Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Homefront During World War I

Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Homefront During World War I

by Ann Bausum
     
 

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In 1915, the United States experienced the 9/11 of its time. A German torpedo sank the Lusitania killing nearly 2,000 innocent passengers. The ensuing hysteria helped draw the United States into World War I—the bitter, brutal conflict that became known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars. But as U.S. troops fought to make the world safe for

Overview

In 1915, the United States experienced the 9/11 of its time. A German torpedo sank the Lusitania killing nearly 2,000 innocent passengers. The ensuing hysteria helped draw the United States into World War I—the bitter, brutal conflict that became known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars. But as U.S. troops fought to make the world safe for democracy abroad, our own government eroded freedoms at home, especially for German-Americans. Free speech was no longer an operating principle of American democracy. Award-winning author Ann Bausum asks, just where do Americans draw the line of justice in times of war?
Drawing thought-provoking parallels with President Wilson’s government and other wartime administrations, from FDR to George W. Bush, Bausum’s analysis has plenty of history lessons for the world today. Her exhaustive research turns up astonishing first-person stories and rare images, and the full-color design is fresh and stunning. The result is a gripping book that is well-positioned for the run-up to the World War I centennial.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Over the past few years issues of threats to democracy created by government policies justified by the War on Terror have been broadly debated in the United States and other democratic nations. However, while those debates are certainly important, they are not new in the annals of American history. In Unraveling Freedom author Ann Bausum presents the strict limitations on personal liberty that were enacted in the United States during the First World War. In 1917 when the United States declared war on Germany and Austria, nearly 25% of all Americans had some ethnic link to those nations. Swiftly, and as Ann Bausum shows in this well written book, with overt and covert governmental action, animosity toward everything German reached a fever pitch in America. Over a short period of time German sounding street names were changed. Foods such as sauerkraut that were linked to German cuisine were renamed. German sounding names were altered and some German immigrants were brutalized or even lynched. Criticism of the government was banned and people were jailed for expressing opinions. All of these actions were taken in the name of defending democracy even though they actually violated the very premise that personal freedom was important. In Unraveling Freedom readers will encounter an America that was filled with fear and anger and all too willing to sacrifice the actuality of freedom in exchange for vengeance. This is a fine book and one that teaches lessons that are entirely relevant in our own era. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Comparing the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 to the 9/11 attacks, Bausum describes the events that would eventually lead the U.S. into the European conflict that ultimately became World War I. She then turns her attention to describing the destruction of civil liberties by President Wilson, Congress, and those in control of political power during the country's campaign to "make the world safe for democracy." Freedom of speech was especially limited by the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Various government agencies and the courts encouraged citizens to spy on one another. Socialists such as Eugene Debs were tried, convicted, and given long prison sentences for speaking out against the war. Specific attention is also paid to the efforts of Edith Wilson and the president's cabinet to deceive the public and hide his debilitating illness. Black-and-white archival photos and political cartoons are arranged in an artistic manner with informative captions. Red and blue backgrounds create a dramatic effect in the layout of the text. Appropriate quotations by various people of the time are displayed in elegant fonts. Make this unique and timely offering a definite first purchase.—Eldon Younce, Anthony Public Library, KS

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426307027
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
11/09/2010
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
363,321
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1250L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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