World wars in the headlines

7th November 2003 at 00:00
HISTORY THROUGH NEWSPAPERS: The Western Front in World War I. By Paul Dowswell

HISTORY THROUGH NEWSPAPERS: The Home Front in World War II. By Stewart Ross. Hodder Wayland pound;10.99 each

An invaluable resource aimed at key stage 3 students, The Western Front in World War I examines how newspapers reported events on the Western Front.

Thirteen subjects, including gas attack, the shell shortage and conscription are each covered in clear, double-page spreads. Each comprises a contemporary newspaper report, a photograph and an overview of the event.

It is hardly surprising that the flow of information and the spin put on it were strictly manipulated, although considering the jingoism of many publications such strictures seemed hardly necessary (most considered their role to be one of supporting the war effort). In an evaluation of each report, Dowsley successfully dissects their whys and wherefores, and investigates how some succeeded in circumventing the censorship of the day.

Also aimed at KS3, The Home Front in World War II follows an identical format. Not only do the newspaper reports cover expected themes such as the war of words and the Blitz, but also some of the less obvious, including "making do" (rationing) and "keep smiling" (entertainment).

Reproducing an agony aunt column from the Daily Mirror is a novel take on the issue of overseas personnel in Britain. Each article is thoughtfully scrutinised by Ross, who introduces a number of questions that are certain to encourage classroom debate.

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