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World War II—Studs Terkel’s Good War, fought by Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation—seems innocent by post-Vietnam standards. We think of it as a clear contest of good vs. evil, with the reassuring lesson that, in the end, good will triumph. The 665 images in Life: World War 2: History’s Greatest Conflict in Pictures, as graphic and sometimes horrifying as they are, capture that weird innocence. Culled from Life magazine’s library, private collections, and government archives, the familiar, rare, and even previously unseen photographs are grouped by year, from the signing of the Treaty of Versailles to V-J Day. Richard B. Stolley opens the book by waxing nostalgic about the “astounding way the country rallied” and wonders, “What can we do in the 21st century to reignite that feeling of purpose and dedication and triumph?” Recent events may have answered

his question. Stolley appears at 6:30 p.m. at the Newseum, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $13. (202) 357-3030. (Janet Hopf)