Best of the Decade: 1940s

Editor’s Note: This year, our Half Price Books calendar once again features lists of books, movies and music. We’re heading into a new decade with a new focus…the past. Each month, we’ll share a list of events, inventions and, of course, books, movies and music, from every decade since the 1900s right here on the blog. Enjoy!

What’s up, doc? Bugs Bunny debuts and Jackie Robinson’s career breaks barriers in the world of baseball. But that’s not all that happened. Check out the other life changing events, including releases of books, music and movies, that occurred in the 1940s.


Native Son – Richard Wright
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Stranger – Albert Camus
1984 – George Orwell
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
A Street in Bronzeville – Gwendolyn Brooks
Hiroshima – John Herse


The Duke at Fargo 1940 – Duke Ellington
Dust Bowl Ballads – Woody Guthrie
A Centennial Anthology of His Decca Recordings – Bing Crosby
Complete Savoy & Dial Sessions – Charlie Parker
Oklahoma! – Original Broadway Cast
The Definitive Collection – Glenn Miller
The Best of the Andrews Sisters – The Andrew Sisters
The Voice of Frank Sinatra – Frank Sinatra


The Philadelphia Story
Double Indemnity
The Maltese Falcon
It’s a Wonderful Life
Citizen Kane
The Great Dictator
The Third Man


1940 Bugs Bunny debuts
1941 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor
1942 Duct tape invented
1943 Broadway debut of Oklahoma!
1944 FDR elected to a fourth term
1945 German surrender signals end of World War II
1945 NBA founded
1947 Jackie Robinson breaks baseball’s color barrier

That wraps up the ‘40s. Native SonSinatra and Citizen Kane. What a time. The next decade is on the horizon, but in the meantime, tell us a few of your favorites from our list and let us know which books, music and movies would make yours.