Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

J. Alvin Kugelmass’ Ralph J. Bunche: Fighter for Peace is a straightforward, formulaic biography that begins by relating the subject’s ancestry beginning with his grandfather, a former slave, and ends by describing Bunche’s receiving of high honors for his work with the United Nations. The first chapter of the book is written to explain the historical background from which Bunche grew and developed; as such, it includes some lengthy opinions about slavery and how it evolved. The final chapter describes the workings of the United Nations in the years directly following World War II, when there was much concern over whether the United Nations would have an enduring influence on world politics. The remaining chapters describe specific time periods in the subject’s life and are arranged in chronological order. An extensive index helps the reader locate specific factual material that might be wanted for a term paper or a book report.

Bunche’s life story begins in the slums of Detroit, Michigan, and many examples are given of the hardships endured by his extended family and their community as they struggled to survive in this northern ghetto. His family was very supportive of Bunche’s efforts to succeed in school and made sacrifices to enable him to remain there. As the years passed, it became evident that Bunche had great possibilities as a scholar and, after the death of his parents, the opportunity to attend high school was provided...

(The entire section is 538 words.)