Title: We Were Heroes0-545-39889-4
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Pages: 137
Reading Level: 11-14
Star Rating: ★★★

A fictional journal.

The Story.

All of his life, Scott Pendleton Collins has lived under the shadow of those two faces. They peer down at him from the living room wall – his great-grandfather who fought during the Civil War, and his father, who fought during the First World War. Their uniformed figures urge him to join the fight for freedom. And Scott is eager to meet their challenge.

He signs up for the army and is sent overseas. He takes his journal with him to record the new experiences. They are more startling than he could have ever foreseen.

Discussion.

We Were Heroes does a great job presenting the war as it really happened – in starts and stops with periods of intense fighting and others of irritating inaction.

I really appreciated this bit from Scott’s chaplain, explaining how wars start.

“First, people tolerate evil because they see some benefit to themselves,” he said. “Then, they feed it in hope that it will turn into something else. Then, they appease it in hope that it will not turn against them. Then, they respect it because they fear it. Finally, someone has to step up and stamp it out! That’s the assignment we’ve been given, to stop this evil that Hitler and his Nazis represent.” [pg. 51]

Scott experiences lots of battle field violence. Nothing quite so intense as All Quiet on the Western Front or Soldier’s Heart, but still strong stuff. Scott also mentions having heard that the Germans cut off prisoner’s eyelids.

Scott writes off and on about meeting girls in various countries and going (or wanting to go) on dates with them. He and his comrades compare the “eagerness” of girls from different countries. He also writes letters to a girl back home named Angie Gardiner, who he claims to be almost in love with. In an epilogue we find out that both of them marry different people.

In an unnecessary bout of frankness, Scott refers to his male organs by a slang term.

One persons plays a game of poker.

Variations of God’s name are used three times – ‘crap’ is also used a few times.

Conclusion. Not the most historic resource on WWII.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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