World War Two: Against the Rising Sun (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Jason Quinn and Naresh Kumar
|World War Two: Against the Rising Sun (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Jason Quinn and Naresh Kumar|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: One of the brighter, more intelligent and concise ways adults can correct their ignorance of the Asian side to World War Two – just in time to teach the young.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 168||Date: September 2015|
World War Two – so often a lesson subject for our primary school children, even after all this time. Nazis, Soviets, Pearl Harbor – but wait. That last wasn't just the clarion call to the Americans to join in with the rest of our Allies – it was a mere episode in a fuller story – the half of the war that was never seen by those in Europe, beyond the fact the British Empire was certainly changed forever. The War in the Pacific is something I was certainly never taught much about in school, at any age. And here's a graphic novel version of the tale from a publisher in India that can serve at last as a salutary lesson.
Like its companion book, Under the Shadow of the Swastika, it really is an info-dump, but this time I found myself minding less about that. It could be that the script is much more reasonably delivered – yes, characters are invented alongside their polar opposite so should two sides to the same issue be needed one can play Devil's Advocate. But the fact that the narration works its way on to the page as a multiple-author diary – a soldier here, his enemy there, the first man's brother now older, and so on – means the false style isn't that noticeable this time round. Only when a dog tries to turn into a device to move us from story to another, a la Joey in War Horse do we think things are too clumsy.
Plus there is the fact that the info I had dumped on me was pretty much new. Yes, Midway, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima are names that are familiar, but could I really pin them down on a map? The Burma Road and the fall of Singapore – what context did I have for them? None, before now. How accurate was my previous source of knowledge – It Ain't Half Hot, Mum? This book pieces everything together (apart from the latter) – like its sister, managing to put a heck of a lot of detail on a few pages and never suffering as a result.
I think the artwork is better here – one or two of the many splash pages are ungainly, but while the photorealism we're promised never really turns up the whole thing looks pretty good, with a better dynamism to the page and more craft in the look of the piece. Which is why I am deeming this a more successful graphic novel than the book regarding the European war. It's also just as successful an educational work – with my ignorance of the subject it's hard for me to definitively declare this a definitive book, but it has the feel of such, and as such I really do have to thank and admire it for correcting a fault in my knowledge. I do have to have words with it in one regard – several times it features a map alongside the captions boxes, and not once do all the places the text refer to get shown on the images. That really was a shortfall in the way I, and many of the book's audience, would have learnt things. But learnt a lot I did, and so this book is really one to recommend.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Obviously, most publishers have been looking back further to the centenary of the First World War, examples of which are 50 Things You Should Know About The First World War by Jim Eldridge.
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You can read more book reviews or buy World War Two: Against the Rising Sun (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Jason Quinn and Naresh Kumar at Amazon.com.
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