Children's Literature - Barbara L. TalcroftTeachers and librarians may be surprised to find this "World's Most Dangerous Jobs" series coming from Crabtree, a publisher known for its high-quality books (many about world cultures) for young readers. Author Loveless, a journalist and photographer specializing in defense-related subjects, is fascinated by the culture of violence and military hardware. This book tells readers that submariners work in a pressurized metal tube 1000 feet beneath the surface and a few feet from lethal radioactive materials. The submarines themselves carry torpedoes, missiles, mines, and ballistic nuclear missiles. English and American officers explain crew organization, the process of using water to make air, escape training, fire drills, and navigating with sonar. Crew accommodations are cramped but ingenious; food is plentiful, prepared by a chef. Dangers are many, and Loveless notes that the Russian Kursk sank with 118 men. Also, in case of nuclear attack, a UK submarine officer says they would "release the most devastating weapon ever devised. Once you heard that click, you would know that you're no more than 30 minutes from the end of the world." A majority of the images come from the Department of Defense (though it's not specified whose); recommended Internet sites turn out to be mostly military recruiting websites. Apparently aimed at nine- to twelve-year-olds, the content seems inappropriate for this age groupor even for older students. Adults need to check this series carefully to decide if the values, expressed and implied, are compatible with their community's and whether they choose to spend limited resources on furthering military recruiting. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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