One book I picked up after the teacher institute at George Washington's Mount Vernon, last summer, is Young Washington. This publication tells of the earliest part of Washington's life - the years preceding the Revolution. I had no idea I would be so interested in the French and Indian War prior to the Mount Vernon venture and reading this volume. Young Washington is a page-turning masterpiece, telling of Washington's lineage, his teen years, and his foray into military life. Here is a book that is not afraid to criticize the future father of a nation for his ignorance, his vanity, and his impatience. Here, too, is a book that demonstrates Washington's growth and learning process. His is a story of learning from mistakes and his growth into a maturity that fell into place at just the right time for the birth of a new, free nation.
The second book is a book for kids. As I read this Ranger in Time book, I understood Long Road to Freedom to be a runaway slave story set in the pre-Civil War era, and I did not expect a connection to the Ticonderoga area. Then, wouldn't you know it, the runaway slaves skirted up the coast of Lake Champlain and crossed it on a ferry with the help of the Underground Railroad. The book helped me understand some of the geography that I will see on my excursion, this summer. As I don't have extra days to spend in the area, I will not be able to visit the North Star Underground Railroad Museum in the area, but it has been a bonus to read a bit about the abolitionist activity in the area a hundred years after the French and British fought and fifty years before the first world war.
The Dear America volume, When Christmas Comes Again, was a slow starter, but it helped me understand how women infiltrated the military ranks during the war. This book is supposed to be about the young ladies who acted as translators and telephone operators in France, but ended up being more about a young lady's yearning to meet the love of her life. Perhaps in reading this story I will be able to better understand Stephen Pell's vision of the war (Stephen Pell is the French WWI medic who is responsible for restoring Fort Ticonderoga.). Perhaps Pell met one of these hello girls girls at some point in his experience, though I doubt his experience would be as eventless as Simone's.
Our public library does a pretty good job of stocking books about many topics: World War I is not one of those topics. About the only thing I could find was a book about the decade before the war, so I checked it out. Theodore Roosevelt is a short biography about his years in the presidency, and gave me just enough information to help me understand the where the United States was, economically and politically especially, when the years leading up to the war. Roosevelt, being the first president to step off of U.S. soil during his term, was clearly a player on the world stage, and wanted everyone to understand that our nation could hold its own in military action.