Greg M. Romaneck
Children's LiteratureWorld War II remains the most destructive conflict in global history. In six years over fifty million people perished because of the ambition of a few dictatorial leaders and their minions. In a war that spanned the globe, men, women, and children died in a conflict that did not differentiate between civilian and military foes. America entered this war after the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. For four years American servicemen and women waged an unrelenting struggle to defeat the Axis Powers. In battles with primarily the German and Japanese forces, American military personnel helped stem the tide of aggression and liberate vast areas of the key theaters of operation. In World War II Virginia Schomp continues her "Letters from the Battlefront" series. As in the other four books in this excellent series, Mrs. Schomp combines a deft hand with historical narrative with a touching collection of wartime letters. The author traces the course of the war in a concise yet comprehensive manner. Keynote events are amplified by the insertion of fascinating letters drafted during those tumultuous days. Taken as a whole this approach offers an insightful glimpse of the World War II experience as seen by the men and women who served through those years. Thus, this book will be a fine addition to the library of any youngster who has an interest in World War II or military history in general. 2004, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 12 up.
Greg M. Romaneck
Library JournalGr 5-8-In these companions to the "Letters from the Homefront" series (Benchmark), Schomp examines the World Wars from the viewpoint of those who fought and observed them. Although the series name implies that the books are mostly collections of letters, much of the narrative is devoted to discussion of the American entry into the particular conflict, military strategy and important battles, and the experiences of African Americans and women. A conclusion analyzes the respective war's mixed legacy. The format is similar to that of "Homefront," with a text that incorporates numerous excerpts from letters and other primary sources as well as the 12 to 14 fuller letters from men and women who were fighting, observing, or reporting on the conflict. Sidebars provide additional information. Schomp is objective about the causes of the wars, the reasons for American involvement in them, and the importance of U.S. contributions to their outcomes. A conclusion analyzes the respective war's mixed legacy. Average-quality period photos, illustrations, and propaganda posters, mainly in black and white, are included, along with a time line. While these books provide a perspective about the human side of the conflicts, they are not as interesting and attractive as Adriane Ruggiero's World War I and World War II (both Benchmark, 2002), which are better choices for both general reading and research.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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