Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty (Dear America Series)


The sister of a Marine fighting in a war she does not believe in, our zealous heroine must reconcile her life as anti-war demonstrator with that of her brother.

An agonzing dilemma plagues these brother-sister diarists.
He is a Marine stationed in Vietnam. She is at home in America, far away from her brother's war zone, fighting for peace. As the marine writes in his journal about his experiences as a soldier, fighting an enemy he can't see, ...

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The sister of a Marine fighting in a war she does not believe in, our zealous heroine must reconcile her life as anti-war demonstrator with that of her brother.

An agonzing dilemma plagues these brother-sister diarists.
He is a Marine stationed in Vietnam. She is at home in America, far away from her brother's war zone, fighting for peace. As the marine writes in his journal about his experiences as a soldier, fighting an enemy he can't see, his sister seeks peace. In these gripping installments of DEAR AMERICA and MY NAME IS AMERICA, Ellen Emerson White captures the unique time period when america was at war both in a far-off place, and at home where adults and children alike marched in the streets for peace and freedom. Poignant and complex, these two characters will give readers a glimpse into perhaps the most tumultuous time in modern American history.

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Editorial Reviews

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Told from the perspective of a girl living in Boston in 1968, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? addresses the social and political upheavals that occurred during the Vietnam War. Insightful and thought-provoking, this is a Dear America series companion book to The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corps, which relates the experiences of Molly's brother, a soldier in Vietnam.
These books fit together—The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty and The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty—brother and sister getting through a terrible period in their lives, and in their country's history. Each could be read separately, but the reader's understanding of the characters and their agonies would be diminished. It doesn't matter which one is read first, I think, because the time period is the same for both diaries. Patrick gets around using truly authentic Marine language by saying he is cleaning it up for the journal in case his family ever reads it. Patrick had enlisted as soon as he was 18 and by Christmas, 1967 he has finished boot camp and is in Vietnam. Soon he is transported to Khe Sanh, which is a target during the Tet Offensive (January 1968, Vietnamese New Year). Marines dug in on isolated hills north, close to the Laotian border, and essentially were under siege for weeks, with many casualties—and Patrick is one of these Marines. Patrick describes the horror around him as friends get hit and die. He also writes about the closeness of the young men in this danger. Letters do get out to his family and come in, as helicopters fly in and out with meager supplies, taking away the dead and wounded and delivering mail. At the same time, Molly, who is Patrick's 16-year-old sister, is back in Boston at high school, trying to keep her life going all the while worried sick about Patrick. Patrick and Molly's father is a firefighter, and his life isn't exactly a safe one, so the family is used to a level of worry. However, the news of the war and the Tet Offensive are all over the TV coverage and in magazines and newspapers, so they are terrified that Patrick willbe hurt or killed. They read his "don't worry about me" letters, but know that things are really bad for him. Molly volunteers at a veterans' hospital, meeting young men like Patrick wounded in Vietnam. There are anti-war protests throughout Boston, and even her high school friends are fiercely divided about the war. Molly herself hates the war, but of course cares about Patrick and the other soldiers she meets. Both of these teenagers are thoughtful about what is happening to them and their family and country. It is easy for the reader to like them both and to try to understand their situations. As Patrick says, he knows he made a mistake to volunteer for the war after the first few minutes of arriving in Vietnam—but he is there and he and his new buddies make the best of it, defending each other above all. The two books together give an accurate view of how young Americans were affected by the war in Vietnam, how they longed for peace, how they became disillusioned with the government and with those in authority. The author knows Boston well, so Molly's diary is helped by the sense of a real time and place. White has written other books for YAs about the Vietnam War that complement these diaries: The Road Home about a young nurse in Vietnam is still available in print. (Dear America Series). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Scholastic, 181p. illus.,
— Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
Molly Flaherty, an Irish Catholic teenager living in Boston, Massachusetts, relates her thoughts and concerns through her journal entries during 1967 and 1968. Molly's brother, Patrick, is a young Marine fighting in the war in Vietnam. Molly talks of her worries about her brother's safety. We are introduced to Molly's family: her father, the firefighter; her mother, the devout Catholic housewife, and her married older sister, Brenda. Molly also tells what her life is like during the late 1960's. She talks about her school, her friends, what clothes are popular, and all the things that constitute teenage life. Molly is a compassionate girl who loves animals and who enjoys helping others. She decides to volunteer at a Veterans' Administration Hospital hoping to help others but also hoping to make sense of the Vietnam War. She is personally struggling with all the turmoil of the times: civil rights, women's rights, the war, student protests, hippies, and political issues. This is an excellent fictional story that explains this difficult time period in an easy to understand manner. It is one of the "Dear America" Series, and gives factual information about this time in history. Historical notes and photographs are also included. 2002, Scholastic,
— Maureen Boyle
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9 This novel focuses on events from Christmas 1967 through May 1968, a time of war in Vietnam and unrest in the United States. Molly's brother, Patrick, is serving in the area of Khe Sanh, a region that is receiving high-intensity shelling, and the 15-year-old contends with the duality of emotions occasioned by pride and concern for him and by her daily exposure to antiwar feelings. She observes how heated people can be about the war, one way or the other, but no one seems to bother to know the details; she wants to learn everything she possibly can about it. Volunteering in the VA hospital over the objections of her parents, she witnesses the frustration and anger of the seriously injured vets and the death of one of them. The story is rich in detail about the period: hippies; demonstrations; the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy; the lure of the coffeehouses, thrift shops, and bookstores of Harvard Square; and always the fate of the Boston Red Sox. Molly is an engaging protagonist with her own issues, and her questioning mind seeks honest answers. Average-quality, captioned black-and-white historical photos appear with the back matter. This title will be popular where readers seek out "Dear America" and similar series, and it complements American history studies. -Sylvia V. Meisner, Greensboro Montessori School, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This ersatz diary, in the Dear America series, belongs to Molly MacKenzie Flaherty, a 15-year-old Boston high-school student during the Vietnam War. Molly's brother Patrick (The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, p. 744) has volunteered to serve in the Marines and the family finds itself in the center of the morass that marked the war: nightly death totals, growing anti-war feelings, deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the frustrating doublespeak of politicians. Molly's large Catholic family lives in Brighton, where a number of her male relatives are firefighters. The heroism of the soldiers is juxtaposed with the heroism of her relatives as they fight fires in the city, even a fire started by rioters following the death of Martin Luther King. The four-and-a-half months that Molly chronicles are unbelievably busy ones. Molly attends her first high-school parties, watches the silly sitcoms that blare from all those new color televisions, meets peace protesters in Harvard Square, nurses her father back to health after one more terrible evening of firefighting, reads the surprising book her mother has given her (The Feminine Mystique), finds a volunteer job at the VA hospital working with amputees fresh from Vietnam, waits for news of Patrick following his injury, and eventually helps him return to civilian life. This is more like a vehicle for the author's research than a diary. Readers of this popular series might not mind the pure volume of historical details, amazing coincidences, and overblown writing style, but they will certainly question the supposed age of the writer. However, very few stories of stateside siblings of soldiers exist and this might inspire somereaders to think about life at home during the Vietnam War. A lengthy historical note with photographs follows the fictional diary. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439148894
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/15/2002
  • Series: Dear America Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 930L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.77 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    What's Your Reaction?

