While World War Two claimed five times as many lives, it can be argued that the First World War more deeply scarred the collective European psyche. Between 1914 and 1918 over ten million soldiers perished in the horrible conditions of trench life. Images of World War I encompassed a world of mud, rats, rotting corpses, and suffering on a virtually unimaginable scale. How could the industrialized nations of the world fall to such a depth of despair? In Events Leading to World War I, John Hamilton outlines the chain of events that led the major European powers to and beyond the brink of an abyss they could not have predicted. Starting with the alliance system that spawned the conditions necessary for so broad a war, Hamilton does an excellent job of telling this tragic story. Culminating in the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by a Serbian nationalist, the path that led to World War I will both fascinate and repel modern readers. In the end, as John Hamilton points out in this well written and illustrated chapter in the broader "World War I" series, the war came. Sadly, it appears that World War I was a nearly inevitable event that came about through the contrast between mankind's advancement and international blindness. In this concise work readers will come to better understand this sad reality and, hopefully, apply what they learn to more contemporary events. 2004, ABDO & Daughters, Ages 9 to 14.
Greg M. Romaneck
Gr 5-8-These brief books present a remarkable amount of information and provide readers with a clear understanding of complicated issues. Aircraft describes the airplane's coming-of-age during the war-from being totally discounted as a fighting machine to the Aces, who became national heroes. The second volume focuses on eight well-known battles that took place before America entered the conflict in 1917, describing the senseless slaughter that was typical of World War I. Short biographical sketches of important figures appear throughout. Events discusses the conditions and circumstances in each of the participating countries. In all three titles, the unbiased texts are illustrated with mostly black-and-white and sepia photos varying from postage-stamp size to full page. Some full-color paintings are included, and maps are used when appropriate. Although its format is more crowded and a little less inviting, Donald Sommerville's World War I (Raintree, 1999) is more in-depth and covers almost everything contained in these three volumes. Kathlyn and Martin Gay's World War I (21st Century, 1997) uses a personal-interview approach for much of its content and has less specific information about events. Hamilton's offerings make excellent introductions to the specific topics.-Eldon Younce, Harper Elementary School, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.