My mother always told me that if you really wanted to understand something, read the kid's version. In this case it is all too true. I would not only encourage your kids to read this story but the adults as well. It will not only open your eyes to a time in history but it will also prove a fascinating point of discussion for you and your kids.
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Author: Steve Sheinkin
Target: Grades 6 and up
What this book is about:
Daniel Ellsberg worked at the Pentagon and was instrumental in running analysis on Vietnam. He believed strongly in the need for the US to stop the spread of communism. However, as the fighting escalated and more Americans and Vietnamese kept dying, he started to question the decisions that were being made. When he gained access to the Pentagon Papers, a secret government report which detailed the lies that were being told to the American people, he suddenly had the means to expose what was going on. But did Ellsberg have the right to expose top secret government information?
Why I love this book:
I have always enjoyed Sheinkin’s books. Bomb was an eye opening account of the race to develop nuclear weapons and the book won numerous awards. Most Dangerous is absolutely on par with Bomb and I actually liked it more.
Vietnam is overlooked in our educational system. I have a son in 11th grade and one in 8th grade, and neither one has yet to learn about this war. However, the ramifications of both the power of government and our right to know vs. our government’s need to keep some things secret are issues that are absolutely relevant to us today. Sheinkin makes the link with Snowden in the Epilogue and kids will see history repeating itself.
Sheinkin does an amazing job of educating the reader on the history of the region and the US involvement over four Presidents, all while creating a climactic and edge of your seat story. There were sections where I couldn’t put the book down.
Who this book is for:
This book is heavy on information so you have to have a kid who is interested in the story or the history. If it is something they are open to reading, this book is a real treat. It is history written as a compelling espionage thriller.
If I have one criticism of the book, it is that Sheinkin is obviously bias towards releasing secret documents as he feels that American’s have the right to know. However, there is a real question over whether any one person has the right to make that decision. While Ellsberg certainly agonized over the decision, I wish that Sheinkin had given more weight to the side which opposes the release of any secret documents.
To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.