Title: World War II: Fight on the Home Front
Author: Kate Hannigan
Series: History Comics
Major Themes: Graphic Novels, World War II
Synopsis: An engaging overview of how World War II America helped support the war effort, and how it changed American culture in the process.
I’ve always found history fascinating, and when I saw World War II: Fight on the Home Front recently, I was intrigued. In my opinion, graphic novels are an excellent way to share history with a generation with short attention spans—and while I don’t think I have the problem of a short attention span, I find the comic format both easy to read and informative. I was impressed by the information that was packed into this book, too—and I was surprised by how much was new to me!
As the subtitle suggests, the focus of this book is on what happened to Americans at home while World War II was being fought overseas. Having read many books set during or close to World War II, but few actually set in the US at that time, I found this focus fascinating. This book starts with a brief overview of how the war started and what countries, up to the point of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, were involved in the war. Then it details how men enlisted or were drafted to fight, and how the children of the US worked together to support the war effort. I found it fascinating to read about vehicle factories being transformed into producers of military vehicles, how victory gardens took off, and how the war forced people into jobs they wouldn’t normally have taken otherwise.
One of the most interesting things (to me, anyway) was thinking about how things that happened during the war influenced where the US is now. For example, this book talked about the sugar shortage, and how people were encouraged to use things like molasses or corn syrup for sweetening instead—and that made me wonder if that’s part of the reason why corn syrup is still heavily used as a sweetening agent today. Other things are more obvious, such as women taking up the slack in jobs that were typically male-dominated before; although that wasn’t the start of feminism, it certainly helped boost the movement.
I found World War II: Fight on the Home Front to be a fast, easy, gripping read. Much of what was in here felt new to me or it had been years since I last heard about it. Although it can be fascinating to read about battles and adventure as people escape their enemies, I believe books like this can be just as important in showing us what it was like for the average person with the war being waged elsewhere. Everyone made sacrifices—but not all sacrifices looked the same. If you’re looking for a resource to help your children get a more rounded picture of World War II, I’d highly recommend this book. It isn’t perfect, but it covers a wide swath of the events and realities children and adults faced in America over the war years—everything from the beginning of paperback books to SPAM loaves, how ration books were used, the American Japanese internment camps, Navajo code talkers, and even a brief mention of conscientious objectors. I’m looking forward to sharing this book with my siblings!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: As is fairly typical with books like this, it tends to be pro-war and fighting, not something I believe Christians should take part in. Pg. 14: Story of a 15-year-old boy who was killed in fighting. Pg. 34 (and elsewhere): Messaging encouraging women to work away from home. Throughout the book, there are mentions of men who were killed in the fighting (no description of how they died, just that they died.) Pg. 109: Illustration of a skull when telling of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, a quote from Captain Robert A. Lewis: “My God, what have we done?”
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15