Elizabeth Partridge’s book, Boots on the Ground is a 2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist. In what may be her best book yet, the author brings history to life, through first person interviews and photographs. Boots on the Ground brings the Vietnam War into sharp focus for our young adult readers.
In Boots on the Ground, the author presents first person interviews with people with very different perspectives on the Vietnam War, including soldiers, medical personnel, a protester state-side, and a refugee. These personal narratives are interspersed with facts of the U.S. government and societal views occurring at the time, as well as treatment of veterans after the war, and the creation of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. The book is a visceral immersion into the war.
Books to Read Next:
More on Vietnam:
Vietnam A History of the War by Russell Freedman
This book includes many photos, and gives a straightforward history of the war. Teens looking for more about the war will find it here.
Hitler Youth :Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Another book including photos and text to great effect elucidating 20th century history. Teens who want more of a look into war history will appreciate this book.
More first person interviews:
Deborah Ellis’s Off to War and Children of War
Teens intrigued by the primary accounts of real people affected by warfare will find first-person interviews in these two books. The books are collections of interviews of children affected by the more recent war in Iraq. Off to War has interviews of U.S. soldier’s children, while Children of War interviews Iraqi children who are refugees, mostly living in Jordan.
It’s Not all Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak Out from St. Stephen’s Community House
Stepping away from war, this book includes interviews with multiracial young people. They share their experiences growing up with mixed race identities. Once again, teens looking for a view into other people’s life experiences will enjoy this book.
And on a lighter note:
Wheels of change: how women rode the bicycle to freedom (with a few flat tires along the way) by Sue Macy
A previous Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist, this book is similarly paced with lots of photos and history. Teens can read this book for a lighter view of history in the late 19th century United States.
More from the author
Her other books for young adults:
John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth (a Printz Honor recipient)
Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange
This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary
Find out more about Elizabeth Partridge and her work at her website.
Elizabeth Partridge continues her work of making 20th century history come to life; I look forward to her next project, whatever that may be.
-Cathy Outten currently reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean