The Yanks are Coming by Albert Marrin

Marrin, Albert. 1986. The Yanks are Coming. San Luis Obispo, CA: Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 1893103110

Plot Summary:
The Yanks are Coming is a historical recreation of the involvement of the United States in the First World War. It begins in 1915 with the sailing and subsequent sinking of the Lusitania. The beginning of the book details President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to keep America out of war. The book goes on to explain President’s Wilson’s decision in the face of everything Germany was doing. Eventually, the United States was forced into war after Germany declare they would sink any ship Allied or neutral and make no effort to rescue potential survivors. The United States joins the Allies in their fight and the rest is history!

Critical Analysis:
Albert Marrin is an award-winning author who has written over 25 nonfiction books for young adults. He is a historian, professor of history and chairman of the history department at Yeshiva University, as well as a former junior high teacher in New York. Mr. Marrin’s writing makes this book feel like a novel, and not a historical account. The ability to retell history in such an engaging way demonstrates his passion for writing for this age group and for nonfiction stories.

The Yanks are Coming is presented in an easy to read layout and logical sequence of the events leading up to America’s involvement in World War I and then the events in the war. The book includes references to songs and rhymes readers may know like the camp song “Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall”.

Though Mr. Marrin provides no reference list for his text, the front of the book provides a list of photo credits, and pictures and newspaper articles for reference throughout the story. The photos complement the text, and are appropriately placed around the book’s large font. In the back of the book there is an index and list of other books the reader may find interesting about World War I.

In school history was my favorite subject so I may be a little biased on this book. If you are looking for a quality factual book that doesn’t feel too textbook-y, this may be the right book for you. This book provides factual details with a novel-like feel. For young readers who may be turned off to nonfiction, this could be a potential segue into the genre for them.

Awards and Review Excerpts:

No awards were given for his particular book.

“With excitement and vivid detail, Marrin describes America’s role in World War I from its belated entry in 1917, eager but unprepared, through the war at sea, in the air, and in the trenches to the final hard-won victory. He dramatically re-creates a routine flying mission in the first fragile fighter planes, depicts how the “doughboys” lived at the front and combines such general accounts with tales of individual daring and endurance.” –BookList

This book would be perfect to be used in a junior high or early high school history class.

Other nonfiction books students may enjoy by Albert Marrin include:
Hitler. ISBN 1893103102.
Stalin: Russia’s Man of Steel. ISBN 1893103099.
America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger. ISBN 1893103080.


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