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The Good Fight : How World War II Was Won Hardcover – May 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Packed with photos (color and black-and-white), maps, personal stories, and concise, readable descriptions of the major events of World War II, bestselling author Stephen E. Ambrose's The Good Fight is a stunning resource for students of history. Though this horrific war has been written about innumerable times over the last half-century, this chronicle for young readers (14 and older) is one of the most vivid, insightful, and straightforward perspectives around. Ambrose pulls no punches. In the first paragraph of his introduction, he reminds us that "more people were killed, more houses, apartment buildings, factories, bridges, and other works of man were destroyed than ever before or since." From Hitler's rise to power to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor to the air war over Europe to the War Crimes Trials, the major events of the war are thoughtfully examined and depicted.

Each chapter features one of the most important campaigns, players, situations, or battles, with a full-page, often chilling photograph covering half the two-page spread and inset photos on the narrative page as well. Quick Facts boxes appear in every chapter to highlight interesting and relevant details. Large campaign and battlefield maps are interspersed throughout. Readers will come away with a painfully real sense of what life was like in the 1930s and '40s for the soldiers, families, women workers (Rosie the Riveter is included, of course), heroes, and victims of this most devastating, cruel war. (Ages 14 and older) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689843615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689843617
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#58 in Books > History
#58 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Chances are that most teenagers today have or had grandfathers who served in World War II and grandmothers who helped with the war effort at home. Yet those experiences seem like ancient history to many young people. This superb volume should help bring home the message of why the American war effort was so important, and the magnitude of the sacrifices that were made on their behalf. Hopefully, these materials will then encourage these young people to ask their grandparents about their World War II experiences, and help create more connections to and understanding of those worthy elders.
This book is a brief pictoral history of the war from the American perspective. The book's format is to take about 30 themes and develop them briefly. The tools used are brief essays, moving quotes from participants, photographs, and battle maps. Most subjects are handled in two pages (including photographs), but some go on to become four pages (such as the Holocaust). My only complaint about the book is that some photographs are reproduced in one color that makes the detail hard to see. Black would have been less appealing, but the photographs would have been easier to examine.
Those who know Professor Ambrose's work will recognize the quotes. Sergeant Mike Ranney of Easy Company in the 101st tells this story about speaking with his grandson.
"'Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?'
'No,' I answered, 'but I served in a company of heroes.'"
Quotes like that are worth the price of the book for conveying the World War II experience to this generation of Americans.
The book is good for pointing out problems and injustice. You see black Americans training with World War I guns. You see Japanese-Americans being interned in concentration camps.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an important presentation of WWII from the invasion of Europe to the holocaust. The tone is appropriate for young students and the design is impressive for older students. If there is a single title to acquire on the war as a whole for middle grade, this is the book to get.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By joelle ollier on May 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary book! I was amazed at how Stephen Ambrose could write the story of World War II for a young audience. My daughter asked me a lot of questions--she was really interested in Rosie the Riveter! And my son wanted me to explain more. The photos and illustrations did a wonderful job adding to Ambrose's words. I have to say that I learned some things that I didn't know, too! Thank you, Mr. Ambrose for taking such a complicated subject and telling it in a way that kids can understand.
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42 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Shane on March 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book has nice pictures but book makes some major errors. I would not recommend it to any youth for this reason. For example, there is a photo on page 41 with a caption saying that the men in the photo are marines in Tarawa. First off, they are not marines - they are army men (you can tell by the uniform) & secondly, the photo was taken in Makin which is part of the same atol as Tarawa but is technically not Tarawa. Ok, fine... I can normally let something like that slip by. But what is worse is when you turn to the map on page 9, it indicates the Pearl Harbor attack as Dec. 7, 1943. I had to close the book and toss it into the nearest wastebasket after reading this. If editors were sleepy enough to let this slip by, it seriously brings to question the veracity of what is said in other points of the book. I am not talking about them getting the date wrong in some obscure minor battle, but they got the date wrong with PEARL HARBOR - come on now!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Traill VINE VOICE on September 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book, geared towards young readers in middle school, is a useful, short book designed to give these readers some appreciation for World War II in both theaters of war. It semi-obviously promotes the American viewpoint, but still has enough interesting data and anecdotes to bring the human side of the conflict into focus. It has plenty of maps and illustrations/photos, and would be helpful in school sna libraries to provide younger citizens with an idea of what service is all about, and intirduce them to good history telling.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Timothy A Meis on May 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am really not that amazed that my nine-year-old nephew loved this book, after all Stephen Ambrose wrote it, the pictures are great and the topic is timely (what with that new WWII movie out). What I'm surprised with is how much I enjoyed reading it. Most of us know a smattering of WWII; Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, but again and again I found myself saying "Wow, I didn't know that!" Ambrose has a knack for telling a great story through the eyes of individuals, and what story from the previous century could be greater? The more I think about this book, the more I am convinced it is a great way of introducing children to the courage and greatness of our G.I.s, as well as impressing upon them the destructiveness of war.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Wang VINE VOICE on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not an introduction to WWII history. It is a patriotic guide to American victories in WWII. It starts at 1941, skipping the first 4 years of fighting in China and 2 years in Europe. It does not bother with the few setbacks the US experienced nor the early deficiencies in US military organizations and equipments. It has no in-depth analysis into how the battles were fought and why the outcomes came about the way they did. In short, it is a piece of triumphal propaganda.

Knowing that this book was meant for kids, I did not really expect an objective and comprehensive work of history. I thought it would suffice for my eight-year-old, who is a real WWII buff. Well, he read the first few pages and began to flip through the rest. He then looked up to me and said, "This book sucks. It is for babies!" Fortunately, I had War in European History on the shelf. He was satisfied.
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