"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier: A War You'd Rather Not Fight by Thomas Ratliff and David Salariya

An entertaining, historically solid introduction to the Civil War for 4th graders and over
I just discovered this series and I've been reading a few of them for fun this summer.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier is entertaining and it contains solid, accurate history presented in a visually interesting format.

While I've been looking a few of these over for my own personal entertainment, my almost 4th grade daughter has been sneaking them out of the stack and reading them without any encouragement from me. Imagine! Kids surreptitiously reading history!

The only complaint I have about the back is the total lack of African American faces in the drawings. The book notes that 179,000 African American soldiers served in the war, which is good but fails to include a single African American in the drawings. While it mostly makes sense due to the strict segregation of the army (the book follows one soldier from Connecticut who joins before the First Battle of Bull Run and stays until Appomattox), if I had been the editor I would have insisted on including African Americans on pages 26 & 27, the pages that talk about the siege of Petersburg and the Battle of the Crater. African Americans made up the bulk of the Union troops in the first wave of the Battle of the Crater and it would have been a great place to include some different faces in the art.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 11, 2009.

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