Brimming with courage and patriotism, these riveting true stories from WWI bring the war to life. The narrative is enriched with 100-year-old photographs, authentic recruiting posters, and chilling quotes from the battlefields. Shock troops to canteen workers, US soldiers and volunteers persevered "to make the world safe for democracy." Whether locked in bloody battle or dropping "paper bombs" from an early airplane, every story is astounding.
The Young Adult book earned a 2019 Independent Publishers' Bronze Medal for multicultural nonfiction.
Lauerman effectively sheds light on these neglected and overlooked female and BIPOC soldiers–many of whom were ultimately denied Veteran status by their government–without romanticizing the Great War and its tragedies. Despite the title’s emphasis on stories, the book’s tone and structure suggests an inviting textbook, offering sidebars and well-chosen illustrations that illuminate concepts like “no man’s land” or terms like liberty bonds. Like a textbook, this extensive, meticulously researched account at times places more emphasis on historical events than on the humanity of the participants. Words straight from the subjects themselves are illuminating but appear mostly as block quotes, so these insights and details aren’t woven compellingly into the storytelling. Lauerman leaves it to the facts, the photographs, and the feats themselves to sell the stories.
Overall, Lauerman’s lost stories uncover rarely heard chronicles of soldiers, linemen, “flying schoolgirls” and more, accounts that will open readers’ perspectives to the innumerable forgotten heroes of the era. For young students and World War buffs alike, Lauerman’s celebration of the “plucky” courage of individuals who “put their personal safety aside” and often “defied authority” will entertain and inform as it provokes further in these too-often unsung heroes.
Takeaway: An inviting celebration of forgotten acts of bravery by overlooked heroes of the great war.
Great for fans of: Michael Morpurgo’s Only Remembered, Tony Bradman’s Stories of World War One.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A