Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue (Anglais) Relié – 1 mars 2011
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Atwood briefly lays out the background history of the war and each country's particular role before delving into the actual accounts of the women, which is helpful. The photographs and additional information such as speeches also adds a haunting immediacy to the already stirring text. Included are very helpful "Learn More" text boxes which provide the reader with important follow-up information. Also included are a glossary and notes.
This is a highly readable and engaging addition to the body of literature for grades 5-12 on this subject. Each account would easily work also as a short read aloud to inspire learning on this important topic. As a school librarian, I am looking forward to using this when my students study the second World War.
And as you look through the photographs of each of the 26, you see a something they all seem to have in common: this moral courage, this ability to look profound evil in the eye and not flinch. Some of them died, and though I already knew something of the story of the White Rose German resistance group, the photo of one of its members Sophie Scholl is what really haunted me. Her seriousness and yet she was the one who in the midst of the monstrous Roland Freisler's tirade at her trial,where she was sentenced to death, she simply shouted: 'Somebody had to make a start! What we said and wrote are what many people are thinking. They just don't dare say it out loud!' And these 26 young women said or did it out loud.
And while some were executed, many of them survived to pay testament to those who didn't, and keep up the idea of resistance to evil. Many of them lived to a ripe old age and I guess having made the most of life. Thank you to Kathy Atwood for bringing their stories to life and to light. Her style of recounting the events she recalls is gripping, but deeply humane and compassionate, informed no doubt by her own faith in humanity. The book has excellent additional resources on each of the 26 and would make a great gift to any feisty young women (and men) who wonder what life direction they should take. Here are 26 inspirational stories.
And for those who died saving others or fighting evil: we remember you and this book helps us in that necessary process.Thank you all. It occurs to me that while the Yad Vashem remembers the 'Righteous among the Nations' who helped saved Jews, perhaps this book is a step towards more general recognition of those who saved their fellow humans of whatever race, group, nationality, etc.
Billed as a young adult history book, Atwood's Women Heroes of World War II can easily be read by people of all ages. This is great because it is a book that helps to fill two large gaps in World War II history.
The first gap is that of the helpers or rescuers of Jews in World War II. This is a gap, I can hear you wonder. Well, yes and know. Everyone knows the story of Miep Gies, but Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is pretty much the only piece of the rescuer story that is taught in schools. This book introduces the reader to more rescuers. Miep Gies is not mentioned, and this is not an oversight. It allows Atwood to focus on lesser known people.
Atwood's book is split into sections. There is a general introduction, overview really, followed by sections about Germany, Poland, France, Netherlands, Beligum, Britian, and the United States. Each section includes, in addition to the stories of the heroes, a general overview of the country during World War II, with particular focuses on the role of women. While not all encompassing, the women Atwood focuses on could easily be fit into all sections (Slovak, Irish, Indian) and cover all age groups and social classes. While younger predominates, there are older ladies as well.
The importance of less known heroes is important. The best known three, at least in general, would be Irene Sendler, Joesphine Baker, and Marlene Dietech. While it is true that all of the women mentioned appear in books (some of have written books), very few appear in books that are used in schools. Atwood's book is readily accessible to schools not only in it's layout but in the amount of infromation it has. It would be a good textbook, good because it is not dull and dry. This is important because of the use and popularity of Saving Private Ryan and HBO's World War II mini-series. Atwood's book gives female students that in, taking away the feeling of absence that can be felt by women watching World War II movies.
Equally important, and tied to the above point, is that in addition to spies and rescuers, Atwood includes protestors, a nurse, and a reporter. She presents heroes of different types. The inclusion of the German dissenters is important for this reason as well. Atwood has both tragic and happy ending stories, but all are inspiring. She gets full points for tastefully relating some of the harsher elements of the stories (the focus of the stories is the War experience, however, additional facts are provided).
The layout of the book is excellent. In additionally to the chapter introductions and wonderfully selected photographers, there are little boxes in each section, giving more detailing to terms, historical events, people, or speeches. At the end of each woman's chapter, Atwood provides a book that includes infromation for further reading on the woman. These are repeated in the book's biblography, with books for children (or accessible by children) starred.
Perhaps the book is too focused on the European theatre, though this allows for a larger variety of women and, perhaps, there will be a second volume about the Pacific (hint, hint). Perhaps an inclusion of Twenty Jataka Tales under Noor Khan's further reading book would have been nice. But these are very small quibbles.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in World War II and for any parent of a young girl.
The book opens with an overview of world events leading to WWII; then moves into the profiles of the women heroes, arranged by home country. I love that this book is international in scope, and includes both famous (Marlene Dietrich, Corrie Ten Boom) and everyday women.
Filled with photographs, bibliographies, and more, this is an essential title for school libraries but also a great pick for any reader interested in history. While written for Young Adult readers, this book does not flinch at the horrors of war and will appeal to readers at a higher reading level well - my 70-year old mother in law loved it and my husband enjoyed it, as did I!.