information or questions, please contact Project Manager Mr. Andrew Carroll at (202) 338-1109 or