Monday, November 22, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Unraveling Freedom

Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I. Ann Bausum. 2010. November 2010. National Geographic. 96 pages.

In the spring of 1917, as the United States prepared to declare war on Germany and enter the fight that would become known as World War I, perhaps as many as a quarter of all Americans had either been born in Germany or had descended from Germans. 

If you can enjoy a book about war, then I can definitely say that I enjoyed this one. The focus? On America's homefront during World War I. Bausum explores how individual freedoms--rights--were "unraveled" for the sake of creating a safer (better) America. With the war, differences--any differences--could make you a suspect--at least to your neighbors if not the government. Many things were now seen as being un-American. It went beyond suspecting those of German ancestry. It went beyond suspecting European immigrants.

Bausum could have easily kept the focus on one American war. Instead, she chooses to look at the pattern of how wars have a way of "unraveling" freedom and democracy. How fighting for those principles we love, often means compromising those freedoms--at least during wartime. She specifically makes a connection between the sinking of the Lusitania and World War I with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the Afghanistan/Iraq wars.

I found the book fascinating. The section on the Lusitania was heartbreaking, for example. If you're looking for a quick, compelling read, then I'd definitely recommend this one! I loved so many things about it--the layout, style, and format. It's just a beautifully detailed book. The use of color, space, photographs and other images and illustrations wowed me; everything just works well.

The back matter includes a guide to wartime presidents, a timeline, notes and acknowledgments, bibliography, resource guide, citations, index, and illustration credits. 

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

No comments: