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Children's LiteratureIn the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, cannons opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. As the reddish trails of the shells descended toward the masonry fortifications out in the water, all hopes of compromise between the northern and southern portions of the United States died. Those artillery rounds started the conflagration that was to become the American Civil War. Four years later, after over 630,000 deaths, the war ended with the utter defeat of the Confederacy. In Fort Sumter, historian Michael Burgan presents the story of the events leading up to and including that historic happening. Burgan takes his readers back through the political backstory of the divisive events that resulted in the outbreak of war at Charleston. The author also relates the details of the short-lived battle at Fort Sumter. In the end, after 32 hours of bombardment, Union commander Major Robert Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter. No casualties resulted from this brief event but that was but a false augury of what was to come. Fort Sumter is a fine introductory work that features an intelligently drafted text, ample period illustrations, and guides for future research. As part of the "We the People" series, Fort Sumter is a valuable educational tool for students interested in Civil War history. 2006, Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12.
—Greg M. Romaneck