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That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone: An Anthology of Essays from Around the Globe

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What's it like to grow up during war? To be a victim of violence or exiled from your homeland, culture, family, and even your own memories? When America's talking heads talk about war, children and teenagers are often the forgotten part of the story. Yet who can forget images of the Vietnam "baby lift," when Amer-Asian children were flown out of Vietnam to be adopted by Ame What's it like to grow up during war? To be a victim of violence or exiled from your homeland, culture, family, and even your own memories? When America's talking heads talk about war, children and teenagers are often the forgotten part of the story. Yet who can forget images of the Vietnam "baby lift," when Amer-Asian children were flown out of Vietnam to be adopted by Americans? Who can forget the horror of learning that Iranian children were sent on suicide missions to clear landmines? Who wasn't captivated by stories of the "lost boys" of Sudan, traveling thousands of miles alone through the desert, seeking shelter and safety? From the cartel-terrorized streets of Juárez to the bombed-out cities of Bosnia to Afghanistan under the Taliban, from Nazi-occupied Holland to the middle-class American home of a Vietnam vet, this collection of personal and narrative essays explores both the universal and particular experiences of children and teenagers who came of age during a time of war. J.L. Powers is the editor of Labor Pains and Birth Stories and the author of two young adult novels, most recently This Thing Called the Future, an alternative fantasy set in post-apartheid South Africa. She began collecting essays on children and war while pregnant with her first child and says, "The experience was both painful and uplifting, not unlike giving birth. The most memorable aspect of these essays is their stark portrayal of both survival and hope in the midst of incredible suffering."


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What's it like to grow up during war? To be a victim of violence or exiled from your homeland, culture, family, and even your own memories? When America's talking heads talk about war, children and teenagers are often the forgotten part of the story. Yet who can forget images of the Vietnam "baby lift," when Amer-Asian children were flown out of Vietnam to be adopted by Ame What's it like to grow up during war? To be a victim of violence or exiled from your homeland, culture, family, and even your own memories? When America's talking heads talk about war, children and teenagers are often the forgotten part of the story. Yet who can forget images of the Vietnam "baby lift," when Amer-Asian children were flown out of Vietnam to be adopted by Americans? Who can forget the horror of learning that Iranian children were sent on suicide missions to clear landmines? Who wasn't captivated by stories of the "lost boys" of Sudan, traveling thousands of miles alone through the desert, seeking shelter and safety? From the cartel-terrorized streets of Juárez to the bombed-out cities of Bosnia to Afghanistan under the Taliban, from Nazi-occupied Holland to the middle-class American home of a Vietnam vet, this collection of personal and narrative essays explores both the universal and particular experiences of children and teenagers who came of age during a time of war. J.L. Powers is the editor of Labor Pains and Birth Stories and the author of two young adult novels, most recently This Thing Called the Future, an alternative fantasy set in post-apartheid South Africa. She began collecting essays on children and war while pregnant with her first child and says, "The experience was both painful and uplifting, not unlike giving birth. The most memorable aspect of these essays is their stark portrayal of both survival and hope in the midst of incredible suffering."

30 review for That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone: An Anthology of Essays from Around the Globe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Niko Gregg

    This is easily one of the best books I have ever read or ever will read. It tells first person accounts of 17 different people who were involved in a warzone in the past century. It is told from people all over the world during many different time periods and during many different wars. It opened my eyes to how privileged I am to live in America and how children in different countries need to go through so much more than I will ever have to in order to survive. This book can be shown to students This is easily one of the best books I have ever read or ever will read. It tells first person accounts of 17 different people who were involved in a warzone in the past century. It is told from people all over the world during many different time periods and during many different wars. It opened my eyes to how privileged I am to live in America and how children in different countries need to go through so much more than I will ever have to in order to survive. This book can be shown to students and they could do a project on a war that one of the kids in the book went through. They can research the war and can also research the person involved to get a full understanding of different cultures around the world. It can also be used for a fiction project since all of the accounts from this book actually happened and are told in first person from people who actually went through these experiences.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Seventeen different authors offer their reactions to war and coming of age during a time of conflict. The short stories reach across the globe in describing experiences during conflicts in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Thailand, South Africa, Cambodia, and Mexico. Some stories seem to be as fresh as yesterday's newspaper stories while others, such as "Holland 1944-1945" provide a perspective provided through the lens of many years gone by. There are losses described here as well as childhoods cut short Seventeen different authors offer their reactions to war and coming of age during a time of conflict. The short stories reach across the globe in describing experiences during conflicts in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Thailand, South Africa, Cambodia, and Mexico. Some stories seem to be as fresh as yesterday's newspaper stories while others, such as "Holland 1944-1945" provide a perspective provided through the lens of many years gone by. There are losses described here as well as childhoods cut short because of the guns of war, but there is also reaching out to try to understand one another and to make sense of events that almost defy any attempt to make sense. This is an interesting collection suitable for juniors and seniors in high school as well as older readers. I'd have enjoyed this collection even more if there had been artistic responses to war in addition to the essays that are included here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    An extraordinary collection of deeply personal, unflinchingly honest accounts of coming of age in the midst of war, revealing the emotional, physical, and psychological scars of "that mad game." Great book for discussion, high school and older. An extraordinary collection of deeply personal, unflinchingly honest accounts of coming of age in the midst of war, revealing the emotional, physical, and psychological scars of "that mad game." Great book for discussion, high school and older.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fox

