Just Fireworks

A child's memories of a war-torn Lebanon

Non-Fiction - Memoir
287 Pages
Reviewed on 01/20/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite

Just Fireworks by Nader Barrak is an account of the Lebanese Civil War as seen through the eyes of a child who was almost three years old when the war began. He describes what it was like to be in the middle of the warring factions, never knowing if or when an attack from one side or the other would occur near his home. The author went through many horrendous experiences, including the kidnapping of his father, who was held in captivity for three months, and a stray bullet that literally went through his mother’s hair. In addition to being a behind-the-scenes account of the war, the book is a history of Lebanon and the surrounding area. There are numerous photos and maps throughout that help readers understand the history of the war. An epilogue consists of a timeline of Lebanon from 1990, when the civil war officially ended, through 2022.

Anyone interested in history should read Just Fireworks. But beyond its value as history, this compelling book will teach its readers just how terrible war is and why it must be avoided. Additionally, although the accounts of the war are horrifying, they are must-reads for anyone who wants to understand the history of Lebanon and nearby countries. The photos are fascinating too. Readers won’t find them in many other accounts of the Lebanese Civil War. I learned more about Lebanon and the surrounding area just by reading this book than I knew up to this point in my life. Author Nader Barrak is a fine writer, and his passion for telling his story shows through on every page. I can see this book as required reading in a high school or college course about Middle Eastern history. I highly recommend it to anyone.