War Is...

Review By Berk Snow

War Is...

Written by Marc Aronson & Patty Campbell

Published by Candlewick Press, 2008

ISBN: 9780763636258

Genre: War

Grades 9 & up


War Is... in my opinion is a pretty good book. I believe that you should be in 9th grade or over to read it because there are some challenging parts about this book like the short stories about the soldiers, the organization of this book, and the choice of wording in the book that I dont think a 6th grader would know. There are also some bad, inappropriate words in this book that I think could have been cut out or propitiated.

But I do like the concept of this book. The book tells you the ups and downs of past, future and present warfare. One of my favorite parts of this book is in the first few pages, where it states what war actually is and then gives a short summary of it. It also tells you of a man by the name of Emiliano Santiago and how he got screwed over by the military. He signed paper that he sould have read thouroghly and didnt, so when he though the was done serving our country in 2005 turns out he was wrong. He now has to serve our country till the year 2033.

Other Reviews

Marc Aronson thinks war is inevitable. Patty Campbell thinks war is cruel, deceptive, and wrong. But both agree on one thing: that teens need to hear the truthful voices of those who have experienced war firsthand. The result is this dynamic selection of essays, memoirs, letters, and fiction from nearly than twenty contributors, both contemporary and historical — ranging from Christian Bauman's wrenching "Letter to a Young Enlistee" to Chris Hedges's unfl inching look at combat to Fumiko Miura's Nagasaki memoir, "A Survivor's Tale." Whether the speaker is Mark Twain, World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle, or a soldier writing a miliblog, these divergent pieces look war straight in the face — and provide an invaluable resource for teenagers today.


Two editors give this anthology of writing about war a split personality. In her introduction, Campbell describes her “passionate revulsion toward war”; in his, Aronson argues for the inevitability of war and the need to understand it. The pieces cover both angles but vary in power. Highlights include the fine reportage of Ernie Pyle and Chris Hedges, the anguished Nagasaki memoir of Fumiko Miura and strong short stories by Mark Twain, Rita Williams-Garcia and Margo Lanagan. Less powerful and literary in comparison are a “miliblog,” interviews and letters. Since many of the pieces are about the war in Iraq, oddly absent is a piece analyzing how the United States got involved in the first place. A Further Reading section, offering a long list of classic and young-adult literature about war categorized by particular wars, ancient to modern, is especially valuable. An essential resource for readers, librarians and teachers, with important writings they might not come across otherwise.