Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The husband-and-wife team of May McNeer and Lynd Ward have spotlighted seven humanitarians, uniting their stories under the title Armed with Courage. Each section of the book is introduced with an illustration followed by a caption and the name of the individual. There is also a full-page portrait of each subject; other illustrations are interspersed throughout the text. All the artwork consists of black-and-white drawings.

The text begins with a pivotal, dramatic experience in each person’s life; the authors have chosen youthful incidents that will appeal to juvenile readers. Except for these stories and a few other narrative accounts, the writing is descriptive and succinct, as each section contains only eleven to thirteen pages of text. The sketches are arranged in the following order: “Lady with a Lamp” (Florence Nightingale), “Kamiano” (Father Damien), “Plant Wizard” (George Washington Carver), “Good Neighbor” (Jane Addams), “North to Labrador” (Wilfred Grenfell), “Great Soul” (Mahatma Gandhi), and “Jungle Doctor” (Albert Schweitzer). Schweitzer was the only subject of the biography who was still alive when the book was published.

Except for Carver, these individuals came from affluent homes, and they all had promising careers that they rejected in favor of serving those who were less fortunate. At the age of twenty-seven, Carver began his study of plant life at Iowa State College, where he earned...

(The entire section is 528 words.)