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Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Homefront During World War I Hardcover – November 9, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Comparing the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 to the 9/11 attacks, Bausum describes the events that would eventually lead the U.S. into the European conflict that ultimately became World War I. She then turns her attention to describing the destruction of civil liberties by President Wilson, Congress, and those in control of political power during the country's campaign to “make the world safe for democracy.” Freedom of speech was especially limited by the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Various government agencies and the courts encouraged citizens to spy on one another. Socialists such as Eugene Debs were tried, convicted, and given long prison sentences for speaking out against the war. Specific attention is also paid to the efforts of Edith Wilson and the president's cabinet to deceive the public and hide his debilitating illness. Black-and-white archival photos and political cartoons are arranged in an artistic manner with informative captions. Red and blue backgrounds create a dramatic effect in the layout of the text. Appropriate quotations by various people of the time are displayed in elegant fonts. Make this unique and timely offering a definite first purchase.–Eldon Younce, Anthony Public Library, KS. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Writer of the Sibert Honor Book Freedom Riders (2006), Bausum looks at America during the WWI period, when fear and intolerance led to the persecution of German Americans, socialists, and peace activists. Beginning with the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by a German submarine, she discusses government propaganda and the mounting public intolerance, outrage, and violence against all things German. New sedition and espionage acts enabled officials to intimidate or imprison those who might disagree with their positions. Without belaboring the point, Bausum connects the dots between responses to the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania and the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center. Although much of the detail in Bausum’s chapter on the Lusitania’s sinking seems irrelevant to the main theme, the book as a whole is well focused, well reasoned, and clearly written. Handsomely designed, it features color reproductions of period photos, drawings, paintings, and documents. Back matter includes citations, notes, a bibliography, lists of recommended resources, a detailed time line, and a useful “Guide to Wartime Presidents,” which identifies eight wartime periods in America and, for each, discusses whether (and how) freedom was curtailed and provides a presidential quote. A fascinating, informative book on a topic of perennial concern. Grades 8-11. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1250L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426307039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426307034
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,095,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann Bausum writes about U.S. history from her home in Wisconsin, and speaks across the country about her work as an author. In 2014 the National Geographic Society published her first book for adults simultaneously with her tenth work for younger readers. Both books--Sergeant Stubby and Stubby the War Dog--celebrate the almost-forgotten story of a stray dog smuggled to Europe during World War I who returned to the United States after serving in the trenches and became a national celebrity.

These books are the latest works from a career of writing about under-told stories from the past. Her works for young readers have earned consistent recognition from librarians, peers, and reviewers. Marching to the Mountaintop (2012) won the Carter G. Woodson Award (middle grade level) from the National Council for the Social Studies and was a Jane Addams Children's Book Honor title. Other recent works include Unraveling Freedom (2010), another book that captures forgotten history from World War I, and Denied, Detained, Deported (2009) which also received the Carter G. Woodson Award (secondary level).

Muckrakers (2007) earned the Golden Kite Award as best nonfiction book of the year from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Freedom Riders (2006) gained Sibert Honor designation from the American Library Association, and With Courage and Cloth (2004) received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award as the year's best book on social justice issues for older readers. These and other titles appear on numerous lists of recommended and notable books.

Bausum's other books chronicle the nation's chief executives and their spouses--Our Country's Presidents (2013, 4th edition) and Our Country's First Ladies (2007)--as well as the exploits of intrepid explorer Roy Chapman Andrews (Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs, 2000). Find out more about the author, her writing, and her author appearance programs at: www.Ann.Bausum.com. Follow her on Facebook.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Who could have predicted that WWI would become the hot literary topic for child readers in 2009-10? I remember when I was a kid and WWI was glossed over in the midst of my time-pressed teachers' efforts to explain about WWII. WWII was always the war that got more attention, and for good reason. What is there to say about a war that was fought for no good reason and left a nation ripe for the rise of Hitler? Lately, though, a couple authors have found ways to present WWI for young readers in ways that not only explain the war but also delve into its deeper meanings. There was Truce by Jim Murphy, which talked about the first year of the war and how close the soldiers on the home front came to ending it on their own. Then there was The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman which may be the most thorough examination of the war as written for young readers yet. I like both of those books, but the title that has particularly captured my heart is "Unraveling Freedom" by Ann Bausum. Taking the war away from the reader's focus, Bausum places her attention not on the front, but at home. Why does America fight for freedom while simultaneously denying its citizens their own freedom at home? This is more than just a single war Bausum is talking about. When examined under the right circumstances, WWI is just a standard operating plan for a lot of wars fought before the 20th century, and a lot of wars since.

Thousands of Germans lived in America on the eve of WWI. Then the hysteria began.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cecelia J Taggart on September 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I learned a lot about world war 1 especially but I found myself wishing there was a more enjoyable way to learn this information
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