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Decisive Battles

Decisive Battles

by Michael Gallagher

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Tracy Koretsky
This picture-book-format young adult offering is the best of the five titles in publisher Sea-to-Sea's long-on-design and short-on-substance "World War II" series. Perhaps it is inherently so, as WWII may best be understood battle-by-battle as is this title's strategy. But credit where it is due: each two-page spread opens with a bold-faced preface that sums up and contextualizes the significance of the battle at hand. Sidebars illuminate the key to the outcome, be it a new weapon or a capable general, and brief timelines do a good job of establishing the background, though the maps are more pretty than useful. Also not useful is the subtle but potent editorial slant. For example, in his preface to Pearl Harbor, the author writes, "Now the world's most powerful country could enter the war." Would that be the country then gripped by economic depression? The U.S. bombing of Tokyo is also noticeably absent. Using fewer than 3,000 words—that's roughly 12 double-spaced typewritten pages—of narrative content this well-displayed overview could certainly make a good introduction to further study, but don't rely on it for the full story. Other features include a glossary, index, and list of websites. No further bibliography is provided. Reviewer: Tracy Koretsky
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Chapter spreads in these books open with a one- or two-sentence summary and then discuss the topic in three or four paragraphs. Each chapter also includes a sidebar, a time line, a quote, and at least one photo or illustration, which is often tinted. There are a few maps to help students locate battles and follow campaigns, and Causes has full-page maps of the European and Pacific Theaters. The scope of the books is broad, but the texts are so brief that both subject coverage and analysis are superficial. They are further weakened by errors about casualty numbers and the numbers of Germans and Italians detained by the United States. The titles (especially Women) emphasize topics more related to the British than to the American war experience, and there is more on the war in Europe than in the Pacific. The brief coverage will draw some browsers and will work for those seeking information on a particular battle or campaign, but most students will find the books in the "American War Library" (Lucent) to be better choices for both research and reading.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO

Product Details

Sea to Sea Publications
Publication date:
World War II Series
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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