A BOY AT WAR: A Novel of Pearl Harbor

Harry Mazer, Author, Henry Mazer, Author . S&S $15 (112p) ISBN 978-0-689-84161-3

Mazer's (The Last Mission) taut adventure adopts the perspective of a 14-year-old newly arrived in Hawaii to capture the chaos surrounding the unexpected attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Adam is fishing near Pearl Harbor when the bombs are dropped. "That sounds so real," he says to himself at the first explosions, not yet believing the planes and noise are not part of a war exercise or maybe a movie. Taken for a navy man, he is thrown into the attempts to save lives. As the attack continues, the resulting confusion is reflected in staccato and impressionistic language: "The water around the once-proud battleship was thick with oil, and it stunk. Smoke and filth. Life rafts, pieces of boats, and men floundered in the watery debris.... A foot, an arm. He saw everything through a red haze. He ran. He slipped in blood." As the turmoil subsides, the effect on Adam of a "whole life lived in that one day" is immediate and profound. A day earlier he was struggling to measure himself against his navy lieutenant father, only to lose his father in the sunken USS Arizona and become a man himself. Mazer successfully fuses a strong portrayal of Adam's transformation with both a vivid account of the attack and subtle suggestions of the complexities of Japanese-American relations as played out in particular lives. Expert work. Ages 10-14. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-25511-0
Prebound-Glued - 104 pages - 978-0-7569-4088-1
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-0-689-84160-6
Open Ebook - 112 pages - 978-1-4424-7211-2
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