This post contains an affiliate link.
Nathan Hale teaches readers all about World War I through the medium of a graphic novel. Each nation’s characters are portrayed by a particular animal (i.e.: Britain is the English Bulldog) to help keep the characters straight.
So far, this is my absolute favorite book in the series! The author told an amazingly cohesive story, considering it spans years and involves many nations and many battles. The book doesn’t cover all of the battles or even touch on all aspects of the war, but it gives you a well-balanced overview of the entire war and the reasons behind the decisions that were made.
Prior to this book, I had never read anything about WWI. This was an excellent introduction to the subject, because it gave me a basic, broad understanding of a very complex subject. It’s certainly enough to start kids with, and if you’re older you’ll want to do further research. I will definitely be reading more books about WWI in the future, because now it’s not just this big, confusing war which gets jumbled up in my mind.
The thing that most struck me in this story was the sheer wastefulness that resulted from WWI. It started from a situation which could have been resolved with some wisdom and diplomacy. Unfortunately, hotheads won out and 9 million people lost their lives in the end. NINE MILLION–all because of the assassination of one man! Think about that for a while. I think this book is an excellent way to show kids the true nature of war, the huge toll that it takes, and the value of resolving conflict peacefully. It’s a very sobering story.
I recommend Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood to kids, from elementary through the teen years. Even for older folks, it’s a fun way to learn about history.
A favorite quote:
“Humanity is mad. It must be mad to do what it is doing. What a massacre! What scenes of horror and carnage: I cannot find words to translate my impressions. Hell cannot be so terrible. Men are mad!” (p. 87, from the journal of a French lieutenant, WWI)
Rating: 5 Stars
Until next time…