Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today

Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today
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Release Date
March 20, 2018
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The Second World War was the most devastating war in history. Up to eighty million people died, and the map of the world was redrawn. More than seventy years after peace was declared, children interviewed family and community members to learn about the war from people who were there, to record their memories before they were lost forever. Now, in a unique collection, RAF pilots, evacuees, resistance fighters, Land Girls, U.S. Navy sailors, and survivors of the Holocaust and the Hiroshima bombing all tell their stories, passing on the lessons learned to a new generation. Featuring many vintage photographs, this moving volume also offers an index of contributors and a glossary.

Editor review

1 review
War is not good for children and other living things.
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Learning Value
First News (https://www.firstnews.co.uk/) is a newspaper for children published in Great Britain, roughly akin to Scholastic News, but it seems that they have more in the way of child reporters. This book is a collection of interviews that these reporters filed with First News when they interviewed people (often relatives) who had lived through WWII. Divided into chapters headed with different experiences (The Outbreak of War, The British Home Front, The Fight For France, The Fall of Germany, etc.), this is a particularly British coverage of the war. This makes it a very good choice for US readers who think they know everything there is to know about WWII because they are familiar with the American home front and battle front. Things in Europe were very different.
Good Points
While some of the people interviewed were young adults who were in the army, many of the interviewees were the age of the children interviewing them. They talk at length about the evacuation of both German and British children to keep them safe, and discuss how difficult it was to leave their families, sometimes not seeing them for years. The privations of living in a country that was being occupied by the enemy and was under attack is not something most people in the US think about, but there are many heart rending stories of children who were living under those conditions.

The stories are all brief, vary widely in their topics, and are accompanied by pictures of the subjects during the war and as they appeared when they were interviewed. The beginning of the book gives brief bios of all of the children who interviewed people for inclusion in the book, so this gives a highly personal feel and deep sense of connection that another style of writing would not provide.

While this might be difficult to use for research due to the lack of index, Voices from the Second World War is an important volume to use to understand how WWII changed the lives of those who lived through it. Pair it with Partridge's Vietnam-era interviews in Boots on the Ground or with any number of fiction books set during this tumultuous time period.
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