    I won this book through the GoodReads First Reads Program. This isn't the sort of book that one reads for pleasure, nor is it the sort of book one could necessarily say they enjoyed reading. That Mad Game is a collection of essays from those who grew up during wars, or within warzones. The stories related are the lives of those born in internment camps, growing up with father's who suffer PTSD, and those refugees who attempted to escape the throes of a city in revolution. Also told are those whos I won this book through the GoodReads First Reads Program. This isn't the sort of book that one reads for pleasure, nor is it the sort of book one could necessarily say they enjoyed reading. That Mad Game is a collection of essays from those who grew up during wars, or within warzones. The stories related are the lives of those born in internment camps, growing up with father's who suffer PTSD, and those refugees who attempted to escape the throes of a city in revolution. Also told are those whose towns have been occupied, or controlled by drug cartels. The stories are moving, rarely funny, but for the most part surprisingly optimistic. The future, the underlying current runs, could be better. The essays in the book do not follow any theme, other than what I've before stated. The situations each person grew up in are radically different and through these situations one learns about the differences that exist from war to war, and how people react differently under these pressures. It's a fascinating sort of case study, if you will, and definitely conveys what J.L. Powers wished it to: the fact that children are often those affected worst by wars, and that the effects continue to grow from generation to generation. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about the wars going on, or that have gone on, from one country to another and what it is like to live through them. I also would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to get involved with charity work. Some of the implications of the stories are surprising, and some money one thinks may be spent best in one place may be better spent in somewhere rather different.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate K. F.

    This is one of those books that I want to press into people's hands especially journalists and say, please, I want to hear more stories like this. The seventeen authors tell of growing up in warzones from Kabul not long after the Taliban came into power to Denmark during the Nazi Occupation. Each story is beautifully written and left me shaken in the way that reading someone else's truth hits you. None of them essays are easy to read but each of them is important. I think this is a book that wou This is one of those books that I want to press into people's hands especially journalists and say, please, I want to hear more stories like this. The seventeen authors tell of growing up in warzones from Kabul not long after the Taliban came into power to Denmark during the Nazi Occupation. Each story is beautifully written and left me shaken in the way that reading someone else's truth hits you. None of them essays are easy to read but each of them is important. I think this is a book that would be work well within a high school or college course about world history as it shows how many historical and contemporary wars and occupations share the same pain. Its also one I would recommend to someone who's trying to get a sense of world politics and I think would be interesting in a book group or as a way to start many types of conversations. There are frank discussions of violence and war within the book so I wouldn't give it to a younger reader. I bought my copy from the publishers at ALA 2013.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashlie

    I started reading this book for a Notable Book for a Global Society project and couldn’t put the book down. It is composed of 17 essays from children and teenagers who have grown up in and around wars. In history books we learn about war through the eyes of the victor. I never took in to account that there were kids just like myself hat had to deal with soldiers invading their homes and the possibility of loosing family. This book opens the eyes of its readers and makes you feel for the children I started reading this book for a Notable Book for a Global Society project and couldn’t put the book down. It is composed of 17 essays from children and teenagers who have grown up in and around wars. In history books we learn about war through the eyes of the victor. I never took in to account that there were kids just like myself hat had to deal with soldiers invading their homes and the possibility of loosing family. This book opens the eyes of its readers and makes you feel for the children. Now when I watch the news and there are war causalities I will not only think of soldiers that new what they were getting them selves into, but the innocent families that are there as well. I will take this book into consideration when teaching my students about war. The essays are not too lengthy and would appropriate for middle schoolers.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    This is not the type of book most people will read for fun, but it has excellent first person accounts of children who have encountered war or genocide around the world. I'll admit I read those conflicts that I have not read much about and skipped the ones that I have read extensively about previously. This would be excellent supplemental material for history classes or companions for historical novels. Some explicit language makes this more suited for a high school than a middle school collecti This is not the type of book most people will read for fun, but it has excellent first person accounts of children who have encountered war or genocide around the world. I'll admit I read those conflicts that I have not read much about and skipped the ones that I have read extensively about previously. This would be excellent supplemental material for history classes or companions for historical novels. Some explicit language makes this more suited for a high school than a middle school collection.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Tannhauser

    This book gives insight on children's lives during war time in different parts of the world. It is composed of seventeen different stories from around the world from authors who have experienced war and the troubles that children meet from it. This book exemplifies love, forgiveness, loss, fear, heartbreak and anger. This can be a very relatable book because of all of its emotions that is holds and all humans experience these emotions even if it isnt exactly how the people in the book experience This book gives insight on children's lives during war time in different parts of the world. It is composed of seventeen different stories from around the world from authors who have experienced war and the troubles that children meet from it. This book exemplifies love, forgiveness, loss, fear, heartbreak and anger. This can be a very relatable book because of all of its emotions that is holds and all humans experience these emotions even if it isnt exactly how the people in the book experience them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cooper Renner

    Impressive, horrifying, hopeful, distressing: what it's like to be a child or teenage growing up in the violence of civil war, revolution, ethnic division, etc. Impressive, horrifying, hopeful, distressing: what it's like to be a child or teenage growing up in the violence of civil war, revolution, ethnic division, etc.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    The shock factor is definitly here. Very hard read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ayisha Oglivie

    Very interesting so far.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aryan Siadat

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Forker

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nahlah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Safa

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Escobar

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zo

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas

  22. 4 out of 5

    Prudence Chan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hercule

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen Ball

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Wanie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Picardo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary Napoli

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sueper ( Honor)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

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