Saturday, January 16, 2010

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Wow, this was a good book about the Civil War. It was told by a small boy's perspective but it was far from simple. I learned a bunch from reading this about the war and about Pres. Lincoln and what the people thought of the leadership of Generals making good and bad decisions. So many people died! It is a good crash course in American History-Civil War era. The book was written from old letters and researched very well, it is a bit of family lore and historical fiction all together. It covers what communities and families went through as their sons and husbands were sent off to fight. Sometimes they fought against each other, one brother on the Confederate side and a brother on the Union. The political and economic mess was really intense. Five years is a long time to fight a war. Unlike today the news sometimes takes a long time to get to families and into the papers. Most of the people waited and waited for letters or word from someone, anyone, telling how their loved was were.
The young boy in the story is really very intelligent. He is too young to go to war but he grows up really fast as he takes on the farm work left by his brothers. His dad gets sick and he has to take on even more. He has learned to read and takes an interest in following the war through the newspapers. He tracks the war on a map and can explain things to his mom and family.
The book was a bit hard to get into because of the authentic dialect from down Illinois back in the 1860's but it was worth getting over that and reading to the end.


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