Most noted plus and minus for Volume Two of this collection is about the same as it was for Volume One – no poignant Old Indy bookend for each episode, and the astonishingly generous and thorough – if somewhat pedestrian collection of accompanying documentaries. By pedestrian, meaning very much conventional historical wisdom about the various figures, incidents and campaigns. This makes them, as intended, an excellent introduction for people who have heretofore heard little or nothing about a whole gallery of interesting characters. Basically, what you are getting is two TV series (for the price of two, unfortunately) – a marvelously improbable series of World War One adventures centering on the character of Henry “Indiana” Jones, serving under a nom du guerre as Henri d’France in the Belgian forces – and a good set of History Channel type documentaries.

The marvelously improbably part of the drama series is that our hero manages to be everywhere that something relevant was happening – as a soldier on the Western Front, in Africa and the Middle East and slinking about as a spy practically everywhere else. He also got have a brief affair with Mata Hari, but this is young Indiana Jones so he did have the energy. He also had the energy and the luck to escape from a German POW camp at least twice. Locations, costuming and sets are impeccable; there were no corners cut in production, and no lack of ingenuity on the part of the writers in setting up the story so that he would encounter everyone from V.I. Lenin, war poets Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, Charles de Gaulle and the Red Baron – and the entire Lafayette Escadrille. This might have the makings of a history buffs’ drinking game – knock back one every time Indiana Jones meets up with a historical figure. I don’t think any but the most hard-headed would make it past disc 5. I did wonder, though – what happened to the episode with Panco Villa, which was kind of a prelude to his World War One adventures? Saving it for the next volume, I guess.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Vol 2 – The War Years is availible here from Amazon.com, and at other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com

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