by Richard Panchyk
Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2002. Pp. xii, 164.
Illus., maps, diagr., gloss., bios., cyberology, biblio, index. $17.95 paper. ISBN: 1556524552
A Younger Reader’s Introduction to the Second World War
Panchyk, who has written several works for younger readers, including histories of New York and of cartography, offers us an accurate account of the Second World War appropriate in language and complexity for younger readers.
Panchyk covers the war in five broad chapters. These cover the origins of the war, the events into 1942, the Home Fronts, operations in 1942-1943, operations in 1944 and D-Day, the Holocaust, and the culminating campaigns in Europe and the Pacific. Naturally this is done in overview, given the introductory nature of the book and its intended audience. Although tending to an American perspective, Panchyk does cover the role of the other powers in the war.
In his text and through the use of a mix of quotations, side-bars, and picture captions, Panchyk deftly touches on such topics as the German American Bund, particular weapons, military organization, the war and popular culture, the plot to assassinate Hitler, rationing, and much more. Nor does he avoid the grimmer aspects of war, notably in his treatments of aerial bombardment and of the Holocaust.
The hands-on projects he recommends include how to make bandages, growing a Victory Garden, code breaking, “The Physics of Dropping Bombs”, and even a game on ration management.
A volume in the Chicago Review Press “For Kids” series, World War II For Kids is an excellent introduction to the history of the Second World War for younger readers, which many older folks may find interesting, and even amusing.