McKenzie's Boots

Michael Noonan, Author Orchard Books (NY) $0 (249p) ISBN 978-0-531-05748-3
Although he is only 15, tall, strapping Rod is able to talk his way into the Australian army during World War II; he joins a platoon fighting the Japanese in New Guinea. A sympathetic encounter with an enemy soldier makes him aware of their shared humanity. Some time later, Rod is killed in battle, and, as a souvenir, the Japanese take Rod's enormous boots. His outraged mates storm the camp to regain them; years later one of them realizes that the Japanese troops considered Rod a genuine hero, and that the boots were taken out of respect, not as a morbid wartime trophy. Despite effusive prose and heavy-handed symbolism, Noonan creates many scenes of graphic intensity and presents a largely glorified vision of battle. But, perhaps because he writes primarily of individual acts of daring rather than the daily horrors of infantry warfare, the focus is a boyishly old-fashioned view of fighting, oddly romantic in this post-Vietnam era. Ages 12-up. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 238 pages - 978-0-7022-1989-4
Hardcover - 249 pages - 978-0-531-08348-2
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