VOYA - Valerie BurleighThis six-book set tackles issues that are prevalent in today's society. Each book provides a history of the subject, in detail, before delving into specific controversial areas. The authors were very aware of bias and represented both sides of the subject with specific references to notable resources. There are also several side issues and concerns addressed in each book that directly tie in with the main topic. For instance, while Burlingame presented information regarding prisons versus rehabilitation centers, he also included information regarding centers that hold illegal immigrants. At the end of each book, a timeline is given, as well as notes from each chapter, further information sources, websites (accurate at the time of printing), a bibliography, and an index. This set is a great addition for any resource collection, especially where students debate or have writing assignments or projects dealing with current societal issues. Each book can be purchased individually, or the whole set can be purchased. With the abundance of resources that accompany the actual text, these books are invaluable. (Controversy! Group 3) Reviewer: Valerie Burleigh
Children's Literature - Kris SauerWhen does it make sense to send one country's military into another country? What is the history of this kind of intervention in foreign affairs? Why did the United States get involved in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan but less so in Kosovo, Somalia and Rwanda? Students in grades eight and up seeking a thought-provoking, balanced, well-researched resource for these kinds of questions need look no further than this book. Part of the "Controversy!" series that takes on some of society's more thorny questions, this text does an excellent job of laying out the historical roots of a country's military (aka armed) involvement in a country other than its own. Balanced in its approach, the author does a good job of dispassionately detailing both sides of this thorny issue. America's armed interventionsVietnam and Iraq, for exampleare detailed as are the times when U.S. leaders have chosen some other options, such as the fifty-year trade embargo with Cuba. A chapter about the impact of armed intervention tells the tale without resorting to overwhelming or gratuitous details. Meticulously researched, the book includes extensive notes for each chapter, a bibliography and index. Middle and high school libraries would do well to stock up on this title. Its evenhanded approach allows students to learn both the pros and the cons of this issue while exercising their critical thinking skills in concluding for themselves whether armed intervention is in the best interest of a nation in a particular circumstance.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 8 Up—Each title begins with a brief history of its subject and then delves into the topic. Prisons and Torture should have qualifiers added to their titles, as the books are written almost exclusively from an American perspective. Military Might is much more global in scope. Prisons does an excellent job of providing an overview of current prison conditions, violence, funding issues, and populations. One chapter tackles the philosophical debate regarding the purpose of imprisonment-punishment or rehabilitation. Strangely, there are only passing references to death row and capital punishment. By nature of the time frame of the subject, Torture is the most specific of the three. The premise is that torture of "enemy combatants" and detainees occurred during George W. Bush's War on Terror, and specific evidence (names, dates, methods, etc.) is provided to back up that claim. While graphic at times, the writing is not sensationalized. Military Might is the most philosophical of the three titles, with much discussion of theory, ethics, and principles of military and global intervention. The author attempts to make this discussion concrete with examples of successful (e.g., Kosovo) and unsuccessful (e.g., Somalia) interventions. All three titles have exhaustive notes, bibliographies, and indexes, along with high-quality historical photographs and illustrations. These books will be useful for reports.—Lisa Crandall, formerly at Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
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