Subscribe to The Horn Book

World War I Interactive app review

wwi interactive menuWorld War I Interactive (2012) is part of Touchzing Media‘s interactive history app series (other entries cover the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, general American history, and the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi). Since my own WWI knowledge comes largely from Downton Abbey and Legends of the Fall, I took the opportunity to learn some actual history of the era from this app. (That said, since the text is “adapted from Wikipedia,” you may want to double-check information with other sources.)

The app is divided into seven chronological chapters: “Pre 1914: Causes of the War,” “1914: the War Begins,” “1915: Sinking into War,” “1916: Inside the Trenches,” “1917: Entry of United States,” “1918: Victory for Allies,” and “Post 1918: Post War World.” Each chapter is further divided into subsections — primarily significant battles — which are introduced with a brief overview and browsable either by a thumbnail menu or by a timeline. Tapping the names of important people, places, battles, or tactics in the text brings up more detailed information; e.g., tap the names of historical figures to get a brief biographical sketch and a photo. Sidebars accompanying the main text provide the highlights of each battle: dates, locations, forces involved, and ultimate result.

wwi interactive entry of us

The serviceable text would have benefited from sources (and another round of proofreading); the app’s greatest strength is its multimedia aspect. Striking archival photos, paintings and political cartoons, maps, and even video clips are integrated throughout. Users can also directly access themed galleries (“Leaders,” “Soldiers,” “Artillery,” “Memorials,” etc.) of the 1200+ photos, forty videos, and five audio clips of speeches and music from a pull-down menu at the top of each screen. All images are clearly captioned and many are enlargeable. Tap on an “info” icon below each image to get its source. Straightforward navigation — including an index browsable by dates, events, or historical figures — and clean design allow the multimedia to take center stage.

wwi interactive life in war

This thorough app may prove a bit too much for the casual user, but students and history buffs will appreciate its detailed look at a brutal turning point in world history.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 4.3 or later); $4.99. Recommended for middle school users and up.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind