Author: Adam Makos
Reviewed by Chloe Fuksa
One of this year’s Sequoyah books for kiddos is the young adult version of Adam Makos’s 2020 release, Spearhead. Makos has taken the story and individuals from the popular adult version and turned it into a narrative non-fiction book for teenagers. It spans from September 1944 to April 1945 following the Americans, primarily Clarence Smoyer, of Easy Company, and Gustav Schaefer and his 2nd Company of Germans as they battle across Europe.
For Clarence, the book begins with his unit fighting in Belgium and advancing toward Germany. Clarence is a tank gunner, and it turns out he is an exceptional shot. Time and time again the men in his tank will rely on him to act quickly and decisively to save their lives. For Gustav, a tank crewman, his company is moving from Luxembourg to Germany to defend the town of Cologne. The two men square off in a crucial battle there, before the Americans move on to capture Paderborn, Germany, and its critical rail yards and air fields. There are numerous secondary characters as well, like Buck Marsh, Chuck Miller, and Rolf Millitzer, and they all have interesting backgrounds and roles too.
For this reviewer, Spearhead wasn’t polished enough. There were inconsistencies in descriptions – did the train “go right past [Gustav’s] farm” or did he have to “pedal his bicycle far from home to watch” them? – as well as a seemingly carefree method of formatting in the text itself. But if I put my qualms aside, I do think it’s a good book for the Sequoyah list, and I can see why it was chosen. It’s a really interesting story of military history that can hold the attention of young adults and show them some of what our veterans went through. Plus, the final chapter tells of Clarence and Gustav actually meeting up decades later, and it is certainly the best, most heartwarming part of the book.
Visit us in Sunset Plaza or call 580-297-5089 to get your copy of Spearhead today!