A well-researched account of one American family during a little-known episode of World War II.

ATTACKED AT SEA

A TRUE WORLD WAR II STORY OF A FAMILY'S FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL

From the True Rescue series

The true story of a family caught in a U-boat attack in U.S. waters.

In May 1942, the White American Downs family—8-year-old Sonny, 11-year-old Lucille, and their parents—boarded a nonmilitary freighter for a one-week journey from Costa Rica to New Orleans. However, just hours before reaching Louisiana, their ship was attacked by German U-boat commander Erich Würdemann and his dedicated crew in the Gulf of Mexico. Part of Operation Drumbeat, their goal was to sink as much seafaring tonnage, military or civilian, as possible. When the family was separated during the U-boat attack, it took all of their courage, hope, and luck to survive. A stand-alone book in the True Rescue series, this title is the young reader’s edition of So Close to Home (2016). A prologue establishing characters and settings is followed by three parts: before the attack, during and immediately following the attack, and the aftermath. Filled with details from primary sources, including letters, interviews, newspapers, war diaries, and more, the third-person narrative swiftly switches, highlighting different members of the Downs’ family and two U-boat commanders. The Downs family’s upright wholesomeness and their complete belief in the American dream bypasses many opportunities for authentic emotional exploration. Although the tone feels academic at times, quotes from letters and diaries evoke the historical era.

A well-researched account of one American family during a little-known episode of World War II. (authors’ note, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-12806-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Levinson builds her dramatic account around the experiences of four young arrestees—including a 9-year-old, two teenage...

WE'VE GOT A JOB

THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN'S MARCH

Triumph and tragedy in 1963 “Bombingham,” as children and teens pick up the flagging civil rights movement and give it a swift kick in the pants.

Levinson builds her dramatic account around the experiences of four young arrestees—including a 9-year-old, two teenage activists trained in nonviolent methods and a high school dropout who was anything but nonviolent. She opens by mapping out the segregated society of Birmingham and the internal conflicts and low levels of adult participation that threatened to bring the planned jail-filling marches dubbed “Project C” (for “confrontation”), and by extension the entire civil rights campaign in the South, to a standstill. Until, that is, a mass exodus from the city’s black high schools (plainly motivated, at least at first, almost as much by the chance to get out of school as by any social cause) at the beginning of May put thousands of young people on the streets and in the way of police dogs, fire hoses and other abuses before a national audience. The author takes her inspiring tale of courage in the face of both irrational racial hatred and adult foot-dragging (on both sides) through the ensuing riots and the electrifying September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, then brings later lives of her central participants up to date.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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