InvasionInvasionInvasion by Walter Dean Myers by Walter Dean Myers

I’ve read other books by Myers, and he’s a dependable author for me, so I expected to enjoy this one despite military history not being my favorite. And I did, in large part because Myers’ focus isn’t on the military tactics aspect that I don’t enjoy, but on the experiences of the individual soldier, which I do. All in all, this is a good book about the time period, with a focus that isn’t often found in books for this age range.

My one real complaint with the book is (and this is a possible spoiler for some events, so read on only if you don’t mind knowing some of what takes place in the book) that the description of it makes it seem like there will be significant interaction between the white and black soldiers, Josiah and Marcus. Instead Marcus appears at the very beginning, and once or twice more later in the book he’s there for a few pages. If you’re expecting a lengthy look at the war from the perspective of a black soldier, it’s not here, so I wouldn’t pick it if you’re wanting something discussing race beyond the most superficial aspects*. I hate criticizing books for not being something other than what they are, but because of the description of this one, it seems to set this up for possible disappointment if you’re thinking it will be something else.

While I haven’t read them, two of the author’s other books have a connection to this one, although they can be read in any order apparently. Marcus Perry, the black soldier who appears so briefly in this book, is related to the main characters in the books Fallen AngelsFallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and Sunrise Over FallujahSunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers. I’m looking forward to reading both of them.

If you do read this one, don’t miss the authors’ note at the end – it’s excellent, and gives some details about the writing of Invasion, and the inspiration behind Fallen Angels and Sunrise Over Fallujah.

Recommended, with some strong cautions that should be fairly obvious given the topic of the book – it follows an ordinary soldier through the Normandy Invasion of D-Day, and events shortly afterwards. There is a small amount of profanity (although nothing like I’d imagine it really was like among soldiers), but mostly it is the violence of war, sudden death, and the risk of death at any moment could make it so inappropriate for younger or more sensitive readers.

(*For a great book on that, covering the same age range – or even a bit younger – , try Courage Has No Color. It’s nonfiction, but very readable.) [Read more…]