Red Star Diary of 1916 was found by Rena Corey in a flea market in 1993 - but the story didn't stop there. It was a bit of luck that its buyer specialized in antiquarian documents and took a shine to Bill Noxon's story, using the few clues it contained to track down its author. Her discovery of Bill Noxon's life apart from his diary adds to his teenage reflections to create a complete picture and involving account of his life and changing world.
Unlike most histories of World War I, Red Star Diary of 1916 doesn't come from a journalist, a military fighter their family, or anyone associated with media, politics, or society. It's from a comparative outsider who evolves from his concerns of daily living and his move from city to the country to take in the wider, evolving world.
Just as Bill stands at the threshold of change, so does the world; and as he begins to embrace the idea of this wider world, so readers follow the evolution of World War I events and impact with a far greater personal perspective than most accounts of the times can offer.
If you've read a lot of World War I history, you know that it's a fairly singular subject. Most approaches concentrate on historical events and don't capture daily life in a diary format; and most come from adults, not from teen observers. And Red Star Diary of 1916's maker was deceased - so Rena Corey's first task was to recreate his words and life as he would have, creating a factual, textual documentary and avoiding the usual tendency to produce chapters in favor of the more personal approach of the diary's original format. Quotes from Bill's diary are thus interspersed with Corey's words to round out and tell the entire story, and her additions appear in italics to clearly differentiate her voice from his unedited reflections.
Add a wealth of period illustrations (photos, handbills, postcards, maps, advertising, and more) and you have a unique presentation powered by the unusual collaborative efforts of a young boy's words and an antiquarian document enthusiast's attention to recreating vivid history from a single youth's diary.
Vivid, immediate, and personal: very few other stories of World War I hold the intimacy and perspective of Red Star Diary of 1916, making it a standout recommendation not only for readers of the subject, but those interested in the process of re-creating history from original writings and antiquarian works....Continua