Today is Veteran’s Day, the perfect day to remember not only the brave men and women who fought for this country’s safety and freedom, but also a war that stunned many—the first World War. November 11th, 2015 marks the 96th anniversary of Armistice Day, the date Germany and the Allies signed an agreement to stop the fighting. A good question to always ask about war is, “Why do we fight?” I doubt the answer is ever an easy one, but today, author Rebecca Rissman tries to answer that question in her new book, World War I: Why They Fought.
Series: Why They Fought
Written by Rebecca Rissman
Compass Point Books 9/01/2015
64 pages Ages 10—14
“WHAT WERE THEY FIGHTING FOR?
“WORLD WAR I: Why did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria spark World War I? How did a sinking ship and a telegram convince the United States to join the fight? How did patriotism and brotherhood motivate soldiers in the trenches? From the battlefields of France to the Russian Revolution, WORLD WAR I: WHY THEY FOUGHT reveals the motivations behind World War I from all sides. Go beyond names and dates and ask: why were they fighting for?” [back cover]
A world war should not be a simple thing to arrange, and World War I had a complicated beginning. First an assassination followed by an ultimatum. Then countries made secret alliances, but, as with most secrets, the alliances became well known. In response, an Allied alliance was formed. New weapons were developed, old wounds were still fresh, and bitterness over lost land and old wars chided political leaders. Put all of this together and you will find the onset of World War I.
Rissman has done an excellent job explaining WWI, how it was fought and why, and what brought about the end, in understandable kid sized bites of information. In its short 64 pages, Rissman explains how WWI was fought, what was new to the war machines and the combatants, and what life was like for the front line soldier. She also deftly explains the devastating effects of the war at home and how this war changed life forever, like no other war had. I am at awe. Rissman takes the reader from pre to post war, all simplified so kids can understand, and uses not one errant word.
The photographs show kids a war they’ve never seen. I doubt many kids picture men on horses when they think of World War I. This was a trench war, fought with a neutral section of land between the two sides. There are no drones, no helicopters to transport troops, and rifles with bayonets were still a weapon of choice.
I admit, one of the reasons I wanted to review World War I: Why They Fought was because I had no idea what this war was all about. The world still ran with monarchies, communism had yet to reach Russia, and democracy was a firmly American term. So much of this changed because of WWI. Men fought out of patriotism and nationalism, which Rissman expertly explains why these two terms are not alike or associated. And when men began to loss that enthusiasm, some troops decided to mutiny—on both sides.
There is so much detail about World War I that teachers can easily use World War I: Why They Fought in the classroom. Homeschooling parents should also seriously consider World War I: Why They Fought as a complimentary history text. If the other books in this series are as well-written and researched as World War I: Why They Fought, the entire series would be a wise investment.
Yes, Rissman has done an excellent job putting World War I: Why They Fought together. Kids will have a good understanding of not just WWI, but also the effects of war on individuals, families, and countries; all after reading and incorporating this little gem into their studies.
WORLD WAR I: WHY THEY FOUGHT. Text copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Rissman. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by illustrator. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Compass Point Books, North Mankato, MN.
Learn more about World War I: Why They Fought HERE.
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. . Compass Point Books is an imprint of Capstone.
Why They Fought Series
The Revolutionary War: Why They Fought
The U.S. Civil War: Why They Fought
World War I: Why They Fought
World War II: Why They Fought
Also by Rebecca Rissman
Animal Spikes and Spines
The Babysitter’s Backpack: Everything You Need to Be a Safe, Smart, and Skilled Babysitter
Shapes in Sports
. . —and many more
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: World War I: Why They Fought by Rebecca Rissman, and received from Compass Point Books (an imprint of Capstone), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
WORLD WAR I: WHY THEY FOUGHT by Rebecca Rissman. Illustrations © 2016 Capstone. Used by permission of Compass Point Books.