Thursday, November 8, 2007

In Honor of Those Who Serve

Hi guys, Carl and myself (The One, The Only, lets give a real big hand for Bill!) have decided that, in observance of Veteran's Day, November 11, 2007, we would combine our post for the blog. First I will let my esteemed colleague Carl speak about some really good books in observance of this important Day.

Hey, guys, Carl once again. This Sunday is Veteran's Day, a day set aside to remember and appreciate all those brave men and women who have served in the military, especially those who have fought a war. I said in an earlier post that the reason we're free to read what we like is because we have a Bill of Rights. Well, one reason the Bill of Rights still stands is because a lot of veterans fought for those rights. In honor of them, I'm going to talk about a couple of good, informative, and interesting books. Both of them are DK Eyewitness books. You've probably read one or two of them sometime, especially if you were looking up homework stuff. They're really valuable for getting quick overviews on just about any subject you could think of.

The first one is World War I by Simon Adams. This was called The Great War. The Great War To Save Civilization. The great war that was supposed to end all wars. "When will they ever learn..." But I digress. The political situation in Europe in 1914 was really tense. Seemed like everybody wanted a part of someone else's country or somebody wanted part of their country back. All it needed was one spark to set off a war and that's what happened when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914. Before long, everyone declared war on everyone else and The Great War started. This was the first war in which armies used modern technology like airplanes, tanks, and machine guns. Nobody was prepared for this and the war dragged on for 4 years. (America didn't enter the war until 1917, when Germany tried to get Mexico to invade the US!) This book will tell you about great battles like Verdun, The Somme, and the War in the Desert. You'll find out about life in the trenches, gas warfare, and what "going over the top" meant. Really great reading.

Another terrific read, World War II (also by Simon Adams) takes place after World War I. Germany lost that war and the terms of surrender were so humiliating that the Germans never forgot them. So about 20 years later came a man named Adolf Hitler who told the German people that if they followed him, he would make Germany the world's greatest power. World War II started when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Hitler had spent a long time preparing for this war and, once again, the rest of Europe wasn't ready when he swept through country after country. (The US came in when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) This book is full of epic battles like Stalingrad, D-Day, and the Battle of Britain. You'll learn how spies operated behind enemy lines, why the army wanted old pots and pans, and what it was like to be young in England, Germany, or Japan during the war.

Both books also have a great glossary at the ends, questions and answers, and how you can find out more. Get these over this weekend and if you know anyone who is or has been in the military, especially if they've fought or are fighting, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Great stuff Carl (man, that's a hard act to follow), now it's my turn (Bill, that is).

General George S. Patton served in World War II and was, in the eyes of many Americans, both then and today considered one of its greatest wartime commanders. He had many colorful sayings, some so colorful I can not print them here, but two of my favorites go as follows:

"The duties of an officer are the safety, honor, and welfare of your country first; the honor, welfare, and comfort of the men in your command second; and the officer's own ease, comfort, and safety last."

"You're never beaten until you admit it."

Carl has already expressed the same views I have about the brave men and women who serve in our military so
that we, the everyday citizens of the United States, as right and as imperfect as our country can be, can enjoy the taste of freedom. We owe them so very much in both the past and present day.

There are a series of Graphic Novels published by Rosen Central that we have in our Library System that I really think are great and deal with World War II. Some of these books are:

The Battle of Guadalcanal: Land and Sea Warfare in the South Pacific
The Battle of Iwo Jima: Guerrilla Warfare in the Pacific (I reviewed this book in an earlier post)
The Battle of Midway: The Destruction of the Japanese Fleet
The Battle of the Bulge: Turning Back Hitler's Final Push
D-Day: The Liberation of Europe Begins
Pearl Harbor: A Day of Infamy

I have read all th
ese books and they are just great titles to learn about the different battles, people, weapons, tactics and just about anything you want to know involved with the event the book focuses on. I will talk about the last two I recently completed:

D-Day: The Li
beration of Europe Begins by Doug Murray and Illustrated by Anthony Williams - This Graphic Novel begins with famous German General Rommel setting up defenses for the Atlantic coast of German occupied Europe that would likely be most inviting for an Allied Army attack. He starts to late and the Allied Troops begin the invasion of German occupied France on June 5, 1944 (D-Day) on both the beaches of France and by Paratroopers through the air inside France. The invasion of France by the Allies is shown to be extremely difficult, especially at the Omaha landing location, with casualties for both Allied and Axis Powers quite high. The Graphic Novel does a wonderful job of telling the story of D-Day from beginning to it's final success.

The Battle of The Bulge: Turning Back Hitler's Final Push by Bill Cain and Illustrated by Dheeraj Verma - The Battle of the Bulge was one of the bloodiest and most
important fights in World War II between the German Forces and the Western Allies. This surprise attack around Christmas 1944 would determine if the Allies would defeat the German Army or be forced to sign a peace treaty with them. This was a great and terrible battle on which the very outcome of the War would be determined. Read this Graphic Novel to learn about the battle, the heroic individuals who took part, and much more.

One last great thing about these Graphic Novels is that they include informational pages in the front about the specific World War II event, key players to each event, and detailed descriptions with actual pictures of events leading into what is depicted in the Graphic Novel. There are also after-pages in the Graphic Novels detailing happenings after the events described which are very detailed with photographs, a glossary, sources for more information and an index.

Well have a great weekend all and be sure to keep in mind both our veterans and those currently serving in our armed forces,


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