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The stories that made national headlines in the 1940s Dec 23, 2003
When the 1940s began the world was at war, although few Americans thought the United States should become involved. Of course, that all changed on December 7, 1941, and World War II is indeed the backdrop for most of what young students will find in this look at the "History of the 1940s." Once again Rennay Craats teases readers with some of the headlines from the decade (e.g., "Jackie Robinson Triumphs," "Gandhi Calms Riots," "Israel Independent") and a Time Line of events from Warner Brothers' animated heroes Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Daffy Duck taking the nation by storm in 1940 to twelve nations singing the North Atlantic Treaty alliance in 1949. Within the pages of this slender but informative volume, Craats provides brief articles explaining the importance of these people and events from the decade.
Like all of the volumes in the 20th Century USA series, "History of the 1940s provides a supplemental volume to the standard American history textbook. This is especially true of this volume, which actually says relatively little about World War II, focusing more on what else was making headlines during that decade. Young readers will find entries on a B-25 crashing into the Empire State Building, Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First" routine, Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, Joe Louis becoming the heavyweight champion, and Frank Sinatra becoming known as The Voice. The contents are arranged by topics, from Disasters, and Trends to Music and Foreign Affairs. Most of the entries have photographs or other illustrations. For young students understanding that their grandparents (or great grandparents) were saying words like "gung-ho" and listening to "platters" while dancing the jitterbug, living with rationing during the war, and swooning over Sinatra will make this period of history come more alive than reading about D-Day and the Atomic bomb. Even if students do not want to avail themselves of these details, their teachers can certainly find some nice tidbits from these books to work into their lectures and class discussions.