An uninspired, unnecessary, superficial treatment of a critically important subject.

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THE HOLOCAUST

THE ORIGINS, EVENTS, AND REMARKABLE TALES OF SURVIVAL

Arresting visuals are the distinguishing feature of this introduction to the Holocaust for middle graders.

Divided into three sections, Steele’s capsulized chronicle begins by putting the Holocaust in historical context with information about centuries-old anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe, its co-option by Hitler and the Nazis in post–World War I Germany, and the systematic persecution of Jews with their rise. The second section covers deportations, concentration camps, the Final Solution, and acts of resistance by both Jews and Righteous Gentiles. Steele notes that Jews were not the only victims. The third section covers the liberation of the camps, displaced persons, the Nuremberg trials, and the founding of Israel. The abundant use of photographs is often visually striking, but the flat, dull, textbooklike writing is presented in clumps of text void of nuance, finesse, or narrative cohesion, resulting in a sadly simplistic treatment of a hugely complex subject. Minimal use is made of quotations from perpetrators, survivors, and liberators. There are no source notes, bibliography, suggestions for further reading, or even a list of websites listed in the end matter. Numerous books are already available on the Holocaust, offering a far more compelling and insightful overview of the subject.

An uninspired, unnecessary, superficial treatment of a critically important subject. (photos, maps, glossary, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-03040-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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THE CIVIL WAR AT SEA

In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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SHIPWRECKS, MONSTERS, AND MYSTERIES OF THE GREAT LAKES

Awash in mighty squalls, tales of heroism and melodramatic chapter headings like “The Lady Elgin: Death in the Darkness,” these marine yarns recount the violent ends of nine of the more than 6,000 ships that have “left the bottoms of Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior…littered with their wreckage and the bones of the people who sailed on them” over the past four centuries. For added value, Butts heads each shipwreck chapter with a photo or image of the unfortunate vessel. He then closes with so many Great Lakes monster sightings that they take on an aura of authenticity just by their very number, an effect aided and abetted by his liberal use of primary sources. Younger readers who might get bogged down in Michael Varhola’s more thorough Shipwrecks and Lost Treasures: Great Lakes (2008)—or turned off by its invented dialogue and embroidered details—will find these robust historical accounts more digestible and at least as engrossing. The bibliography is dominated by Canadian sources, as befitting the book’s origin, but there's plenty here to interest American readers. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-77049-206-6

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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