The Barnes & Noble Review
Acclaimed historian Stephen E. Ambrose has broken new ground with a stirring account of World War II. Aimed at young readers and written with clarity, Ambrose's book brings out the humanity that underlies war. With compassion and storytelling prowess, the author makes a complex conflict exciting, enlightening, and comprehensible.
The introduction hints at the drama, agony, and determination of the story that follows. Relating two heart-wrenching moments of realization on the part of World War II veterans, Ambrose describes the massive impact the war had on its participants and on the preservation of democracy.
Laid out in easy-to-read chapters, The Good Fight begins with a discussion of the origins of the war and then focuses on major battles and events. Particularly stunning are the photos in each chapter: stirring images of Hitler standing with his troops, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the dropping of the atomic bomb. In addition, the book includes campaign and battlefield maps and a detailed glossary -- particularly helpful for young students.
With this comprehensive history, young readers will begin to understand the meaning of World War II and to appreciate the sacrifices so many people made in order to secure freedom around the world. (Amy Barkat)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran adult historian Ambrose (D-Day June 6, 1944; Citizen Soldiers) hits the mark with this patriotic photo-survey of America's involvement in WWII. His highly visual and textually concise approach make clear the giant scope of a war that truly spanned the world. The author covers a great deal of factual information by breaking down the events into digestible sections of one to two spreads each (the D-Day invasion, photos of the concentration camps, and the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki each have two spreads). Topics vary from the origins of the war in both Germany and Japan to Japanese-American relocation camps to the Manhattan Project and women in the work force, always keeping an eye to the human side of war and sacrifice. Carefully selected quotes reinforce the individual's experience, such as Major Richard Winters's reaction when his troops liberated concentration camp prisoners at Dachau: "Now I know why I am here." Ambrose also points out the irony that the U.S. battled a racist Hitler with a segregated army, and effectively argues that the exemplary performance of African-American troops paved the way for integration in the army and, eventually, for the civil rights movement. Haunting and powerful full-page and inset photographs bring each subject to life, including Joe Rosenthal's famous flag-raising after the battle of Iwo Jima. Because of the brevity, some issues such as Russia's temporary alliance with Germany are not discussed. The format succeeds in allowing Ambrose to flash back and forth between events around the globe, creating a heartpounding urgency. Ages 9-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
As World War II becomes more a part of the past, Ambrose attempts to connect those of its generation with today's youth through this book, dedicating it to the grandchildren of the war's veterans. The introduction describes this period as a very dark time in history and includes quotes from soldiers about the personal values that led them to fight. Throughout the book, Ambrose shows the nobility of the members of this generation by chronicling the sacrifices they made and the risks they took for the common good during the Second World War. Especially noteworthy is the section on the Marshall Plan, which describes through some memorable facts the generosity of the American people. The content is thorough and spread evenly over both the War in Europe and the Pacific Theater, often underrepresented in history books. This diligence, along with a modern emphasis on women and minorities, contributes to the freshness of the book. Japanese American relocation camps, African American troops, and "Rosie the Riveter" are also covered. The layout of the book is beautiful. Each section is made up of a full-page tinted photograph, snapshots, a box of quick facts, and the text for the chapter. Full-page maps are interspersed throughout. Younger teens or reluctant readers interested in World War II will enjoy this book. At times it is apparent that Ambrose is not yet comfortable writing for this age group, because his language does not flow. Despite this quibble, The Good Fight will make a good addition to a school or public library. Glossary. Index. Photos. Maps. Biblio. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, definedas grades 6 to 8). 2001, Atheneum/S & S, 96p, . Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Jenny Ingram SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
In this ambitious attempt to explain how the Allies won World War II, well-known historian Stephen Ambrose has written a series of short, informative essays describing key events in Europe and the Pacific that led to the defeat of the Axis powers, Germany and Japan. The first few pages summarize the origins of the war in Europe and Asia. The rest of the book is devoted to events that occurred after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that caused the United States to join the Allied war effort. Topics as diverse as the interment of Japanese-Americans, D-Day, the Manhattan Project, the Holocaust and the Marshall Plan are presented in a way that is both interesting and easy to understand. Taken together, the essays provide a detailed picture of how the tide turned against Germany and Japan once America joined the fight to rid the world of fascism. Spectacular color and black-and-white photos and key battlefield maps accompany the excellent text. This book will be an invaluable addition to the 20th century history curriculum because it is a clearly written, but not oversimplified explanation of the complex events that led to the end of World War II. 2001, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, . Ages All. Reviewer: Joyce Schwartz
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Whenever a celebrated historian produces a volume for young people, one wonders if he will write for them or merely condense and chop. Ambrose does write for them in a beautifully abbreviated style with strong verbs, clear subjects, and a minimum of adverbs. Beginning with an explanation of the origin of the war in Europe and Asia, the text moves on to Pearl Harbor through the major battles to the war-crimes trials and the Marshall Program. Although driven chronologically by major military events, the narrative does include a bit of social and economic history, discussing the manufacturing strength of the United States and the establishment of relocation centers. Of course generals and major officials are quoted, but it is the variety of information gained from the soldiers' letters that gives the most interesting flavor. Well-chosen pictures prove that children were not exempt from the effects of war. A French toddler is held up for a friendly handshake with a GI on a half-track. Two boys are shown viewing the ruins of their city. A Japanese child with an atomically melted face sits dutifully at a school desk. All of the images are guaranteed to draw readers closer. Matching the excellence of the text is a superb layout. Full-page pictures- some of which are monochromed in attractive blue, purple, green, or sepia-appear opposite matched initials and fact boxes. Ambrose brings this compelling chapter of history to life for a new generation.-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In what is plainly a packager's distillation of far better work by the noted historian, what should have been exciting and heart-stirring-thanks to strong photographs-is reduced to a hop, skip, and a jump due to a weak text. The arrangement is an appealing one, similar to coffee-table books for adults: the openings are clean and clear-"Quick Facts," a small photo of an event, the text dealing with the subject at hand (a battle, a place) facing a full-page photo of the event, situation, or characters. The photos are telling; the text, though, skimps on details, facts, and conclusions that the uninformed young reader needs. The Quick Facts recitals of odd bits of detail (how many bombers, cliches about personalities, etc.) are useless unless a reader knows how to fill in the importance of such trivia. But the packager does not provide that essential background information. The photos (most of which may be assumed to have been shot in black and white) are offered in a variety of colors, perhaps to make the presentation more attractive, but even without that, they would be the strongest component. There are no dates for them, however. Each spread treats a different topic, bouncing from one to another with less than obvious connection. So, for instance, the subject of Japanese-American relocation centers is placed in between the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Atlantic. And far too often what are contained in the text are trite phrases and worn-out images. Too bad. (maps and index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-12)