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50 Events from World War I

World War I in 50 Events

Written by James Weber

The author has taken a chronological/event-based approach to narrating the events of World War I. This book is divided into four main sections. The introduction discusses the groundwork leading to the outbreak of work going back to the end of the Franco-Prussian War and the enmity between France and Germany. It continues to the Battle of Mons. The next section picks up with the Russians suffering defeat at Tannenberg and ends with the British initiating military conscription. Section Three shows the tide of war changing as the Allies become actively engaged in Caporetto and concludes with the Turkish losing at Megiddo. The last section covers events from the Central Powers collapse and surrender to the signing of The Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately, the severe terms of the peace treaty lay the groundwork for simmering tensions, the rise of dictators, and the conflicts leading up to World War II.

Each event is discussed in a few pages. Weber singles out the most important issues, including photos of battle scenes and portraits of the important players. The text is set in large font, although the illustrations are rather small. While the information is not extensive on any one particular topic, the author manages to create a rather detailed, easy to read reference study. I would recommend the book to history buffs, middle and high school students and home school parents who wish to learn about the topic.

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY Book Series

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Naval Disaster Cover Up

The True Story of the Greatest US Naval Disaster: USS Indianapolis American History

Written by Patrick Spencer

This book is a fictional reenactment of the true story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis in July, 1945, and the trial of its captain, Charles McVay. The cruiser has just completed a mission that was even secret to her captain and crew and was on her way back to base in the Philippines. On a foggy night, she is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine under the command of Hashimoto. In a matter of minutes, the American ship sank below the black waters taking 300 of her crew with her. Some eight or nine hundred men, many burned and injured, were floating in the shark infested seas. It would be five days until they were spotted by air, and by that time less than half remained.

The most important part of this story is why was the ship was never reported missing, and how could the captain who has acted so valiantly to keep his men alive be charged with disobedience and negligence in the loss of his ship. This trial had a serious impact on the captain’s career and later life. What is even more astonishing is that it was not until a sixth grader named Hunter Scott decided to research the McVay trial that the true story became known. What was the mission of the USS Indianapolis and why was its disappearance never reported? Spencer’s reenactment of the tragedy allows the reader to experience the full range of emotions associated with this tragedy.

Recommended for readers age ten and older, particularly those interested in American history and politics.