“This anthology is breathtaking in its geographic and temporal sweep.”—Canadian Journal of History
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.