in reply to Extracting text from MS Word files on a Linux box

If text is all you need (no formatting), you may have success with piping from Antiword (and docx2txt for later versions of the format).

LibreOffice Writer used to support the older .DOC format better than the newer .DOCX; the situation may have changed since, but in general case, you should assume that you are going to lose some formatting information.