________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 33 . . . . April 29, 2016


Hard as Nails in Wars and Battles. (Hard as Nails in History Series).

Tracey Turner. Illustrated by Jamie Lenman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $23.96 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1526-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1522-1 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Military history-Juvenile literature.
Soldiers-Juvenile literature.
War-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



Arthur Wesley joined the British army two years before the French Revolution began. He immediately began building a reputation as a brilliant general and all around tough guy. He fought in India and in the Peninsula War, in which Britain supported Portugal and Spain against Napoleon and revolutionary France. By the time Wellington met Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, he had been made Duke of Wellington and was famous for his military tactics.

Can history be made interesting for the uninterested, or easy to understand for those who are overwhelmed by all the different dates and names? The "Hard as Nails in History" series tries to do so by presenting the facts in small paragraphs and alongside colourful cartoon illustrations. Each person in Wars and Battles is rated in two ways. They are given a "Hard as Nails" rating between one and ten, and their cunning, courage, survival skills and ruthlessness are measured on the "Hardometer". Wars and Battles, which can be read as a standalone, doesn't have to be read from page one forward. Many readers may do what I did which was to go through the book and find the person with the highest rating and read about that person first. Deborah Sampson was given a rating of 9.3 because she disguised herself as man so she could fight with the army in the siege of Yorktown. She fought while wounded, and she helped lead a night raid which led to the capture of 15 men. Readers learn of her fate in the last sentence. The battles are not arranged in order, but they do include wars (World War I and II, The Kalinga War, The Persian Wars), battles (The Battle of Little Bighorn, The Battle of Hastings, The Battle of Boyacá) and a revolution (The Cuban Revolution) from different parts of the world.

      Before most of the people are introduced (one to two pages in length), there is a one to two page introduction about the time period and the current conditions of the country at the time. For example, before learning about how King Cetshwayo prepared for war, there is some background information about the invasion of Zululand in 1879 by British troops. After reading this book, children can attempt the 15 question quiz that appears before the bibliography, the glossary and the index. Students who need a general introduction to historic heroes may find Hard as Nails in Wars and Battles useful. The only thing I would have added to the book would have been labelled maps of the countries mentioned in each section.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - April 29, 2016.

CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive