The authors of the books I am reviewing today are both excellent and prolific nonfiction writers for junior/young adult readers. Martin Sandler, author of Apollo 8, has published over 60 books on a variety of topics, many that I had in my high school library. Last year his book, The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found was the Cybils winner for JH Nonfiction. He has won five Emmy Awards for his writing for television and two of his books were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Neal Bascomb, author of The Grand Escape, has published eight books, all narrative nonfiction, and three of them are for young adults. All of his inspiring stories are focused on adventure or achievements of individuals.
When I started reading The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century I was a little confused. I kept picturing in my mind the POW prison break of WWII, made famous in a movie starring Steve McQueen, called The Great Escape. But that actual escape was made possible because of the knowledge learned by the earlier escape made by countrymen during WWI. Several of the officers who escaped Holzminden went to work informing their countrymen in techniques for escape and how, even if the attempt isn't successful, escapes take enemy manpower away from the front line which helps the war effort.
The book reads like the best adventure novel I've ever read. I highly recommend it for high school and adult readers.
Willaim (Bill) Anders snapped the shot of the most iconic photo ever taken. It is of Earth as seen from the moon and is called Earthrise. The photo has “became a symbol of the Earth’s fragility, a reminder of just how small and insignificant the Earth’s place in the universe truly is.” The success of the Apollo 8 mission catapulted America's space program into high gear leading to the lunar landing of Apollo 11 just seven months later on July 20, 1969.
|Earthrise, taken by Bill Anders from Apollo 8, Dec 24, 1968.|