Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, by Elizabeth Partridge | Book Review
The Children’s Book Review | May 31, 2019
Written by Elizabeth Partridge
Age Range: 12 and up
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (2018)
What to Expect: Military History, Civil Rights Activism, Women’s Rights.
There are many moments in the history of the United States that make it easy to be patriotic, but the Vietnam War has never been viewed as one of those moments: hotly disputed both in its own time and in ours, Vietnam raised thorny questions about violence, imperialism and ideology that have yet to be resolved today. Despite this continuing ambivalence, however, the complexities of the Vietnam War echo many of the issues relevant to young people today as they negotiate increasingly polarized American politics: issues about representation and the media, issues surrounding race and inclusion, and issues concerning patriotism and political activism. For this reason, Boots on the Ground offers young people a taste of historical documentary that feels relevant and fresh in the modern world.
The strongest aspect of Boots on the Ground is the use of documentary style photographs and interviews, which give voice and life to the real people who struggled to stay true to themselves during this troubled period in history. From presidents to protest singers, soldiers and war memorial designers, the book showcases the many talents and challenges of the real people who were touched by the war, and makes clear the point that patriotism can come in many shapes and forms. Special attention is paid to individuals from marginalized groups whose war efforts were not always appreciated: including Asian-American David Oshiro, African American civil rights activist Henry Allen, and refugee Hoa Nguyen, amongst many others. Readers are sure to be captivated by the wealth of detail brought to light by Patridge’s painstaking research, and the insights into modern America that they offer.
About the Author
Elizabeth Partridge is a National Book Award finalist, Printz Honor winner, and author of several nonfiction books for children, including Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange;This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie; John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth; and Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, by Elizabeth Partridge, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with American History, Non-Fiction, Vietnam War, and Speed Interview.
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