The War Yo-Yo Kid
by Annele Jeanette Shaw
Trafford Publishing

"It's better to have your child 100 miles away and safe, instead of having him or her in a grave next to you."

Moving children to safe situations was a common practice in Europe during the war years, but it took its toll on families. The Russian-Finnish War is a little known or understood chapter of twentieth century history in the United States. Taking place against the backdrop of World War II, the three campaigns comprising this war that took place between 1939 and 1945 is little more than a curious footnote (if even that) for most Americans. While ostensibly written as a memoir of her life during and after Finland's war-torn years, Shaw's book also serves as a first-person account of the devastation the war wrought on Finland and its people, as thousands of children were sent abroad, ripped from their own homes and families, to be out of harm's way.

Annele Jeanette Shaw, a retired fitness instructor living in the US, was one of those children. Born in 1938, she was a year old when the first of the Three Wars broke out. Sent to Sweden with four of her siblings at the tender age of eighteen months, she was back home by the spring of 1940, as the Winter War only lasted a few months. The peace didn't hold for long, and a scant year later Shaw was being shipped off again for her own safety, this time to Denmark, where she would remain until the conclusion of hostilities between Russia and Finland four years later.

Shaw's years as the "War Yo-Yo Kid" make for a personal, compelling story. Her book is filled with cherished photographs and memories of foster families and her own birth family. These comprise a family history, not necessarily fascinating to a general reader; and there are some irregularities in Shaw's writing to contend with, too, but as English is at least her fourth language, these are forgivable. Nonetheless, the narrative is still accessible enough for her story to be enjoyed by anyone interested in the history of the Russian-Finnish War, as well as issues of the effects of war on children

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