THE GOOD FIGHT by Stephen E. Ambrose


How World War II Was Won
Age Range: 9 - 12
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In what is plainly a packager’s distillation of far better work by the noted historian, what should have been exciting and heart-stirring—thanks to strong photographs—is reduced to a hop, skip, and a jump due to a weak text. The arrangement is an appealing one, similar to coffee-table books for adults: the openings are clean and clear—“Quick Facts,” a small photo of an event, the text dealing with the subject at hand (a battle, a place) facing a full-page photo of the event, situation, or characters. The photos are telling; the text, though, skimps on details, facts, and conclusions that the uninformed young reader needs. The Quick Facts recitals of odd bits of detail (how many bombers, clichés about personalities, etc.) are useless unless a reader knows how to fill in the importance of such trivia. But the packager does not provide that essential background information. The photos (most of which may be assumed to have been shot in black and white) are offered in a variety of colors, perhaps to make the presentation more attractive, but even without that, they would be the strongest component. There are no dates for them, however. Each spread treats a different topic, bouncing from one to another with less than obvious connection. So, for instance, the subject of Japanese-American relocation centers is placed in between the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Atlantic. And far too often what are contained in the text are trite phrases and worn-out images. Too bad. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84361-5
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2001


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