    How would you react if your only brother went off to war and tore your family apart? You'd probably go crazy right? Well, in the novel Where Have All the Flowers gone by Ellen White, Molly tries to live life just as she did before her brother, Patrick left. It was Patrick's 18th birthday. His parents were shocked to find out he'd be leaving for over seas that day. Molly wasnt really shocked, she was devasted. Her brother wasnt only her brother, but her best friend too. She needed him. Things really begin to unravel when Patrick gets badly injured. He's in the hospital and they dont know if hes going to pull through. Molly and her parents are trying to get over there but there arent many boats and theres little money. They are going to get over there no matter what it takes. This is an amazing book if you like history. Its even better though if you like books about family and sticking together. This is one of my favorites out of the Dear America collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2005

    Good For Teenagers

    Molly Mackenzie is a astute 15-year-old adolescent in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives in a society of feminism, Vietnam War protesting, and hippies. Her brother, Patrick, is serving in th war, and Molly fears for his safety in almost every entry she writes. Molly volunteers at the orthopedic ward of a veterans hospital and perceives the horror people have endured in the grisly Vietnam War. The book is nice. I liked the book because I admire the keeness of the protagonist, and how driven she is about serving her community and her aspirations towards academia. While I adore this book, I mrely rated it a four star because it is not a Pulitzers Prize or anything. Still, kudos to the author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2003

    This book has true facts about how life was in America during the Vietnam War.

    Molly is a 15-year-old girl that lives in Boston, Massachusetts during the Vietnam War in 1968. With the hardships in Molly¿s life such as the death of John F. Kennedy and her brother¿s involvement in the war life is stress full. Ellen Emerson White wrote Where Have All the Flowers Gone based on real events in Molly Mackenzie Flaherty¿s life. In the book White shows that the character is smart, determined, and loyal by how she handles the events in her life. Here is an example of the conflict in Molly¿s life. ¿My New Year¿s resolution is to do something¿. I¿m just not sure how to do it, or even what to do. If I wanted to protest, I could go downtown and stand around Boston Common, holding signs with hippies any day of the week. But even if I could get around the fact that it would be betraying Patrick, I don¿t think that really accomplishes anything. I¿ve seen lots of demonstrators ¿ especially over in Harvard Square ¿And I know I¿m not supposed to say this, but it seems like a big waste of time to me¿. Besides the government knows that lots of people are against the war, and they just keep asking for more troops, anyway.¿ I think that this shows that Molly is determined to do something about the war she just isn¿t sure what. Also, even though she is against the war she still supports her brother, Patrick, who is fighting in the war. In this book there were events that made me want to read on and questions I wanted to be answered. Like what will happen to Molly¿s brother or did the demonstrations help stop the war? I think that making predictions and asking questions about the book made me want to finish it more quickly. When I read this story, I made connections to what is happening in the world today. When Molly talks about how much her family misses her brother, I thought of the families of the troops over sea and how much they must miss them. Also I thought about how Molly and everyone else were wondering when the Vietnam War would end. This relates to our situation today because we are wondering when the war on terrorism will end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    A vivid history lesson of the sixties

    This is a wonderful book about the sixties and how teenagers felt during this troubling time in our history. I grew up in this era and had some of the same feelings Molly did. I am a school librarian and recommend this book highly to my students!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2002



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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2002

    Good Book :)

    I Started reading 'Where have all the flowers gone' a few days ago and it is a really good book. When I was reading about the music the she listened to and the shows that she watch I thought it was weird because some of the tv shows are still shown and some of the singers are still popular to this day.I thought the book was well written and very interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about wars or history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    LOVE IT!!!!

    I love this book! It tells about the hippies and it also just is all about her! And i also just love her name.. Molly Mackenize. I like the way it sounds. So if you love Dear America READ THIS!!!!

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    Posted December 19, 2010

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    Posted August 19, 2010

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