Monday, October 15, 2007

Historic Photos of World War II: North Africa to Germany

Last week, I received a review copy of Historic Photos of World War II: North Africa to Germany in the mail. The book is by Bob Duncan and published by Turner Publishing Company.

The scope of the book (as the title suggests) is the European Theatre of World War Two with a bit of Africa thrown in. Not as obvious is the American focus of the book. Duncan writes in the preface, "Other nations also played important roles in that liberation. Even within the occupied countries, partisans fought back against the occupiers. It is not the intent here to diminish the courageous actions and sacrifices of America's allies. Rather, just as a photographer may focus on one soldier out of thousands to tell a story, so too this book focuses on America's role in destroying fascism and bringing liberation" (p. viii).

The book is divided into three chapters consisting of chronological pictures. These photos are accompanied by commentary by Duncan. Most of his comments are insightful and sometimes even amusing. For example, I loved his comment on page 136 of "You watch fellows, we will be in the history books one day!" However, I was a bit annoyed that he felt the need to highlight the rubber boots used to fight trench foot three times (on pages 170, 171, and 174). I found the comments helpful and they helped transition the timeline of the book as I turned the pages.

This book was an easy and fun read. I perused it over the course of two days while watching football games. It was easy to put down, pick up during commercials, and then put back down again when the game resumed. I was able to feel some connections with the some of the soldiers pictures and some of the civilians as well. And, I am very thankful I did not have to experience this war in person. Duncan is successful in communicating the horror of this war while still highlighting the personal side of the conflict.

This is a nice book and well worth the $39.95 price. If you do not buy it, at least let your local librarian know this would be a good addition to the World War Two collection of the library.

No comments: