Review: The War to End All Wars: World War I


Title: The War to End All Wars: World War I

Author: Russell Freedman

Publisher: Clarion Books- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010





Russell Freedman is a prolific writer of non-literature books for children.  Author of more than three dozen non-fiction titles for young people and winner of nearly two dozen awards (childrenslit), his self proclaimed goal is to stamp out the idea that non-fiction is boring (eduplace). Publisher Houghton Mifflin has cited that Freedman prefers to be called a “Factual Author” over a “Nonfiction Author”(eduplace).

Freedman’s overview of World War I entitled, The War to End All Wars, is anything but boring. Pertinent facts and shocking statistics are interwoven with first hand accounts in this page turning work on non-fiction. The book opens with a short collection of quotations, an author introduction, and a poem titled “Lost in France”. This really set the tone of the story of WWI for me as a reader and didn’t bog me down with facts or statistics, but rather gave me an idea of what is what like to be a person during the WWI era.

Freedman’s research is well rounded and trustworthy, and his writing is clear and easy to read making this a great book for both young people interested in WWI and for adults who would like an overview or need a jumping off point for further research. In The War to End All Wars, he shares nearly 7 pages of back matter including author notes, photo credits, a selected bibliography, and index to help readers trace information, compile further reading lists, and locate primary sources.

More impressive than the writing and research compiled in this work of literature, however, is the simply beauty of it as a book. The hardcover addition with it’s etched cover (under the dust jacket) and greyscale barbed wire theme throughout brings a feeling to the reader of the disparity felt by all sides during WWI. The photos are placed in such a way that take the reader through a journey with the people of the nineteen-teens. The book closes with a full page photograph of soldiers, ready to invade, and the line, “Once again, Europe was armed to the teeth.” This ending leaves the reader not only with facts and general knowledge about the war at hand, but also with an idea of what was in store for Europe following WWI.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in history and WWI, beginning at age 13 for reading level and historical context reasons.




Posted by: Janine Reads


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