World War II: A History in Documents

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World War II: A History in Documents illustrates the major themes and issues of the Second World War, including its causes, course, and consequences. Paying attention to both the European and Pacific Theaters—as well as to homefront and battle front issues—author James H. Madison blends discussions of diplomacy and strategy with insights into the lives of ordinary people around the world, including factory workers, soldiers, mothers, propagandists, political leaders, and survivors.

Set in thoughtful contexts, these powerful and telling documents encourage students to compare different nations and cultures at war and to think critically about twentieth century history. The documents include such diverse items as American political cartoons, combat memoirs of American GIs, a call for Canadian women war workers, popular American songs, an interview with a Tuskegee Airman, Eisenhower's D-Day message, Russian propaganda posters, the diary of a German teenager, a memoir of Japanese-American internment, a painting of an Australian bomber crew, newspaperman Ernie Pyle's reports to the home front, the last letter from a Japanese kamikaze pilot, and testimonies of Holocaust survivors.

World War II: A History in Documents includes a picture essay on propaganda posters and numerous graphics (posters, photographs, maps, etc.) throughout, which also serve as documents. Offering a global and multifaceted perspective of World War II, this diverse collection of textual and visual documents is ideal for undergraduate courses in World War II and military history.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Avid readers about the period will find this title intriguing. Arranged in eight chapters of broad topics, the text is a collection of excerpts from primary sources. A different font distinguishes the introductory narratives from the original documents. One of the most interesting is the first page of the first draft of FDR's "Day of Infamy" speech. The photo shows the typed speech with hand-written revisions. A variety of sources has been used to convey the thoughts of people of many nationalities and walks of life. There are quotes from official documents and laws, personal letters, books, and music lyrics. Black-and-white period photos, most of which are commonly seen in books on this topic, appear throughout. Captions are very good. Wide sidebars contain examples of political cartoons and propaganda posters, additional quotes from speeches and oral histories, and a glossary, when needed. One chapter focuses entirely on war posters. The final section, "War Memories," includes atrocities and apologies, museums and memorials, and the controversy over exhibiting the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian. An extensive further-reading list is subdivided by continent/country and topic, and the list of Web sites contains 16 impressive entries. This unique volume is possibly a little more balanced than most other books in the genre in that it contains primary sources from China, Japan, Germany, and Russia, in addition to the U.S. It belongs in most secondary collections.—Eldon Younce, formerly at Harper Elementary School, KS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195338126
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/13/2009
  • Series: Pages from History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 684,401
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

James H. Madison is Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History at Indiana University. He is the author of A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America (2001) and coauthor of The Americans: A Brief History, Fourth Edition (1985).

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Table of Contents

What is a Document?
How to Read a Document
Note on Sources and Interpretation
1. To War, Again
Aggressor Nations
From Appeasement to War
Dark Days for the Allies
2. Fighting Men and Women
Men and Women in War
Combat Misery
Killing and Death
Atrocity, War Crimes, Limitlessness
3. Mobilizing for Total War
War Production
Mobilizing Workers
Allied Success
4. Home Front Sacrifice and Morale
Forward Together
Food and Rationing
Bombing of Civilians
Civil Liberties
Fun on the Home Fronts
5. Picture Essay: Wartime Posters Send the Message
6. Turning Points toward Allied Victory
Eastern Front
The Second Front
Pacific Theater
7. Peace
The Guilty
From Hunger to a Better World?
8. War Memories
The "Good War" and Other Memories
Atrocities and Apologies
Museums and Memorials
Time Line
Further Reading
Text Credits
Picture Credits
About the Author

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