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YA Nonfiction Review: Boots on the Ground by Elizabeth Partridge

Title: Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam
Author: Elizabeth Partridge
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA non-fiction
Pages: 199 (plus notes and index)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA and Vietnam 

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): In March 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent troops into Vietnam. 57,939 American soldiers would be killed and 17 years would pass before this controversial chapter of American history concluded with the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982.

The history of this era is complex; the cultural impact extraordinary. But it's the personal stories of eight people - six American soldiers, one American nurse, and one Vietnamese refugee - that form the heartbeat of Boots on the Ground. From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic medic rescues and evacuations, each individual's story reveals a different facet of the war and moves us forward in time. Alternating with these chapters are profiles of key American leaders and events, reminding us what was happening at home, including Kent State, Woodstock, and Watergate. This show-stopping book is Elizabeth Partridge at her finest.

Review: I first heard about this book when Anne of My Head is Full of Books read it as part of her Cybils judging last year. I figured I would eventually get around to reading it and finally saw a copy at one of our school libraries. It was a National Book Award finalist and a Printz Honor recipient. Not bad credentials!

This book is so well done. It alternates political/historical chapters with chapters about eight men and women who were in Vietnam. Interspersing the facts with the personal stories will make this book appeal to youth who don't just want to read a dense history book. The photographs also make the stories and history come alive.

If you read this blog often, you'll know that I love a good Author Afterword that wraps things up nicely or tells us how a fiction book connects to the real world. Partridge does not disappoint because she lets us know what happens to each of the eight people whose stories we've read. Quite satisfying.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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