I am the first to admit that nonfiction has long been last on my list to read. When I was a child, the librarian in charge of the summer reading program had to force/bribe me to read nonfiction. I would only go as far as to sample biographies and mythology. Fortunately, I have discovered that there are good nonfiction books out there. I just finished two more nonfiction books from this year’s Young Hoosier list.
Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem was better than I expected. I remembered the story in the opening chapter about the Iceman found by hikers in the Alps. I find it amazing that a body from that long ago was preserved in such good condition. Scientists could even discover what season it was and what food he had recently eaten from studying his remains. Most of the rest of the book was competely new to me. I learned that French villagers thought the glaciers were the stomping grounds of dragons and evil spirits. Did you know that Sir Edmund Hillary may not have been the first European to scale Mt. Everest? Englishmen George Mallory and Andrew Irvine may have reached the summit a few years earlier. They just didn’t live to tell about it. Mallory’s body has recently been discovered on the slopes of Everest with just enough clues to tantalize. I was horrified at the bodies of children found beneath glacier ice in the Andes mountains. They had been sacrificed on the mountains. As the glaciers continue to melt and retreat, what other secrets will they reveal?
I did not enjoy Battling in the Pacific by Susan Provost Beller nearly as much. I had hoped the direct quotes from soldiers in the Pacific theater of World War II would help bring this part of the war to life, but it did not. It read more like a research report. If you are looking for facts about the war in the Pacific, you will find those.