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'The Mother of All Battles'

by Zachary Kent

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-89490-528-7
Publisher: Enslow

 Bristling with patriotic fervor, Kent's (The Civil War, p. 480) undigested account of the Persian Gulf War pits heroic multinational coalition forces against the menacing but overrated troops of a vicious dictator, all in the cause of freedom. To say that the author pours it on thickly is to put it mildly. After opening with CNN's famous eyewitness account of the attack on Baghdad (``the reporters voices exclaimed `Oooooh,' then `Oooow' ''), he rapidly sketches the historical background before describing the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (``A few gallant Kuwaitis defended the palace'') and the barbaric behavior of the occupying troops. Operation Desert Storm and the ensuing Iraqi rout are covered in some detail, laced with justifications from President Bush, Saddam Hussein's bluster, sound bites from various generals and frontline soldiers, plus the parades of numbers and ordnance (``The pilots unleashed their laser-guided Hellfire antitank missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, and 30mm. guns''). Kent does touch on both sides' strategy and tactics, cultural clashes within the coalition, postwar cleanup, the foiled 1993 assassination plot against President Bush, and plenty of other topics, but he brings neither insight nor perspective to the conflict. A decidedly superficial view of this brief but violent episode. (Chronology; notes; limited bibliography; index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)