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Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy…

Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During…

by Ann Bausum

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822219,453 (3.83)None



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Outstanding history book chronicling how civil liberties eroded while the U.S. ironically entered the war in Europe to "make the world safe for democracy." Bausum makes important connections between these events and those that happened before and after. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
"It took only 18 minutes for the ship to go down."
On May 7, 1915, the luxury passenger ship Lusitania was nearing the Irish coast, bringing nearly 2,000 passengers and crew from New York toward their English destination. At 2:10 pm, a German submarine fired a torpedo that tore a hole in the side of the ship, sinking it quickly. Many Americans were among the almost 1300 who perished, and the disaster was what drove America to enter World War I against Germany and its allies. Bausam draws parallels between the Lusitania and the attacks of 9/11, because both attacks were used in government propaganda, as reasons to enter wars, and as reasons to limit civil liberties. Just when is it acceptable to limit freedoms we take for granted -- like freedom of speech? Dramatic archival photos and reproductions of WWI-era documents, political cartoons, and propaganda posters contribute to an extremely well-designed and thoughtful book. There is a timeline, and a "Guide to Wartime Presidents" for eight separate wars, with notes on how the issues of personal freedoms were handled. Bausam includes detailed source notes, many quotations, and an extensive bibliography. 7th grade and up. ( )
1 vote KarenBall | Oct 22, 2012 |
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*Starred Review* Writer of the Sibert Honor Book Freedom Riders (2006), Bausum looks at America during the WWI period, when fear and intolerance led to the persecution of German Americans, socialists, and peace activists. Beginning with the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by a German submarine, she discusses government propaganda and the mounting public intolerance, outrage, and violence against all things German. New sedition and espionage acts enabled officials to intimidate or imprison those who might disagree with their positions. Without belaboring the point, Bausum connects the dots between responses to the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania and the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center. Although much of the detail in Bausum’s chapter on the Lusitania’s sinking seems irrelevant to the main theme, the book as a whole is well focused, well reasoned, and clearly written. Handsomely designed, it features color reproductions of period photos, drawings, paintings, and documents. Back matter includes citations, notes, a bibliography, lists of recommended resources, a detailed time line, and a useful “Guide to Wartime Presidents,” which identifies eight wartime periods in America and, for each, discusses whether (and how) freedom was curtailed and provides a presidential quote. A fascinating, informative book on a topic of perennial concern. Grades 8-11.
added by Ella_Jill | editBooklist, Carolyn Phelan
Gr 7-10–Comparing the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 to the 9/11 attacks, Bausum describes the events that would eventually lead the U.S. into the European conflict that ultimately became World War I. She then turns her attention to describing the destruction of civil liberties by President Wilson, Congress, and those in control of political power during the country's campaign to “make the world safe for democracy.” Freedom of speech was especially limited by the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Various government agencies and the courts encouraged citizens to spy on one another. Socialists such as Eugene Debs were tried, convicted, and given long prison sentences for speaking out against the war. Specific attention is also paid to the efforts of Edith Wilson and the president's cabinet to deceive the public and hide his debilitating illness. Black-and-white archival photos and political cartoons are arranged in an artistic manner with informative captions. Red and blue backgrounds create a dramatic effect in the layout of the text. Appropriate quotations by various people of the time are displayed in elegant fonts. Make this unique and timely offering a definite first purchase.
added by Ella_Jill | editSchool Library Journal, Eldon Younce
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Looks at how U.S. presidents from Wilson to George W. Bush have suspended or revoked guaranteed freedoms in the country during times of war, and includes first-person stories and illustrations.

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