Children and War

A Historical Anthology

313 pages

August, 2002

ISBN: 9780814756676

$27

Paper

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Authors

James Marten is Professor and Chair of the History Department at Marquette University. He is author or editor of more than a dozen books including The Children’s Civil War and four NYU Press books: Children and War: A Historical Anthology; Children in Colonial America; Children and Youth in a New Nation; and Children and Youth during the Civil War Era.

All books by James Marten

All books by Robert Coles

The American media has recently "discovered" children's experiences in present-day wars. A week-long series on the plight of child soldiers in Africa and Latin America was published in Newsday and newspapers have decried the U.S. government's reluctance to sign a United Nations treaty outlawing the use of under-age soldiers. These and numerous other stories and programs have shown that the number of children impacted by war as victims, casualties, and participants has mounted drastically during the last few decades.

Although the scale on which children are affected by war may be greater today than at any time since the world wars of the twentieth century, children have been a part of conflict since the beginning of warfare. Children and War shows that boys and girls have routinely contributed to home front war efforts, armies have accepted under-aged soldiers for centuries, and war-time experiences have always affected the ways in which grown-up children of war perceive themselves and their societies.

The essays in this collection range from explorations of childhood during the American Revolution and of the writings of free black children during the Civil War to children's home front war efforts during World War II, representations of war and defeat in Japanese children's magazines, and growing up in war-torn Liberia. Children and War provides a historical context for two centuries of children's multi-faceted involvement with war.

Reviews

  • "This anthology is breathtaking in its geographic and temporal sweep." 

    Canadian Journal of History

  • "A significant, timely, and provocative collection, Children and War raises disturbing questions about the ways in which wars and equivalent actions have impacted the lives of children. It also explores the ways in which planners and policy makers used children to further their own aims and purposes. We all know that war is unhealthy for children; Children and War shows us how and why this is the case." 

    —Joseph M. Hawes, author of Children between the Wars

  • "Throughout history, children, who are the least responsible for war, have suffered the most from it. And the perceptive and wide-ranging essays in this indispensable anthology enable us to understand why."

    —William M. Tuttle Jr., author of Daddy's Gone to War