Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: Basher Five-Two by Scott O'Grady

I Mooched this book some time ago. I'd seen it on someone's blog, but, as usual, I can't remember whose. It's a middle grade/YA adaptation of Scott O'Grady's non-fiction work, Return with Honor. O'Grady was an F-16 fighter pilot in the mid-nineties, flying peace-keeping missions over Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was part of a NATO force which was patrolling the no-fly zones during the Serb-Croat war. This book tells the story of the mission when he was shot down in enemy territory and how he survived.

I actually enjoyed the book. I'm no military history buff and I wasn't sure if this would be my cup of tea, but I thought a middle grade take on the subject would be a good introduction. And it was! It didn't delve into the political underpinnings of the unrest in the Balkans, but it told a good story of one man's experiences behind enemy lines. The storyline moved quickly and I was engrossed in O'Grady's survival attempt.

The book says it's for ages ten and up, but I might recommend it for slightly older kids. Perhaps a precocious ten-year-old would get it, but I thought some of the vocabulary might be over a ten-year-old's head, and the situation O'Grady found himself in was certainly scary, even for me at 33! It might be too much for younger readers. However, I would recommend this for anyone interested in military history, and certainly young readers with an interest in flying or the military. Three and a half out of five Whatevers.