Reviews for Good Fight : How World War II Was Won

Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 July 2001
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 7-12. Historian Ambrose's handsomely illustrated overview, a chronological series of one-page essays covering everything from the origins of World War II through the Marshall Plan, will be an instant hit with browsers and a good place for researchers to begin their work. It's an excellent balance between the big picture and the humanizing details, well supported by fact boxes, tinted photographs, and battlefield maps that are both simple and clear. But what makes it more than standard curriculum support is the author's voice. It's evident from the title and the sentimental cover photo that this is no cool retelling of events. Ambrose's style is authoritative and warm; he obviously wants readers to understand the sense of sacrifice and duty that stirred a nation. Teens growing up in a world some feel is steeped in irony and detachment may find the writing occasionally heavy-handed ("It was a great victory brought about by ordinary men who wanted nothing more than to go back home, but first they had a job to do"), but sophisticated readers will learn as much about the times from Ambrose's tone as from the history itself. ((Reviewed July 2001))Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

BookPage Reviews 2001 June
If you're a history buff of any age, you will not be disappointed by The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won. Stephen E. Ambrose, a world-renowned author and historian, trumpets the feats of unsung American heroes as he chronicles the major military campaigns in Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Atlantic and Pacific arenas. Significant events including the Manhattan Project, the holocaust, the war conferences, war crimes trials and the Marshall Plan are woven into the fabric of this comprehensive WWII compendium.

In our age of technology, smart bombs, Star Wars movies and missile defense strategies, the younger generation will be astounded to learn that our armed forces trained for combat with wooden rifles, flour bags for grenades and trucks for tanks. Even the most knowledgeable reader may be struck by how unprepared the United States was for battle. By all accounts, we should have lost the war; but we didn't. It is with heart-swelling pride that Ambrose attributes our ultimate success to the determination, initiative, commitment and courage of America's fighting forces. Specific examples such as Operation Husky profile an American soldier who declined individual recognition and promotion to remain with his regiment. These men fought out of duty and loyalty and succeeded because of faith in a cause greater than their own.

Authentic WWII photographs are very effective in tandem with the written account of events. Together with numerous maps, there are 38 full-page photos plus quarter-page photo inserts on the text pages. All of them are moments of triumph and reflections of devastation that transport the reader to another time and place.

Ambrose's The Good Fight is a stunning portrait of America's innate goodness as a beacon to freedom that could not be extinguished or even diminished by the world's most ruthless tyrants. America rose to meet its greatest challenge and therein lies a lesson for us all.

C. Elizabeth Davis is a former marketing director for the education division of Turner Broadcasting System. Copyright 2001 BookPage Reviews

