Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Profiles: World War II

Profiles: World War II

Aaron Rosenberg
For ages 9 to 12
Scholastic , 2011   ISBN: 978-0545316552

Many writers have told the story of World War II by giving a chronological account of what happened during the years leading up to and during the war. This is an excellent way to learn about what took place when. When did Hitler come to power? When did Britain declare war? When did the Allies start to win the war?

In this book Aaron Rosenberg tells the story in a different way. He looks at the lives of Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hirohito, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Through their stories he shows us how these men came to become leaders during the war years, and how their decisions affected the events that took place at this time.

The author begins by looking at the life of Adolf Hitler, who was the son of an Austrian customs official and who felt the indignities of Germany’s defeat in World War I very personally. He blamed the victors of the war for Germany’s problems, and set about doing what he could to raise up Germany to become the one world power.

Josef Stalin was similar to Hitler in that he came from very humble beginnings and yet he managed to claw his way to the top through sheer force of will, ruthlessness, and good luck. Like Hitler, Stalin thought nothing of killing anyone who got in his way, and he was always looking for ways to solidify his position in the political arena.

By contrast, Both Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt came from rich and influential families, and they both saw pretty early on that Hitler was a threat. Churchill did his best to warn the British government of the threat that Hitler posed, but his words of warning were ignored. Thankfully, he formed a close friendship with Roosevelt, and together they worked to defeat Japan, Germany, and Italy. Together they also formed a solid front with Stalin to defeat the Axis powers.

The six biographies in this book are well written and carefully presented in such as way as to make the information in the book engaging for young readers. Annotated period photographs, quotations, and sections of background information give the narrative an added dimension.