My sister called me today and said that my 11-year-old nephew has become very interested in WWII. She had given him Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day" to read and he really enjoyed it but she was looking for further ideas. So, does anyone have any good ideas along those lines?
I've looked over my own shelves and have pulled down a few books to lend him but a lot of the books we recommend as standards seem a little dense for even a bright 11-year-old. I would love to loan him the books that really got me started at around the same age, the "Ballentine Illustrated History of the Violent Century" volumes, but the ones I still have probably would not survive anything but the most gentle handling. Is there anything else like that out there that might be in print?
Remember, these would be for a future grognard, not a current one, so very general histories would be okay. Also books with good color plates of ships, aircraft, and armor - I was drawn to those at that age, bet he is too.
Cuttlefish, I'm surprised by some of the responses. You say your nephew is 11? I can only recall where I was at at that age; if my reading age and grasp on life and things generally was typical, then I would steer clear of all books that dig deep into specific battles and campaigns.
I got started - as you suggest in your last paragraph - on general histories with LOTS of pictures and fantastic full colour Maps. My dad had Purnells History of the Second World War which was the business. I can't say I "read" much of it at 11, but it was great to look at - the map showing the army strength of each side pre the Battle of France and Barbarossa, the numerous pictures of battleships and aircraft carriers (only the big beasts held my interest then). These were what got me hooked on the subject. This together with my brothers books on naval warfare, although again I was only interested in the big colour reference books! Some DVD's could help too - at nine years old I was watching the World at War - a series of 26(?) programs, each looking at different episodes of WWII - highly recommended if you can get hold of that for him.
The detailed stuff then came later; as I got older I started actually reading these general histories and that fed my thirst for more knowledge and the reading of the more detailed books. I think the problem of stepping in to the detail too early is that your nephew becomes overwhelmed by the detail, finds it too hard a slog and turns off.
That's my 2 cents - I fully accept that we are all different and maybe at 11 I was just slow but if I was typical then I would say its a gradual process. It would not hurt to get your nephew into computer wargaming to help that process along -NOT WITPAE!! but some of the more general (but historical) WWII games for now.
Hope that helps.
EDIT - Sorry forgot the suggestions:
The World Encylopedia of Military Aircraft - Angelucci
The World at Arms - Readers Digest (good high level reading that covers the whole conflict; a kind of abridged version of Purnells History of the Second World War))
Conways - All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1922 - 1946
The War at Sea - John Hamilton (Full of great colour pictures to go with the text)
A bit more detail, but as an intermediate step I think Osprey do a great collection of books on individual campaigns and battles etc - have alook at their website
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 7/21/2010 6:14:07 AM >
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805