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Fall
The noted historian traces World War II from its origins to the postwar Marshall plan. A series of double- (and occasional quadruple-) page spreads explain, from both a broad perspective and through pithy anecdotes, topics such as the Battle of Midway, Japanese-American internment centers, D-Day, and the Holocaust. Each spread contains a box of ""quick facts"" and color or tinted photos. Occasional maps are also included. Bib. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Kirkus Reviews 2001 May #1
In what is plainly a packager's distillation of far better work by the noted historian, what should have been exciting and heart-stirring-thanks to strong photographs-is reduced to a hop, skip, and a jump due to a weak text. The arrangement is an appealing one, similar to coffee-table books for adults: the openings are clean and clear-"Quick Facts," a small photo of an event, the text dealing with the subject at hand (a battle, a place) facing a full-page photo of the event, situation, or characters. The photos are telling; the text, though, skimps on details, facts, and conclusions that the uninformed young reader needs. The Quick Facts recitals of odd bits of detail (how many bombers, cliches about personalities, etc.) are useless unless a reader knows how to fill in the importance of such trivia. But the packager does not provide that essential background information. The photos (most of which may be assumed to have been shot in black and white) are offered in a variety of colors,perhaps to make the presentation more attractive, but even without that, they would be the strongest component. There are no dates for them, however. Each spread treats a different topic, bouncing from one to another with less than obvious connection. So, for instance, the subject of Japanese-American relocation centers is placed in between the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Atlantic. And far too often what are contained in the text are trite phrases and worn-out images. Too bad. (maps and index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2001 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 April #2
Veteran adult historian Ambrose (D-Day June 6, 1944; Citizen Soldiers) hits the mark with this patriotic photo-survey of America's involvement in WWII. His highly visual and textually concise approach make clear the giant scope of a war that truly spanned the world. The author covers a great deal of factual information by breaking down the events into digestible sections of one to two spreads each (the D-Day invasion, photos of the concentration camps, and the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki each have two spreads). Topics vary from the origins of the war in both Germany and Japan to Japanese-American relocation camps to the Manhattan Project and women in the work force, always keeping an eye to the human side of war and sacrifice. Carefully selected quotes reinforce the individual's experience, such as Major Richard Winters's reaction when his troops liberated concentration camp prisoners at Dachau: "Now I know why I am here." Ambrose also points out the irony that the U.S. battled a racist Hitler with a segregated army, and effectively argues that the exemplary performance of African-American troops paved the way for integration in the army and, eventually, for the civil rights movement. Haunting and powerful full-page and inset photographs bring each subject to life, including Joe Rosenthal's famous flag-raising after the battle of Iwo Jima. Because of the brevity, some issues such as Russia's temporary alliance with Germany are not discussed. The format succeeds in allowing Ambrose to flash back and forth between events around the globe, creating a heartpounding urgency. Ages 9-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2001 May
Gr 6 Up-Whenever a celebrated historian produces a volume for young people, one wonders if he will write for them or merely condense and chop. Ambrose does write for them in a beautifully abbreviated style with strong verbs, clear subjects, and a minimum of adverbs. Beginning with an explanation of the origin of the war in Europe and Asia, the text moves on to Pearl Harbor through the major battles to the war-crimes trials and the Marshall Program. Although driven chronologically by major military events, the narrative does include a bit of social and economic history, discussing the manufacturing strength of the United States and the establishment of relocation centers. Of course generals and major officials are quoted, but it is the variety of information gained from the soldiers' letters that gives the most interesting flavor. Well-chosen pictures prove that children were not exempt from the effects of war. A French toddler is held up for a friendly handshake with a GI on a half-track. Two boys are shown viewing the ruins of their city. A Japanese child with an atomically melted face sits dutifully at a school desk. All of the images are guaranteed to draw readers closer. Matching the excellence of the text is a superb layout. Full-page pictures- some of which are monochromed in attractive blue, purple, green, or sepia-appear opposite matched initials and fact boxes. Ambrose brings this compelling chapter of history to life for a new generation.-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2001 June
As World War II becomes more a part of the past, Ambrose attempts to connect those of its generation with today's youth through this book, dedicating it to the grandchildren of the war's veterans. The introduction describes this period as a very dark time in history and includes quotes from soldiers about the personal values that led them to fight. Throughout the book, Ambrose shows the nobility of the members of this generation by chronicling the sacrifices they made and the risks they took for the common good during the Second World War. Especially noteworthy is the section on the Marshall Plan, which describes through some memorable facts the generosity of the American people. The content is thorough and spread evenly over both the War in Europe and the Pacific Theater, often underrepresented in history books. This diligence, along with a modern emphasis on women and minorities, contributes to the freshness of the book. Japanese American relocation camps, African American troops, and "Rosie the Riveter" are also covered. The layout of the book is beautiful. Each section is made up of a full-page tinted photograph, snapshots, a box of quick facts, and the text for the chapter. Full-page maps are interspersed throughout. Younger teens or reluctant readers interested in World War II will enjoy this book. At times it is apparent that Ambrose is not yet comfortable writing for this age group, because his language does not flow. Despite this quibble, The Good Fight will make a good addition to a school or public library.-Jenny Ingram. Glossary. Index. Photos. Maps. Biblio. 3Q 2P M Copyright 2001 Voya Reviews