March 9, 2015

Top Secret Files: World War I by Stephanie Bearce

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:22 am by suebe2

Top Secret Files: World War I
by Stephanie Bearce
Prufrock Press

Why were American soldiers called Doughboys? What were the most frightening weapons of World War I?  Find the answers to these questions and more in Bearce’s latest book.  Okay, she can’t say exactly why the US men were called Doughboys but I love the fact that she’s forthright with her young readers.  She presents several theories but admits that the truth is lost in the dust of history.

And that’s what attracts young readers to books like this — the honesty.  She doesn’t sugar coat things.  Mustard gas?  Terrible and tortuous.  Zepplins?  Silent and, because of this, utterly terrifying because they carried bombs to drop on civilian populations.

With my own writing, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about history and war.  In spite of this, I always learn something from Bearce’s books.  I now know why the German submarines were called U-boats, the truth about the Red Barron, and the disgusting counter measure that soldiers were told to take against chlorine gas (it involves pee).  I also learned about many of this heros of the war ranging from the Harlem Hellfighters to the Russian Nightwitches.

As always, Bearce’s books include a hands-on component.  This time around readers learn how to create a dazzle paint job and when they might want to use it, how to make a periscope and some of the finer points of blending in so that you can spy.  She even includes a recipe for stay-fresh cakes that were baked by the Red Cross to cheer up our boys in the trenches.

Boys and girls both will find something facsinating in this book.  Although it is part of a series, the books do not need to be read in order of publication or chronological order.  That said, I’d be interested in reading the in chronological order of events (Revolionary War, Civil War, World War I and World War II) just so that I could see how techniques changed over time.

Pick this one up for the young history buff in your life.

–SueBE

 

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