Great Naval Battles of the Twentieth Century by Jean-Yves Delitte and Giuseppe Baiguera
This graphic novel presents three the major naval battles: the Battle of Tsushima, the Battle of Jutland, and the Battle of Midway.
In the Battle of Tsushima, the Russian Baltic Fleet is ordered to reinforce the fleet at Port Arthur, but their way is blocked by the English control of the Suez Canal. By the time they make it around Africa, the Japanese have decimated the forces at Port Arthur. The Japanese navy deals another blow at the Straight of Tsushima as the Russian fleet tries to sneak through on their way to Vladivostok.
The Battle of Jutland was a showdown between the British Royal Navy and the German Kaiserliche Marine. This was one of the final battles of World War I, and helped the British reaffirm their supremacy over the seas, despite the heavy losses dealt to them here by the Germans.
The Battle of Midway is one of the most famous battles in World War II. In this chapter, four pilots, friends since childhood, are separated from their post at Pearl Harbor and reassigned to different areas. One ends up at Midway, flying ancient planes in a vain attempt to stop the Japanese fleet. At a critical moment, the Americans break the Japanese code and find out that they plan to attack the base at Midway. The American forces lay a trap for the Japanese fleet, and turn the tide of the War in the Pacific.
I really appreciated the addition of fictional characters that Delittle added to each of the chapters because it meant that there was someone in each chapter that I could care about. Having a very bad history education, I didn't know that certain characters were on doomed ships. Had I had more information, I probably would have understood that some of them were going to die based on the ship to which they were stationed.
The strongest of all the chapters was the Battle of Midway. The story of the four friends was heart-wrenching and made the tragedies more impactful. The chapters on Tsushima and Jutland were not as interesting. There is a lot of build up to the battle, then a very quick depiction of the battle, and then a really short or nonexistence resolution post-battle. A narrative voice is inserted within the second story and isn’t present throughout - it is only used when convenient, rather than consistently lending information that could be critical to the reader.
Some of the characters were presented with great bias. The Japanese were presented as unintelligent, and Eric/k, the boy from French Moselle who wants to be German, is treated rather unfairly throughout. Character use slurs for the Japanese in two of the chapters, which is probably for historical accuracy. There is some adult language and some sexual suggestiveness in all three chapters as well.
The ships are drawn with great detail, but characters all look very similar and indistinguishable at times. The coloring is beautiful and vibrant.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability level: Grades 10-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: Dead Reckoning
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
ISBN: 9781682475249 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Nonfiction, History, War, Dead Reckoning
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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