Review Blog

May 30 2014

World War 1, unclassified by Nick Hunter

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781472905253.
(Age: 9+) Warmly recommended. World War 1, Archives. Another book produced with the authority of The National Archives in Britain, this is a fascinating introduction to the events and times of World War 1 and will be a boon to those looking at war, as it gives access to a range of documents, photos, diaries, postcards and maps usually not seen in the text books.
Looking at the contents page gives an overview of what is inside, and it includes some topics which can prove elusive to the student. The opening chapter shows life in the trenches, then the book harks back to the reasons for the war occurring, each double page covered with a meaningful brief text, photo, maps, and quotes, with a WW1 fact file containing an interesting piece of information. The expected chapters are there, Digging in, Trench life, Beyond the Western Front, Home front, each with a plethora of information, followed by chapters on topics such as Treating the wounded, Munitions factories, The war at sea, New weapons and War with words. The last chapters, Armistice, The cost of war, and Lest we forget, bring this whole to a sombre close.
The book concludes with a double page timeline, a double page glossary, and then two pages of extra references and resources, with a well stocked index at the end.
All in all a fascinating introduction to World War 1 for the younger child, and an admirable text for the older primary student. I am sure it will be well used in the library and classroom. I was particularly taken with the postcard on page 15, an example of what the men sent home. A wish or Christmas with a soldier pointing his gun at the recipient! On the following page is a photo of a trench system before and after bombing, and it beggars belief that people survived in the trench. A photo too of a horse drawn ambulance on page 29 got me thinking about transport on the battlefield, while
the photo on page 44 of a wounded man being carried off the field n 1917, brought home the difference between the land at the start and finish of the war.
Even though I have taught this topic for decades I found this an interesting and evocative book about a war which began one hundred years ago.
Fran Knight

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