Kirkus Reviews QR Code
KIPLING’S CHOICE by Geert Spillebeen Kirkus Star


by Geert Spillebeen & translated by Terese Edelstein

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 30th, 2005
ISBN: 0-618-43124-1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

“John Kipling was just one small officer in the Great War,” the war to end all wars. He was 18 years old in his first and last battle. He was the only son of the world-famous author, Rudyard Kipling, who pulled strings to get John into the army. “Perfectly timed,” Rudyard thought of the war. “Here was John’s chance.” Moreover, Kipling’s wartime writing rallied the nation, his verses like oil on the fire. Second Lieutenant Kipling suffers horrific injuries as part of the Irish Guards in France, and Spillebeen’s grim narrative tells the alternating stories of John’s death throes and how he ended up a soldier in the first place. His death breaks his father, who’s horrified at what he has done. “How many boys have I written into the grave,” he wonders. This powerful anti-war novel, made even more powerful by its roots in a famous author’s real life and his evolution from war zealot to embittered, broken father, deserves a place beside All Quiet on the Western Front. (epilogue, bibliography) (Fiction. 12+)