I spent a good chunk of my day today immersed in Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin, a nonfiction account of the history of United States involvement in Vietnam leading up to and during the Vietnam War. I could not put this book down.
Folks (kids and adults alike) who have read any of Sheinkin’s other books will know already that he pulls you in with action, suspense, dialogue, and description, all while presenting information that is meticulously researched and factual. Most Dangerous does all of those things, of course, in telling a story that is both horrifying and necessary for kids today to know.
I feel like I should have known the information in this book already. It is, in part, the story of the publication of the Pentagon Papers in major newspapers, revealing the pattern of dishonesty on the part of the United States government (primarily the office of the President) in relation to actions in Vietnam. So, the information was out there in 1971. But I know that I did not learn about this–either in high school or college. This is a book for young people, but really, it’s a book for any of us who might have approached history class as just a set of facts/dates to memorize, rather than a story of who we (as a country, but also just the greater human race) have been–things we’ve done right, ways we’ve messed up, how we can learn from our mistakes. This is history at its best–written in a way that is accessible, yet thoughtful; challenging, yet hopeful.
I cannot recommend Most Dangerous highly enough.
Note: I read an ARC. The book comes out Sept 22.