"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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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Undying Glory: The Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment by Clinton Cox

Comments from a history teacher

Okay - so hear I am once again reading a kid's book. However, it is for my classroom library - I try to read them all so I can make recommendations.

Sgt. William Carney of the 54th 
the first African American to receive
the Congressional Medal of Honor

For those not in the know, Undying Glory: The Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment  is a brief history of the 54th Massachusetts - the first official regiment of blacks in the American Civil War. The unit was immortalized in the Academy Award winning film Glory, starring Denzel Washington.

Cox has the great majority of his facts straight (I have some quibbles, such as when he claims that a good soldier could load and shoot a civil war rifle in about 45 seconds, when the reality was that a competent soldier could do it up to 3 times per minute.)

The larger problem goes from being factual to the problem of being written in such a way that young people would be interested. Cox tells the story, but rarely in a narrative form. From time to time it becomes merely a series of facts written in a plain, simple style rather than a gripping tale of history.

I give it a rather high score as I am grading on a curve today. 4 out of 5 in this case means that it is readable, factually correct book, but written in a rather uninspired manner that is unlikely to spur on a reluctant reader.

Reviewed on November 7, 2005.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Undying Glory: The Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment by Clinton Cox.

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