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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
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The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I

Jack Batten has taken on a broad and ambitious subject in his latest book, TheWar to End All Wars: The Story of World War I. Few topics are as broad and monumental as this one, but Batten has produced a highly readable and informative book.

To manage this, Batten has focused his attention exclusively on matters military. You won’t find the homefront in this book. But The War to End All Wars does a fine job of telling this military story from 1914-1918. It covers major ground, air and sea offensives on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. In fact, that is one of the book’s great strengths: While many books about the First World War in this country focus on the experience of Canadians, Batten has deliberately cast his eye on the epic battles (Somme, Jutland, Gallipoli, Tannenberg) rather than Canada’s role.

Canada is present – Vimy Ridge, Arthur Currie and Billy Bishop all takes turns on centre stage – but this is a book about the First World War, not Canada and the First World War.

Batten has done an excellent job of writing clear and simple prose, so students in Grades 7 to 10 will find it accessible, even if they are sent to their dictionaries for words such “hypocrisy” or “Bolsheviks.”

They may also need some maps as the book’s only ones are on the inside of the dustjacket, an unfortunate oversight for a resource aimed at those who need maps most. On the other hand, there is an excellent index and bibliography to help in the research process.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2010. Vol.33 No.2.

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