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Stolen Voices: Young People's War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Glimpse into the Lives of Young People During Wartime

    Stolen Voices connects the thoughts and feelings of young people who lived during wartime, whether as civilians or soldiers, in a way that displays how common themes have spanned over decades. In the diaries of civilians, the innocence of childhood is especially prevalent. The young people, regardless of the time period, question why war is happening, why it is affecting them, and whether or not they will survive it. They cannot fully comprehend what is happening and often face frustration and fear. Through the civilian diaries, one can relate to the young people and the way everyday things are changing around them. One can try to imagine how one would feel and react if one was thrown into such a situation. The soldiers' diaries are also very interesting to read. They are so matter-of-fact about war and death, it is almost unnerving. They often reminisce on their homes and lives before the war, and make plans for what they will do when they get out. It becomes clear after reading the diaries that war is war, regardless of the time or place. The images inserted in the middle of the book are a reminder to the reader that the diaries were actually written down on paper by a real person who really lived the events they describe. It is unreal to see their photos and actual pages from the diaries. It makes one wonder how many diaries like these, how many stories like these, have gone undiscovered or unnoticed. It makes one acutely aware of how many innocent, ordinary people have been and are being affected by war. The diaries present many affects of war that one might not think of right away, like visiting cemeteries to put wreaths on graves or not having enough water. Overall, this book is a good choice if one does not have much time to read, because one can concentrate on a single diary at a time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    A reviewer

    My seventh-grade daughter and I read this collection of war diaries from World War I to Iraq for our book club. We read it aloud together, and I¿m glad we did. It gave us a chance to talk about the historical times each of the wars was set in and discuss the difficulties each of the diarists experienced. Particularly interesting were the views expressed by young people writing in Israel, Palestine and Iraq, since those conflicts are current events. During our group discussion we sat in a circle and each of the girls and moms talked about the diary that lingered in their minds the most. Not surprisingly many of us chose Inge, a Jewish girl sent from Austria with her sister to stay with an English family during World War II. Since the girls are the same age Inge was when she was writing, the anguish she experienced at leaving her parents and her home resonated particularly with us. I worried that the subject matter would be too intense for middle school girls, because some of the descriptions are particularly strong. And not all the diarists survive. But during our discussion it was quite clear that the girls had learned a lot from reading the book, and they highly recommended it for other girls their age. In fact, one of our members had not read Stolen Voices before our meeting, but said she couldn¿t wait to start after hearing the rest of us talk about it. I think Stolen Voices is an important book for people of all ages, but it¿s especially important for the young. And I think it¿s a great book to read with a group. An excerpt from the diary of Zlata Filipovic, one of the editors, is also included in the collection. A line from one of her entries sums up the sentiment that was a common thread among many of the diarists, ¿I simply don¿t understand it. Of course, I¿m `young¿ and politics are conducted by `grown-ups.¿ But I think we `young¿ would do it better. We certainly wouldn¿t have chosen war¿.¿

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